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Title: The Lightning Thief (#1 Percy Jackson and the Olympians)
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: 1st of June 2005 – Disney-Hyperion
Format: Hardcover – 387 pages
“The real world is where the monsters are.” – The Lightning Thief
Hello Hello! How are you?
I think the heat in France has finally cooled down a bit and I’ve been trying to get ahead with my reading, blogging and catching up on posts. I really want to go exploring somewhere, but don’t want to get caught out in the heat or a thunderstorm, so I’ll have to be patient! I hope your week is going well so far!
Today, I have a review of the first Percy Jackson and the Olympians book, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. I picked this book for the Trope-ical Readathon hosted by Jenny and her partner Rob for the SFF team challenge of “magical academy”. I also got the chance to read this book as a buddy read with Candyce from The Book Dutchesses and it was really fun!
Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.
Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. This series is a YA fantasy/mythology one and in the first book, we meet our protagonist, Percy Jackson, as he is at school and bad things start happening to him. He is dyslexic and has ADHD (which have their own explanation later on in the book) and I actually adored these elements. Unfortunately, there is such a thing as characters that are too perfect, but I like that right from the start here, people have conditions and what some would call flaws. I personally think it makes them a lot more realistic (because no one is immune to everything in life).
So, in this book, Percy soon finds out that he is not a simple teenager with issues, and with his new friends Grover and Annabeth, he goes off on a mission that is dangerous and near impossible to accomplish!
This book is set in the United States, firstly in Yancy Academy which is a private school for troubled teenagers. Grover and Percy aren’t at school for a very long time because it is nearly the end of the year already when the book begins. I quite liked how this book started as we saw Percy in his day to day life and things slowly started happening to him. I do like when books start in the middle of the action or a battle, but it’s also great just having a book start in the middle of an ordinary day as we get a bit more backstory that way.
Later on, this book is set in the half-blood camp on Half-Blood Hill (which is the reason behind me using it to fit the Trope-ical Readathon prompt). I really liked when Grover and Percy arrived at the camp and how Percy was shown around by Annabeth. The camp seems like such a great place and I loved the descriptions, unfortunately, I saw the film first so I was kind of imagining that in my head, but a lot of things from the book don’t actually happen in the film, so I was also able to make my own image and impression of the surroundings, characters and events.
And finally, this book is also set all over the U.S. as Percy, Annabeth and Grover head off on a quest and visit various places. I really liked this part of the book as this is where most of the action happened, and most of which did not happen in the film as well. I wouldn’t say there was specifically any world-building because you imagine the U.S. as you see it on TV or in pictures (or if you have visited already), but other parts were really well described and I loved reading about a few in particular (but I won’t spoil you).
Like all great fantasy stories, there are a lot of characters in this book, and a lot of them are also important to the plot, but I would be here forever if I were to talk about them all, so I will stick to my three favourites!
Percy: Percy is the main character of this book, the protagonist, the hero, and I was actually quite shocked that he is only 12-years-old in the book because I was imagining him to be at least 15-16 in the film! At the start of the book, I found him a bit immature, but then again he is only 12 so I suppose that explains it. I said it at the start, but I appreciated that this character was not perfect, he is dyslexic and has ADHD, it was my first time reading about a character with these conditions and I think it was done fairly well. I liked the fact that even though he gets angry and might not be able to read properly in English without difficulties, he is still a hero and goes on an amazing quest, so I think that in itself carries a great message.
Grover: Grover was such a funny character and it was so fun reading about him and the funny things he did or said. He is a great friend to Percy and you can tell that he cares for him and wants to protect him. We learn about some things that happened in the past, and Grover still feels guilty about them, my heart really went out to him.
Annabeth: I have to say that I was not a big fan of Annabeth to start with, I was grappling with what I know will happen between Annabeth and someone else (I won’t say it but I know you know if you’ve read the series), and also her portrayal in the movie, but as the book progressed, I realised that I was warming to her. She seems really aggressive and dismissive in the start, but as Percy and the reader gets to know her and learn things about her, she starts to open up about feelings and such and I think she becomes a much more likeable character. So, in the end, I did end up liking her, but I suppose all three of these characters together were a really great match and their friendship was great, especially how they worked together and had each other’s backs.
Mythology: One of my favourite things is mythology, so I have no idea why it took me so long to read this book. Obviously, having watched the movie, I knew exactly who was who and what was happening, but I was still surprised by a few things. I loved learning more about the characters and the myths about gods and heroes and seeing that they were all true, we have a lot of detail about the past and what gods are like in the book actually, so I really enjoyed this aspect. I for one, think that basing this book on mythology is a great idea and I’m sure I am going to love all of Rick Riordan’s books and series!
Friendship: Friendship in books is something that I really love to read and readily search for, I do like the odd touch of romance in SFF and will read the odd contemporary/romance novel, but I just love when characters are FRIENDS! I think that Grover, Percy and Annabeth have a great relationship at the end of this book and even though I know that things happened or will happen, they are a great team. It was great seeing that Percy and Grover were friends from the start, and then Annabeth joined them and it really grew, evolved and became a great relationship! I love me a good team of friends to battle evil!
Diversity/inclusion/disabilities: Diverty, inclusion and disability are not things you see an enormous amount of in fantasy at the minute, which is awful really, but I think that this book already has a fair bit of those elements, and I’ve been told that Rick Riordan writes very inclusive books, which is such a great thing. I have not read many books where the characters are ill, have a condition or a disability, so to have these things in this book was great. This book also touches on children that are not normal in the human world, but they are still heroes, capable of killing bad creatures and protecting their friends and I loved that message. It’s the first time I’ve read a book with a dyslexic character with ADHD and I thought it was fairly well done!
Quest/mission: I love reading books where the characters go on a quest, a mission or an adventure, so this book was sure to be a win for me. This was a great one and although I could see some things coming a mile off and knew that they had been played, I still enjoyed the journey to where they were going and what they had to do!
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
This was a great YA fantasy, with heaps of mythology, a great friendship, a quest, backstabbing, fighting, inclusivity and I had a great time. I know that both Candyce and I loved reading this and we had a lot to say about it.
The writing style was a great one and I was totally immersed while reading each day’s sections, we thought that it went by so fast and I’m sure this series is the sort of one that you just devour because it’s so great! The plot was really original and even though I saw the film and knew what was going to happen and when (almost) there were still a lot of differences and I really don’t know how they came up with that ending in the film, cause it’s not like the one in the book (which I prefer). Yes, in this case, the book is BETTER!
I gave this book 4 stars, it was just a really fun book with a lot of great things, great pacing and intrigue, some really fun moments but also some “oh gosh” moments and just an overall great time. I highly recommend for any age and especially if you love mythology and a great gang of friends.
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this review, see you soon, stay safe,
If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK (affiliate link) – Amazon FR (affiliate link) – AbeBooks (affiliate link) – The Book Depository (affiliate link) – Audible FR (affiliate link) – Amazon US – Waterstones – Barnes and Noble – Audible UK – Kobo