Wednesday, September 23, 2009

REVIEW: The Lightning Thief

Riordan, R. (2005). The Lightning Thief. New York: Miramax Books.


I found myself having to reread The Lightning Thief and thought I should blog about it this time around.

Percy Jackson has always struggled in school, dealing with his ADHD, his tendency to cause disasters and his vile step-father. Close to his mom, Percy has never known his real father. While on a class trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, twelve-year-old Percy has a strange conflict with his teacher, Mrs. Dodds, that involves hissing, bat wings, fangs and a pen that turns into a sword. Worse, after the battle none of the other students or teachers acknowledge anything has happened. Percy's ADHD seems to worsen along with his mood, he's going to be expelled and he learns he's in great danger.

The only safe place for Percy is a very special camp that only children with a parent that is a Greek god may attend. Percy's mother and best friend Grover risk their lives to get him there.

Not at the camp for long, Percy, his friend Grover and a potential new friend, Annabeth, must set out on a quest, the first hero's quest in several years. They must act to prevent the Greek gods from declaring war on one another, which would mean disaster for mortals all around the world.

The first time I read this book, I initially had trouble getting into it, but then Percy went to a camp for special descendants of the Greek gods and had to be put in a house under one of the 12 Titans. That's when I picked-up on a Harry Potter vibe and got into the book. Of course, there are a lot of aspects of The Lightning Thief that are wonderful without making that connection, but it helped me to ease in. I love the blending of fantasy and myth, and so many gods and creatures from Greek myth are included. Very exciting!

Even more exciting, word on the blog-way is that Percy Jackson is currently being made into a movie as I type. I'm pretty happy with some of the choices for the adult cast.


This is an excellent book to share with kids for enjoyment but also to secretly educate them on Greek myths and gods. It can be an excellent recommendation for fantasy (and especially Harry Potter) fans.

Since Riordan has a tendency to introduce characters from myth through description and avoid giving their actual names for several pages, students can try to guess which figures from myth are being incorporated into the story. (Obviously, this would require some previous knowledge of myth or an excellent guide to the gods and other creatures)

Quotes of Note:

"Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood.
If you're reading this because you think you might be one, my advice is: close this book right now. Believe whatever lie your mom or dad told you about your birth, and try to lead a normal life.
Being a half-blood is dangerous. It's scary. Most of the time, it gets you killed in painful, nasty ways.
If you're a normal kid, reading this because you think it's fiction, great. Read on. I envy you for being able to believe that none of this every happened" (p. 1).

"See, bad things happen to me on field trips. Like at my fifth-grade school, when we went to the Saratoga battlefield, I had this accident with a Revolutionary War cannon. I wasn't aiming for the school bus, but of course I got expelled anyway. And before that, at my fourth-grade school, when we took a behind-the-scenes tour of the Marine World shark pool, I sort of hit the wrong lever on the catwalk and our class took an unplanned swim. And the time before that...Well, you get the idea" (p. 2).

"What you may not know is that great powers are at work in your life. Gods--the forces you call the Greek gods--are very much alive."
I stared at the others around the table.
I waited for somebody to yell, Not!" (p. 67).

"Once I got over the fact that my Latin teacher was a horse, we had a nice tour, though I was careful not to walk behind him. I'd done pooper-scooper patrol in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade a few times, and, I'm sorry, I did not trust Chiron's back end the way I trusted his front" (p. 75).


  1. I agree with your review. I really enjoyed the Lightning Thief and I am looking forward to the sequels.

  2. Hi! I want to know a synopsis of the second book. I was wondering if I should read it. Have you read it before?

  3. I'm actually only a quarter of my way through book two. The writing is at the same level of the first one. Some of the monsters from myth are lesser known ones. I'm enjoying it.

    The plot is something to the effect of "Grover is missing and in danger. Or so Percy thinks based on the strange dreams he has been having. And worse, the protective borders of Camp Half-Blood are weakening allowing monsters to attack the campers. Percy, Annabeth and a new friend who happens to be a cyclops must team up to save Grover and the camp."

    Sound good?



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