Book Review: The Lightening Thief (Percy Jackson and The Olympians)

The Lightening Thief
Series: Percy Jackson & The Olympians (Book 1)
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Fantasy/Fiction
Source: Personal Collection

Eleven-year-old Percy Jackson always seems to be getting himself into trouble. And not the regular scrapes that all little boys seem to find themselves in, but the trouble that you only read about in adventure stories, specifically the adventure stories of the mythological Greek heroes. At least he thought they were mythological- Percy has become the recent target of mythological monsters, and he must rely on his own quick thinking, the help of new friends and even the occasional bump in the right direction by the Gods to survive the summer. This page-turner sets the stage for the rest of the Olympians series. Percy discovers who he is, and the whispering of his destiny during his first summer at Camp Half-Blood. Riordan deftly weaves together the stories of Greek Mythology, with the heroes of western civilization.

Overall I enjoyed this book. I found myself trying desperately to remember all the Greek and Roman mythology from high school Latin. I found the fast paced adventure exciting, and I couldn’t put it down. One of my favorite characters in the book plays a minor role in the adventure, but I really liked Percy’s mother. She is a fighter, fiercely loyal and has endured a lot in order to protect her son. I love that she always gives him blue foods, and the blue food has become Percy’s comfort foods. I hope a future book will explain how this tradition began, but if it doesn’t, I have already begun to imagine a few of my own.

While I enjoyed the book, I felt that this book lacked some of the complexity that I have come to expect in fantasy books. I may have felt this way in part because I read so many reviews prior to starting the store measuring The Olympians against Harry Potter. Now while there were similarities between the stories, I think this is because both series rely on the same myths, legends and stories as their basis. In the end I wish that Percy Jackson’s adventure had a little bit more meat to it. I felt as though I only got a small taste of the myths, and then we quickly switched to a new monster and a new myth. I think I would have been even more drawn into the story of Riordan had further delved into the myths behind which he based his story.

I am excited to continue working my way through the rest of the series!

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2 Responses to “Book Review: The Lightening Thief (Percy Jackson and The Olympians)”

  1. Heather Says:

    I actually just saw this book for the first time today in an email from Borders and then I saw your review – what a coincidence. From looking at the email I thought it did appear outwardly to give off the same idea as Harry Potter – that was my initial impression. Thanks for the review.

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