Review: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1)

The Lightning Thief

by Rick Riordan

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1

Source: Purchased

Book Summary:

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.

book thoughts

I saw the movie a few years ago and liked it, so I bought the box-set for my husband for Christmas. He plowed through them and then insisted I needed to read them soon too. Then one day he just plopped this one in my hand and said “read”, so I obliged.

I think I may have been resistant because I don’t go for “light” reads. I need high stakes and high emotions (which is why I mostly read YA). However, much like Harry Potter, the Percy Jackson series manages to be entertaining, fun, humorous and at the same time handle a very serious, high-stakes plot. I’m definitely not the first person to make the HP comparison, but it is relevant. Both are middle grade fantasy epics with sweeping world-building and absorbing narrative. It’s not a rip-off at all. Rowling sourced Harry Potter from a plethora or myth and lore, but Percy Jackson is firmly rooted in the Greek mythological tradition. This is just SO MUCH there. I’m a lifelong mythology buff and I was still researching Greek mythology every few chapters or so, not because it was necessary to understand the plot (it’s not – you can have zero knowledge of mythology and still understand and like the story), but because my interest was peaked and I wanted to know more. I assume this was the author’s intention and it certainly worked!

It’s rare to find a book that sucked me in as much as this one did. There are books I love to death, more than this one, but don’t have that rest-of-the-world-disappears factor to them. I was pleasantly surprised how much I lost track of time reading this book and the ones that came after.

Don’t be like me and assume you won’t like it as much because it’s not YA. So there’s no romance. Fair enough, but there are still strong bonds forged and great character interaction, and enough to make you realize what direction the plot is going in in terms of romance. It’s not a “kid’s book” just because the protagonist is twelve. After all, demigods have to fight hard to survive before they even reach their teens, so they’re more mature than most. The characters don’t feel like “little kids”, they feel like people, who happen to be twelve or so. You can relate to their struggles whether you’re 9, 19, 29 or 69. Doesn’t matter. Great story, great characters, great narrative. Read it.


About Rain Jeys

Young Adult Fantasy Author. Book Reviewer. Lover of kitties. View all posts by Rain Jeys

7 responses to “Review: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1)

  • bluenred

    People who touch lightning, generally get Charred. I have seen pictures of lightninged people, and the Parts that lightning Touched, they looked like something that was on the grill too long. Did that happen to this boy? If so, maybe that is why there was no romance in the book. Women don’t often go for boys that resemble burnt hamburger.

    The two-volume work by Robert Graves on the Greek myths is useful.

    According to her, Rowling nicked from Jane Austen and T.H. White.

    • Rain Jeys

      I have a deviantart friend who managed to get struck by lightning twice, which is supposed to be impossible.

      When you’re a demigod, you can touch lightning bolts and live. Though if Zeus had wanted to turn Percy into burnt hamburger, he could have. Would have made the next eight or so books a bit different.

      I referred to that wonderful Genealogy of Greek Mythology that you gave me a few Christmases back. So thank you!

      I can see those influences. She nicked from just about everywhere, didn’t she? But in a good way.

      • bluenred

        Was your friend Charred?

        Harry Potter, he got a Char on his forehead.

        You know, like, they had magic and everything. So how come they didn’t just make the Harry Potter forehead Char go away? A regular human would just go to a plastic surgeon.

        • Rain Jeys

          I imagine he was charred for a time, at least. Then he got better.

          I believe in the first book Dumbledore explains that extremely powerful dark magic leaves a mark that can’t be removed. I’d go look it up but I’ve already started packing my books!

          I’m not sure plastic surgery would work. Harry couldn’t even get a haircut without it growing back overnight, so the plastic surgery likely wouldn’t last long. Though maybe a simpler solution like stage makeup would be worth a try.

  • Lisa

    Everyone’s been loving this series, and now the movie is coming out..I think its about time I pick up the first book and start reading them!

    Become Blogger of the Week!

  • Flashback Friday Review: The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #3) | Rose Shadow Ink

    […] this book and completely fell in love with it. Those high-stakes and high emotions I mentioned in my review of The Lightning Thief, those aspects I’m always on the lookout for? Here they […]

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