I was refreshed and pleasantly surprised by this humorous modern take on Greek mythology.
Ultimately, it was a bit shallow in character development and plot complexity, but those are forgivable sins due to the target audience and the way the book was supposed to come across. It’s not supposed to be serious, or amazingly deep and/or complex. It’s middle-grade; expect that. But expect a really great middle-grade story.
At any rate, I ate it up, and I’m definitely continuing the series.
★ ★ ★ ★
Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.
“Humans see what they want to see.”
Okay. The idea behind Percy Jackson and the Olympians is pretty fantastic. We follow the story of Percy Jackson (surprise), a New York native and the unknowing son of a greek god (not telling you who), as he discovers who he really is at The Camp for Sarcastic Demigods—more commonly referred to as Camp Half-Blood.
First of all, the idea of modernizing ancient Greek gods and heroes is just plain awesome. Second of all…who am I kidding? There’s no need to say any more.
BUT I’M GOING TO ANYWAY.
“My name is Percy Jackson. I’m twelve years old. Until a few months ago, I was a boarding student at Yancy Academy, a private school for troubled kids in upstate New York. Am I a troubled kid? Yeah. You could say that.”
The writing was—forgive the word—really cute. Riordan did a fantastic job creating a memorable narrator, through the tone I obviously most enjoy…SARCASM.
Persassy Percy was a character whose head I liked being stuck in (sometimes it doesn’t happen that way—Scarlett Dragna? Caraval? I’m looking at you. *cough cough*) and I enjoyed reading his commentaries on his crazy life.
But now this won’t do…I’ve swerved into characterization. Get back on track, Marie.
Writing, yes! The Lightning Thief wasn’t exceptional, and I don’t really think it was supposed to be. It was aimed to be reachable for kids, I think, and it definitely was. It wasn’t written to blow you away with brilliance or richness of vocabulary. It was written with the audience in mind and I appreciated that. I truly enjoyed the freshness of it and the humor laced through it all.
Now that I’ve covered writing, is it okay to move on to characterization? Cool.
The characterization here was nice. It wasn’t phenomenal (each character fell into pretty clear-cut categories) but the characters still had development albeit on a low level. The characters and their development have promise, though, as I’m sure through the other books in the series more of their stories and backgrounds will come into play, they’ll grow, and all that. In short, it wasn’t remarkable, but it wasn’t disappointing.
As for plot, like I said, there want much to it. It was pretty simple, but it wasn’t entirely stupid either. ;) There was somewhat of a flow to it, and I can sense that it will get more complicated in future installments. So, end point on plotting: slightly disappointing but not hopeless. In any case, it definitely gives you a run for your money on your knowledge of Greek myths.
Worldbuiling wasn’t bad…or that good either. I got a pretty clear sense of what to imagine, but it felt a little cheap. I still enjoyed the world Riordan created, though… It’s just not the most sophisticated feeling. And again, it’s not supposed to be. I just have super high expectations when it comes to worldbuilding, so if you’re pretty cool on that, I bet you’ll be completely fine with PJO.
The dialogue, though, was this book’s strong point. It was snappy, sassy, and really enjoyable to read. I enjoyed reading how the different characters interacted and how they would communicate with each other.
Overall, while The Lightning Thief was incredibly unique, there wasn’t a whole lot underneath. (Then again, my feelings may change on completeing the series.) The book itself was refreshing and light, and I had lots of little laughs throughout.
If you’re down for a spunky adventure quest, stop reading this and go pick up The Lightning Thief. If not, that’s totally fine—I just probably wouldn’t recommend this particular book to you.
Is it okay for me to read?
Language • • • • •
Violence • • • • •
Characters fight mythological monsters. Hardly any detail is given. Minor injuries.
Sensuality • • • • •
Substances • • • •
Dionysus, the god of wine, runs the camp, and drinks on occasion.
For more about my content ratings and what they mean, click here.