The Lightning Thief (Book One of Percy Jackson and the Olympians): Review by Tian Yu

LightningThiefCoverRick Riordan has become somewhat of a hit, coming out with several series based on ancient mythology. The Lightning Thief, the first book in his first series, was the one that started it all and really set the tone for Rick Riordan’s writing style. The entire premise is based on the concept of ancient Greek gods, monsters and whatever else in the mythology actually existing, and the majority of natural phenomenon being the result of this. Of course, no one ever sees the giant running through town causing a tornado because of something called the Mist, which is a magical barrier that makes mythological aspects look like normal things to ‘mortals’ (like you and me). But of course, the struggle of a giant dog, or giant snake, or giant (the Greeks really like their monsters big) isn’t quite as relatable as that of a human being, so the series mainly focuses around demigods, which are the product of a mortal marrying a god.

As you may or may not have already guessed, the demigod protagonist of Percy Jackson is…Percy Jackson, the child of a single mother. Percy’s father also happens to be Poseidon, one of the most powerful Greek gods. Dyslexic and severely ADHD, Percy is taken by his mother to Half Blood Hill, a place where demigods can live and train, safe from monsters. There, he learns about his father, the fact that his disorders somehow help him in battle, and makes a bunch of new friends, which would make for a great ending. Unfortunately, we’re only 100 pages into the book, and we haven’t met any major conflict yet. Shortly after arriving, Percy gets accused by Zeus of stealing lightning bolts, and threatened with death. With no other choice and no one believing him, he sets out with some of his new friends; Annabeth and Grover, to find the actual Lightning Thief and clear his name.

The Lightning Thief really sets the tone for the remaining books. Fairly laid back with good amounts of humor sprinkled through, it really embodies Rick Riordan’s writing style. Having an already existing story world helps a lot, and makes it much easier to picture and follow the story and setting, although good writing by Rick definitely doesn’t hurt. Overall, The Lightning Thief is a necessary read if you’ve enjoyed any of Rick Riordan’s other books, and a great place to start if you’re eyeing any one of the series.

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