Book Review - The Lightning Thief

 This is me at 3:14am, having just finished reading.

This is me at 3:14am, having just finished reading.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Star Rating: 5/5
Number of pages: 416
Release date: March 21, 2006
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Genre: Fantasy, Children’s
Buy the book: Amazon

Synopsis: (from Amazon) Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse-Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends – one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

Review: Let me begin by saying I borrowed this book from my nephew one random afternoon and was up until 3:14am the following morning because I couldn’t put it down. I’m pretty impressed that I’ve been able to go so long without actually knowing more about what happens in this book, as they’ve been huge for years, even back when I worked full-time in a bookshop. I never saw the movie, though I’d like to now (even though I’ve not heard great things about the adaptation). All I knew going in was that Percy Jackson was the son of a Greek god.

The pacing of the book was excellent, and there were lots of things along the way that snatched at my interest. For instance, in the very beginning when Percy kills the creepy teacher-creature trying to kill him, and then when nothing more is said about it for the rest of the school year, I was really curious. And then we’re taken on this crazy ride through the night, and then we get a little rest. And then a quest begins, all with little dollops of curious-making information dropped in throughout. For instance, it’s mentioned in passing that Annabeth’s mother, Athena (the Athena, NBD), gave Annabeth the hat that can turn her invisible.

Me, leaning in: “Go on…”

And that’s all we learn! How did that meeting go, I wonder. So many little moments in this book spark your imagination, stretching it beyond the current happenings in the book, which is pure book magic! I also appreciate this book because it gives a very real-world view of life without getting too dark. Domestic abuse is strongly hinted at without children (to whom the series is aimed) having to see it. I like that balance. And there are a lot more little moments like that in the book–bribery, neglect, unfair competition. This book doesn’t hide those unfortunate truths, but it also doesn’t glorify them or make them super graphic. And, on top of all that, it’s just really entertaining. The only thing I found slightly disappointing was that there is a mention of impending betrayal, and I totally called the betrayer. Like, there was a line that was something to the effect of, <insert creepy voice here> “And someone will betray yooooou…”, and I was like, “That guy. It’s totally gonna be that guy.” And it was. I don’t know if we were meant to figure it out that fast or if I did because I’m an adult and the series is aimed at kids or just what, so that wasn’t a very good twist for me. That’s really my only complaint, though, and that’s not really a big deal. So, all in all, really great!

Recommend?: Well, I’m planning on buying the whole series, so what do you think? :p