Sunday, July 29, 2012

36. The Lightning Thief

Book #36: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: April 1, 2006
377 Pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

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.

I watched the movie when it came out a few years ago. I'm the kind of person who can't really get into a book after seeing the movie. This has happened many times where I've bought the book, tried to read it, and failed. So when I finally picked up the first Percy Jackson book, I was nervous about whether I'd be able to do it. Within the first chapter, I already knew the book was going to stand on its own with the movie. And let me just say this, the book is so much better than the movie (yes I know, we say that all the time, but like I said I usually read the book first)

Percy Jackson has had issues in school for as long as he knows. He gets in trouble easier and strange things seem to follow him through different schools. He's been expelled more times than not, so when the class goes on a field trip to a museum, Percy is eager to not get in trouble. Easier said than done. When one of his teachers turns into a Fury, a Greek monster, Percy knows there's something wrong. And when his other teacher throws him a pen that turns into a knife, he thinks that's the strangest thing that will happen. Boy is he wrong. After battling a Minotaur and discovering too much about his life, Percy ends up at Camp Half-Blood, a camp for those child born to one mortal parent and one God. Oh ya, Percy, you're the son of a Greek God. Percy continues his struggles at camp, bullied and tormented as usually. But when Zeus' lightning bolt is stolen and Percy is sent out on a quest to retrieve it, things may be looking up for the kid.

With two friends at his side, Grover and Annabeth, Percy sets out to find the Underworld, thinking Hades has taken the bolt. The novel is so action packed that you don't realize you've read 100 pages until you notice how far along you are. An adventure awaits every corner for the young Half-bloods. They meet other Gods along the way that may or may not be what they seem. They travel into strange places and risk death more times than not. Riordan writes in simple language, which is good since the narrator, Percy, is only twelve. Percy has been through a lot in his life and is still trying to take in everything that's happening around him. Yet he stays strong and does not stir from his mission.

Greek mythology is a key component to this series. It flows perfectly through the novel, never stirring from sight. Riordan shows that the world is under a mist and that there is so much behind that curtain that we don't know. It all sees very plausible. I've been a fan of mythology all my life, so reading about Gods and Olympus brought a smile to my face. The world Riordan takes us to is full of magic, love, hope, and heroes. And Percy fits right in - finally.

“Go on with what your heart tells you, or you will lose all.” 

“If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.”

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