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Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

By 08:34:00 , ,

I picked up Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan at the book fair a few months back but only got around to reading it a few weeks ago. If you like stories of young people with powers going around fighting monsters, a book full of hilarious quips, Greek mythology and don't have a problem with a third of the characters being the gods from Greek mythology you will like this book.

While I really enjoyed Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, this book reminded me of Harry Potter in many ways more than the title (yes it is definitely a rip off in a lot of ways, but I am not going to bother to name most of them), and in the bad things as well as the good ones. 

Most of the characters are demi-gods, sons or daughters of god or they are some other mythical creature, meaning that normal humans are looked down upon (not such a good thing), and of course there are all the gods, the same ones as in Greek mythology. At least they have the same names but Rick Riordan gives them each wonderful personalities that we get small glimpses of. I actually found the Greek gods and mythology part of the book rather cool. And having just listened to an audio of The Aeneid and been thinking about epic heroes made it even better.

Percy Jackson (the MC) does actually fit all the characteristics of an epic hero. Some better than others though... 

  • He is of Supernatural birth. 
  • The gods intervene in his quest (continually). 
  • He has a special weapon.
  • Is a great warrior..... kind of... at lest more so than some of the other half-bloods.
  • He faces supernatural foes.
  • Defeats monsters.
  • He travels over a large setting.
  • Is trying to save the world. 
  • He is... not tempted by women as most epic heroes are (that would not really be appropriate for a children's book), but there is a scene that would kind of fit that characteristic. 
  • He often sometimes make rash decisions and takes unnecessary risks.
  • He even descends into the underworld. 
  • And of course he eventually achieves his goal. 

The story is rather humorous, I had tears of laughter squeezing out of my eyes at times. It is also fast paced, non stop action with a very short deadline. The stakes are raised as you read, even though they start rather high, with a narrow escape from death in the first or second chapter! I found the main character really relatable even with him being a demi-god, he has dyslexia just like me and he also had ADHD and that was not portrayed as a bad thing, he was a very real and unique character. And some of the gods were such characters too. I liked his two main friends, but could not help being reminded of Harry, Ron and Hermione half the time.

The plot was not particularly surprising, it seemed to hint at 
everything a bit too much, but it was a fun read. I also have conflicting thoughts about how accomplished Percy Jackson is, he ends up only having trained with a sword for a year (and all that time not believing he will need it) yet he can defeat monsters! He seemed a bit scary and daring for .... however old he was, maybe 12? And things occasionally seemed to easy for him....But then he is half god so maybe he should be even more powerful.... so maybe what he can do is quite understandable.

But the only thing that is really a problem with the book from a christian point of view is the concept; that there are gods and demi-gods and such. And something that happens at the end in which human life is not treated as sacred. I am all fine with killing monsters, but humans, even if they are very bad ones are still humans. I did not like that bit. But overall I greatly enjoyed the book.

As for why water features in a lot of these photos.... well you will have to read the book to find that out won't you. I have read the second book now too, and it does seem less of a rip off from HP than the first is, but the plot of it is very similar to this one and still not really surprising, but both were really fun and hilarious... and I have touched up on my Greek mythology too.

Have you read any Rick Riodan books?
What did you think of them?

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  1. I loved The Lightning Thief when I first read it in about grade 8! All the PJO books are really fun adventure stories, and are a major factor in why I love Greek Mythology today. Also, Rick Riordan's writing style often had me in hysterics. I totally agree with you with the few quibbles you had with the story though - especially the part at the end. There's a line there that was crossed, and I think the story could have moved forward without that happening. Have you read the Heroes of Olympus series (the PJO spin-off where they're all older teens)? I had very mixed feelings, and am curious as to what you thought of them (if you've read them, of course :p).

    1. Reading it in grade 8 would have been cool, sometimes they are better if you are just that bit younger. I have not read the Heroes of Olympus series, yet. I hope to read some of them in the future as well as finish this series.

  2. No, I have not read these books, but I intend on reading them soon. Everyone has read and loved them, and I want to see what all the fuss is about. Oh man, but now I'll keep comparing to HP! You're right, the titles are so similar! Hopefully I won't mind.

    Vane at Books With Chemistry

    1. The similar titles were the first thing I noticed, but they are not too much the same.... at least the books, and the chapter titles that Rick Roirdan thinks up are seriously cool..... I suppose that is to make up for the kinda boring book titles.