The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Genres: Childrens, Urban Fantasy, Mythology, Fantasy
Publisher: Miramax Books
Publication Date: June 28th 2005

4 OUT OF 5 STARS

“The real world is where the monsters are.”

Percy Jackson is a troubled kid. He deals with dyslexia, ADHD, a new school every year, not to mention an awful step-father. His life gets even worse when he starts to hallucinate things like his algebra teacher being a murderous demon. Everything takes a turn when he and his mother are attacked by a Minotaur during summer vacation. Percy realizes that he hasn’t been hallucinating at all, and it might be up to him to stop the next war between the Greek Gods.

The concept behind this story is absolutely brilliant. It is brimming with potential and good ideas. The Gods are something that interest almost everyone, and the depiction of them in this novel is fantastic. I do take some issue with Zeus, the God of illegitimate children and varied sexual partners swearing off of it entirely. If Camp Half-Blood stayed truer to myth it would be at least half populated by Zeus. However, it’s a minor issue.

The writing, and I say this knowing the target audience, felt a little simple. It explained everything a little too much. Obviously children’s literature shouldn’t be complex, but children aren’t stupid either. It doesn’t feel like the voice of a sixth grader, it just feels like overly simplified sentences for no real reason.

The characters were decently written, but they all sort of felt like characters we’ve seen before. Trios are the bread and butter of children’s and young adult lit and this point and it doesn’t get more basic than Percy’s trio: The brave, reckless hero; The clever, stubborn girl; and of course the well-meaning but bumbling best friend. Percy also feels like he wins a little too easily, any brief scares are quickly whisked away and he rarely needs much help.

Despite these things, it was an adventure. The romance was refreshingly low on the priority scale. It dealt with mature issues like abuse, though it did skirt around dealing with death. The book does feel very must like several other children’s series, but it’s concept and use of Greek mythology make it incredibly enjoyable. It’s an exciting read, even with it’s issues, and that makes it a successful children’s novel.

BUY THE BOOK

Read this if you’re a fan of: Maximum Ride

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