The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

“If you were a god, how would you like being called a myth, an old story to explain lightning?  What if I told you, Perseus Jackson, that someday people would call you a myth?”

I don’t know why it took me so long to read this incredible book!  Half the world has already finished it, and there’s already a movie version and I just picked up the book for the for the first time this weekend.  But you know what?  It’s so good that reading it was almost all I did today!  I fell asleep reading it last night and then woke up and started right up again.

You probably already all know the story better than I do, but I’ll summarize it quickly, just in case there’s another person out there who hasn’t read it yet.  Let’s see: Percy Jackson has troubles at school.  He’s been diagnosed as dyslexic and as having ADHD, and, well, it seems like the problems just find him.  For example, on a class field trip to the museum, his math teacher transforms into a ferocious, bloodthirsty Fury, like the ones from the Greek myths.  Unfortunately, no one believes Percy, and worse yet, no one even seems to notice anything unusual happening!  It seems like for all of his life these strange occurrences just follow him around.

Percy soon learns that he is a demigod, or the child of a god and a mortal.  In fact, his father is Poseidon, the god of the seas.  So, that’s the good news. There’s even a special camp for kids like him!   But Percy finds out that it’s not easy being only half mortal.  It isn’t long before he receives his first quest:  Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and the god is furious.  The camp counselors  thinks that Hades, god of the underworld, has it, but Zeus is convinced that Percy has stolen it.  So, the three major gods are just a few days away from an all-out war with each other, and Percy has to figure out a way to find the master bolt, return it to Zeus, and save the world.  And you thought sixth grade was hard!

I loved the mix of Greek myths and modern setting.  Some of my favorite parts of the book were when the gods and goddesses adapted to life in the 21st century, resulting in places such as Medusa’s snack bar or “Crusty’s” (the god Procrustes) water bed store.  The plot is complicated, but not confusing, the characters are believable, and the action is nonstop. Percy’s relationships with his friends and mother are realistic and really add a lot of depth to a story.  This isn’t just an empty adventure tale that skimps on the characters.  I ordered the next two books in the series, and I can’t wait to read them, though maybe I should hold off on starting them until I get some more homework done.

Happy Reading!

Author’s website:

Riordan, Rick.  The Lightning Thief. New York: Hyperion Books, 2005.  375 pp.  Ages 10 and up.

If you liked this book, check out the rest of the series!  You can start with Sea of Monsters, and then The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian.  And, if you finish with those, I love The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud.

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