Image courtesy RickRiordan.com
I’d been hearing a lot about Rich Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. The books are being made into movies apparently, and that generally means the books were well-received. (I won’t go into my opinions on movies that have been made from books. It would take too long and have several exceptions.)
I went to the library and looked for the book, but the first time I went, I couldn’t find the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I saw only the Heros of Olympus series. So I read the first book there, and realized it was very much tied to the Percy Jackson series. It was fine to have read it without having read Percy Jackson, but I could tell that Riordan had really intended the reader to have read those books first.
So I went back to find Percy Jackson, and this time had success.
Percy Jackson has been expelled from lots and lots of schools. He’s dyslexic, has ADHD, and weird things always seem to happen around him. These factors work together to make him seem like a trouble maker, when really he’s not causing the weirdness. He doesn’t know why it’s happening. He certainly isn’t asking for mythological monsters to attack.
Then he finds out he’s no ordinary kid. He’s a demi-god, the son of a Greek god as the father he never knew, and his human mother whom he has always lived with and loved. He goes to Camp Half-Blood, where he meets other kids with one divine parent and one mortal parent.
From there, he is sent on a quest, accompanied by Annabeth (a daughter of Athena) and his satyr friend Grover. They must retrieve Zeus’s most powerful weapon, which has been stolen. Along the way, they must fight many monsters, including the Furies, the Chimera, and Cerberus the three-headed dog.
The Lightning Thief is a great review of all the Greek mythology you should have learned in your middle or high school English class. The story is very fast-paced and flits from adventure to adventure without stopping. For an adult, it felt frantic, but Riordan’s intended audience is middle school students, for whose shorter attention spans this writing style is probably perfect. Many of the characters are two-dimensional — this is definitely a plot-driven and not a character-driven story.
Still, for escapist fiction on a camping trip, it’s okay.