Monday, May 23, 2011

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Book Jacket

Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again.  No matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to stay out of trouble.  But can he really be expected to stand by and watch while a bully picks on his scrawny best friend?  Or not defend himself against his pre-algebra teacher when she turns into a monster and tries to kill him?  Of course, no one believes Percy about the monster incident; he's not even sure he believes himself.  Until the Minotaur chases him to summer camp.

Suddenly, mythical creatures seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life.  The gods of Mount Olympus, he's coming to realize, are very much alive in the twenty-first century.  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 has just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property, and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus.  On a daring road trip from their summer camp in New York to the gaves of the Underworld in Los Angeles, Percy and his friends--one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena--will face a host of enemies determined to stop them.


Percy!  It's been a long time since I read about Percy discovering his demigod identity.  You'd think another story about a kid with a horrible family life finding out a mystical secret and finding acceptance (and greatness) with similarly special kids would...well, get old.  But it doesn't! 

Greek mythology was always fascinating to me, from 5th grade when we learned the stories behind the constellations to 12th grade when we read The Iliad.  Riordan's gods and goddesses have just the right about of detachment and grandeur mixed with modern snark.  A chimera disguised as a chihuahua!  Poseidon in a fisherman's chair!  A pen that turns into a sword when uncapped!  All great.

The one thing I've never quite believed in The Lightning Thief is why Percy is singled out as the one who stole Zeus's lightning bolt.  Reasons are given, but it seems like if the gods gave it more than a second's thought, they would realize there are far better demigods to accuse.  But whatever.  The story would not have happened if logic won out.

On to more Percy Jackson, Annabeth, and the gods and goddesses they meet on future journeys!

Four out of five invisibility caps.

Release Date:  June 2005
Reading Level:  Grade 3+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection:  YPL RIO

Don't believe me?  Check out these reviews of The Lightning Thief:

Loving Books
Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog

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