Book Review

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan | Book Review

“I’d love to tell you I had some deep revelation on my way down, that I came to terms with my own mortality, laughed in the face of death, et cetera.

The truth? My only thought was: Aaaaggghhhhh!”

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.

I remember reading this book when I was younger. I absolutely loved it but, as is my pattern, I got two books in and never finished the series.

So, The Lightning Thief is a re-read and, for a second time around, I loved it.

Yes, I’m 27 this year and yes this book is aimed at kids but, in all honestly, I don’t care and I don’t even think that’s the nostalgia talking.

To be completely honest, I absolutely love Greek Mythology. Growing up I was given a few Greek Mythology books filled with stories which I read cover to cover. While in Cyprus one year, I read The Fire Thief Trilogy, which came out the year before, based on Prometheus. So I’m no stranger to the subject.

For those who don’t know, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is about a regular 12 year old boy who Zeus thinks stole his lightning bolt. Of course, Percy is about to find out that he’s not a regular 12 year old boy. He is the son of a Greek God. The Gods are about to declare war and it’s up to Percy to stop a sibling rivalry which could devastate the Earth as we know it.

First and foremost, I absolutely love the writing. It’s fun, fast-paced and, although it’s targeted to a younger audience, it doesn’t dumb itself down. It’s a fantastic adventure book of Heroes and Villains, Gods and Demi Gods, Satyrs and Centaurs.

Also, the characters are brilliant.

Percy Jackson

“She also called me brave…unless she was talking to the catfish.”

Percy Jackson is 12 years old and believes he is a troubled kid. He doesn’t mean to be, but odd things tend to happen around him. Couple that with what he thinks is dyslexia and ADHD, Percy thinks he’s a screw up who’s been expelled from every school he’s ever attended.

As the story progresses I feel that Percy remains the same at heart. He describes himself as ‘impertinent’, obedience doesn’t come naturally to him and he’s impulsive. These qualities help him throughout but we also see his struggles with feeling like he doesn’t fit in and his lack of faith in himself. We go on a journey with Percy and I can’t wait to see him in the next instalment.

Grover

“Grover didn’t say anything for awhile. Then, when I thought he was going to give me some deep philosophical comment to make me feel better, he said, “Can I have your apple?”

Grover is Percy’s best friend at school and, it turns out, he’s quite important in Percy’s life for more than that reason.

Grover is knowledgable but what really comes through is his protectiveness, over Percy but also over animals. He can’t stand to see them hurt and will do everything in his power to help them. Grover has some issues of his own, which he works through throughout the story. It makes him a little more guarded and a lot more unsure of himself. He’s someone you really root for all the way through.

Annabeth Chase

Percy: “What if it lines up like it did in the Trojan War … Athena versus Poseidon?”
Annabeth: “I don’t know. But I just know that I’ll be fighting next to you.”
Percy: “Why?”
Annabeth: “Because you’re my friend, Seaweed Brain. Any more stupid questions?”

Annabeth, like Percy, is the child of a God. Very wise and intellectual, she accompanies Percy on his quest. Having lived at Camp Half-Blood for almost her whole life, she was eager to get out into the world. To prove herself.

Annabeth isn’t only intellectual but she’s strong, quick and strategic. At times it’s easy to forget how young she is however, when we do see those moments, it really brings the character to life.

The Gods

“But I’ve never even been to Olympus! Zeus is crazy!”

Chiron and Grover glanced nervously at the sky. The clouds didn’t seem to be parting around us, as Grover had promised. They were rolling straight over our valley, sealing us in like a coffin lid.

Er, Percy …?” Grover said. “We don’t use the c-word to describe the Lord of the Sky.”

We see and hear about many of the Greek Gods, and other creatures throughout the book. Including, but not limited to, Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Athena, Ares, Dionysos, Medusa, Furies, Minotaurs, The Fates. Plus we’re told anecdotes about Aphrodite and Hephaestus and many more. 

The Gods are thunderous and bratty and entitled. They’re all very different with their own motives and agendas and are extremely entertaining to read about.

All in all I absolutely love this book. I remember watching the movie when I was younger as well and I think now is the perfect time for a re-visit.

“Sounds like a plan worthy of Athena.”

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