Thursday, March 20, 2014

REVIEW: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I tried this book twice and put it down on both counts after a few pages. I couldn't get pass the juvenile writing, which was weird because I read Middle Grade, if only occasionally... I must have been in a bad mood those times, because the third time I tried the book, the writing didn't annoy me. Furthermore, I ended up liking the book!

What I Liked

The book was fast paced. The action was abundant. I never felt like I had to wait for anything to happen.

The hero and his two companions were likable. One boy coming into his power and destiny, one boy serving as the bumbling sidekick, and one girl keeping the two boys grounded with her intelligence. It's formulaic, but it's true and tried.

I liked Percy because of his sense of justice and how he stood up for his friends. I liked how quickly he took to battle and how he realized if a certain part of the Greek mythos was real, then he had a way to save his mother. I didn't expect Percy to be tolerably competent.

Grover didn't endear me because I do not care for bumbling sidekicks. They tend to be a liability and make main characters do stupid things. Thankfully, the satyr wasn't as much of a bumbling sidekick as I dreaded. I admired his resilience and his dream of finding his patron god, Pan, regardless of the abysmally low odds and the super high danger.

Annabeth was cool for a character with angst and regrets. I liked that despite her loyalty to her patron goddess, Athena, she thought for herself and stood by Percy.

What I Didn't Like

I didn't care for the gods. They acted more like misbehaving kids than sociopathic gods. I couldn't believe Zeus and Hades actually believed Percy, a 12 year old boy who was new to their magical world and to his water power, stole their symbols of power. Seriously? It was stupid on many levels.

Another thing I found hard to believe was that Percy could fight Ares, god of war, pretty well. I liked how capable Percy was at fighting, but come on. There's a limit. God of fucking war versus a 12 year old boy with little fighting experience. Percy and his friends should have run for their lives.

I did say Percy was competent, but I didn't say he always made good decisions. But I don't blame him for this because I liked his sense of justice and he was a growing boy. I simply wish someone had taken him aside and taught him not to provoke supernaturals and gods and made him consider the consequences of his impulsive actions.

Finally, I wish there was depth to the bad guys, especially with the Big Bad. Making the Big Bad flatly evil and his minion brainwashed was a wasted opportunity. I like a classic Good versus Evil conflict, but there could have been themes of environment, misanthropy, and justice in moral ambiguity. Instead, there were caricatures. It was disappointing to see the villains were not as developed as our heroes.


I rate The Lighting Thief 3-stars for I like it. Third time was the charm. I'm glad I jumped on the bandwagon and picked up this series.

If you like this series, try The Mythos Academy, a young adult series by Jennifer Estep. It has a similar premise.

Book Description

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.

Goodreads | Amazon

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