This post is the first of five mini reviews for the five novels in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.
Read The Sea of Monsters mini review here.
Read The Titan’s Curse mini review here.
Read The Battle of the Labyrinth mini review here.
Read The Last Olympian mini review here.
“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.”
I’m sure we all have that book on our to-be-read lists, a book that you constantly stare at thinking, “I really need to read you,” but the timing is just not right. The Lightning Thief is that book for me. I think this novel has been on my TBR list longer than any other and I finally forced myself to read it after finding it at my local library. On a whim, I borrowed it and fell in love with the incredible world and characters Rick Riordan has created.
I’m sure almost everyone is familiar with the story, but if you aren’t, the book follows 12-year-old Percy Jackson, an ADHD and dyslexic boy who is constantly kicked out of school due to regular mishaps and bad behaviour. On a class excursion at his newest school, Percy is attacked by a teacher who turns into a horrible monster and he discovers a truth about himself: he is a demi-god, half-human half-god, and the son of the sea god Poseidon. The Greek gods are alive and real and living in New York City. Percy is taken to Camp Half-Blood where he meets more of his kind, including Annabeth, the daughter of Athena, and Grover, a satyr. Not too long after he arrives, Percy discovers that he has angered the gods, especially Zeus, who believes that Percy has stolen his lightning bolt. Percy, Annabeth and Grover are sent on a quest to find the bolt, as well as Percy’s mother who was kidnapped, and the mysterious lightning thief.
Perhaps I read this novel at the right time in my life or maybe it was just that good, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was entertained from the first page, right until the very end. I am completely enchanted by the world Riordan has effortlessly created. It is such an amazing concept. I’ll admit, I was a little sceptical that the gods would simply just be there with no explanation aside from, “Yeah, they’re still alive,” but that was not the case. Riordan eloquently described how the ancient Greek gods are still kicking it. The gods, as well as Olympus and anything else attached to their realm, had followed the natural progression of Western Civilisation, becoming the central deities of whichever country or Empire happened to be in charge at the time. They started (obviously) in Greece, moved to Rome where the Romans deigned them with different names; then to Western Europe and the Renaissance, kept alive through the rebirth of classical literature and artwork. Today, the gods have settled in the current most powerful country in the world: America. Olympus can be found on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building and the entrance to the Underworld is in L.A.
The world-building is amazingly complex, detailed and well thought out. Everything makes perfect sense as Riordan divulges certain pieces of information and history into the text at precise moments. Riordan’s writing was a little elementary and simple, but considering his protagonist is 12 years old and the novel is middle grade fiction, that’s understandable. The writing matched the tone of the novel – fun, witty and comical.
I found the story-line engaging and I would frantically flip the pages, so excited and intrigued to discover the truth and what will happen next. I loved the inclusion of so many of my favourite characters from Greek history and mythology. Each time a new, recognisable character was introduced, I practically squealed in excitement.
The Lightning Thief was a delightful series-starter that left me wanting more. This novel was so fun and entertaining it was impossible to put down.
“Why can’t you place a blessing like that on us?” I asked.
“It only works on wild animals.”
“So it would only affect Percy,” Annabeth reasoned.
“Hey!” I protested.
The wood nymph instructors left me in the dust. They told me not to worry about it. They’d had centuries of practice running away from lovesick gods. But still, it was a little humiliating to be slower than a tree.
“Braccas meas vescimini!”
I wasn’t sure where the Latin came from. I think it meant ‘Eat my pants!’
I’d love to tell you I had some deep revelation on my way down, that I came to terms with my own mortality, laughed in the face of death, et cetera.
The truth? My only thought was: Aaaaggghhhhh!
He was slumped over, blood trickling from the side of his mouth. I shook his furry hip, thinking, No! Even if you are half barnyard animal, you’re my best friend and I don’t want you to die!
Grover didn’t say anything for awhile. Then, when I thought he was going to give me some deep philosophical comment to make me feel better, he said, “Can I have your apple?”
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 the the way I trusted his front.
“Your uncle,” Poseidon sighed, “has always had a flair for dramatic exits. I think he would’ve done well as the god of theater.” So spot on Zeus, it kills me.
[Grover] had a note excusing him from PE for the rest of his life because he had some kind of muscular disease in his legs. He walked funny, like every step hurt him, but don’t let that fool you. You should’ve seen him run when it was enchilada day in the cafeteria.
And my absoulte favourite:
Grover wore his fake feet and his pants to pass as human. He wore a green rasta-style cap, because when it rained his curly hair flattened and you could just see the tips of his horns. His bright orange backpack was full of scrap metal and apples to snack on. In his pocket was a set of reed pipes his daddy goat had carved for him, even though he only knew two songs: Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 12 and Hilary Duff’s “So Yesterday,” both of which sounded pretty bad on reed pipes.