Book Review: The Lightning Thief
Book reviews

The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan

Release date: 28 June 2005
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3.5 stars

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

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the east 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’s 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’s stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed in 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.

Unbelievably, I read my very first Percy Jackson book in 2018. I’m pretty sure I was in the middle of my OWLs, and needed some quick books to smash through to fill some prompts. (I assume I will do this again in another week or so when I’m approaching the end of my NEWTs.) (Also, I can’t believe I just called a paperback that is 375 pages long a “quick read”. Who AM I?)

So, basically this is a new(ish or whatever you call books that are going to be 14 years old this year) take on the Greek myths. I loved the Greek myths when I was young. I used to transcribe a rundown of each story from the encyclopedias we had into my own little Greek mythology journal. (Two takeaways from this sentence: 1) I was a nerd. 2) I am old enough to have used ENCYCLOPEDIAS when I was a kid… NOT the internet.) However, I didn’t really like Poseidon. I don’t know why. I just preferred Zeus and Hades and Aphrodite and Persephone and the others. I didn’t really like Athena either, so it’s not like Poseidon was all alone in my rejection basket. Ares and Hermes were there too. Basically Riordan took my basket of rejects and made a story from their illegitimate offspring. It didn’t really make me like them more either. Also, I would not have read this story based on the blurb (so it’s probably a good thing that I NEVER read them).

In terms of characters, I quite liked Annabeth. She’s very Hermione-like. I even think she’s probably a Ravenclaw pretending to be a Gryffindor (just like Hermione – easy plot-point for Rowling to make them all in the same house). She’s definitely got mum-issues though. Grover and Chiron were both pretty cool too. But I LOVED Dionysus. He was snarky and sarcastic, and everything I wanted in a camp director/disgraced demigod. (Percy was fine… I guess.)

The joy of world-building in urban fantasy novels is that YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO MUCH. Except explain how the magic exists in the real world (or how it’s hidden from mortals / muggles / non-magic folk / whatever you want to call them). It’s even easier for Riordan in this, because unless you were raised by wolves in a cave, you probs already know a fair chunk about Greek mythology, so the only thing he had to “hide” was that the gods were real, and that there were monsters running around New York. MIST WILL DECEIVE THEM. Pssh, totes fine.

In general, I liked it. It was fine. I mean, I’ve read worse series and finished them (*cough* Hush, Hush *cough*), so I figure it’s only a matter of time until I read the rest of the books. And apparently there are movies? (I was raised by wolves in a cave…) So I might even watch them. Are they TERRIBLE?? Someone tell me!

Until next time, happy reading! ??

PS: Is it just me, or are my reviews getting worse?? Do I even talk about the story, or just my childhood? I think this is because I’ve forgotten what happens… (something, something, lightning bolt, there were grapes and talking to fish… wait, maybe that was Aquaman…?) Weirdly I remember the short story about the stolen chariot way better.


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