Review: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) ~ Rick Riordan

lightning-thiefPercy 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.

5 Thumbs-UpFirstly let me explain that this is going to be quite a long review as I’ve included information for the interested readers near the bottom of the review.  It’s not something I usually do but change is always good when it helps others.

I have to admit I went into reading this book with the expectation it would be just another shallow copy of the Harry Potter series with names and places changed enough so as not to infringe on the original copyright.  I also wasn’t expecting to enjoy it at all, as I found myself becoming rather bored with Hogwarts after a couple of books.  You can imagine my relief and surprise to find that this book and the following instalments are nothing like the aforementioned wizardry titles and this title, along with the others had me glued to the pages long after I should have gone back to real life.  Yes there are some similarities between the two series, but you really have to look hard and want to find them, but as with most forms of art, and writing is an art, there are very few if any original ideas left out there.

The book is narrated by Percy himself, and at times he sounded more like an aged pessimist than the 16-year-old boy he was supposed to be.  Considering what he had been through in his life, and also knowing some people his age that are like this, I found it to be a great tool the Author used to pull the reader into his story and travel on the journey to find himself with him; and what a journey it is, it is so personal and full of emotion at points that the reader can’t help but become emotionally invested in the character and root for him every step of the way.  It is easy for most readers to connect with this character for a different reason too, whatever he turns his hand, however good his intentions, he just can’t seem to get things right.  The Author is equally generous with all other characters encountered in this book; you love the ‘heroes’ and feel the need to boo and hiss at the villains when they appear on the page.

All Greek mythology should be approached in the way the Author does in this book.  Whilst staying true to the nature of the Gods, they inject humour and irreverence in to the way they have re-imaged and reinterpreted the whole Greek Pantheon.  In a totally off the wall manner everything surrounding the Gods is explained to an audience who may never have come across them before and who, after reading this book will probably be motivated to find out more about them.  The existence of these beings is written in a believable and well explained manner and does great credit to the Author, as research into this topic must have been extensive to enable them to portray mythology in this manner.

As I said at the beginning of this review, it is a little different from others I have written, and a lot longer, and here is the reason why.  The Author is now about to release the last instalment of their Percy Jackson series, and to mark the event they have scheduled a book tour itinerary that I thought might interest those who are fans of the books:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014: Boston/Cambridge-Brookline, MA

Event hosted by:
Porter Square Books
25 White Street
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-491-2220

Location of event:
Temple Ohabei Shalom
1187 Beacon Street
Brookline, MA 02446
617-277-6610

Showtime:
7:00 PM ET

Wednesday, October 8, 2014: Toronto, ONT, Canada

Event hosted by:
Indigo Exclusive

Location of event:
Bloor Street United Church
300 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON M55 1W3
416-924-7439

Showtime:
7:00 PM ET

Thursday, October 9, 2014: Atlanta/Decatur, GA

Event hosted by:
Little Shop of Stories
133A East Court Square
Decatur, GA 30030
404-373-6300

Location of event:
Glenn Auditorium at Emory
1652 North Decatur Road
Atlanta, GA 30302

Showtime:
7:00 PM ET

Friday, October 10, 2014: New York, NY

Event hosted by:
Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
212-989-3270

Location of event:
New York Public Library
Main Branch
Celeste Bartos Forum
5th Avenue at 42nd Street
New York, NY 10018

*Note: 25 branch libraries across the city will also be participating.

Showtime:
4:00 PM ET

Saturday, October 11, 2014: Chicago/Downers Grove, IL

Event hosted by:
Anderson’s Bookshop
5112 Main Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515
630-963-2665

Location of event:
Tivoli Theatre
5021 Highland Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515
630-968-0219

Showtime:
4:00 PM CT

Sunday, October 12, 2014: Boulder, CO

Event hosted by:
Boulder Book Store
1107 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO 80302
303-447-2074

Location of event:
Boulder Theatre
2032 14th Street
Boulder, CO 80302

Showtime:
1:30 PM MT

Monday, October 13, 2014: Austin, TX

Event hosted by:
Book People
603 N. Lamar
Austin, TX 78703
512-472-5050

Location of event:
Westlake Community Performing Arts Center
4100 Westbank Drive
Austin, TX 78746

Showtime:
6:00 PM CT

Tuesday, October 14, 2014: Santa Barbara/Ventura, CA

Event hosted by:
Barnes & Noble Ventura #2054
4820 Telephone Road
Ventura, CA 93003
805-339-0990

Location of event:
Buena High School Auditorium (with Ventura Educational Partnership)
5670 Telegraph Road
Ventura, CA 93003

Showtime:
6:00 PM PT

Wednesday, October 15, 2014: San Francisco/Menlo Park, CA

Event hosted by:
Kepler’s
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025
650-861-7810

Location of event:
Fox Theatre
2215 Broadway Street
Redwood City, CA 94063

Showtime:
7:00 PM PT

Percy Jackson

I’m a little sad that the readers of so many states will not get a chance to attend one of these events, but if you are interested in the world of Percy Jackson you can always head over to the website and go on an adventure of your own.

I would highly recommend this book and the rest of the series to readers of all ages that are looking to go on an adventure and learn a little at the same time.  These are definitely on my ‘read again’ list.  This is a great book that, if you are not in the target audience of a middle grade reader, will have you feeling like a child just returned from an epic adventure in their blanket fort; and we all need to feed that inner child on a regular basis.

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