Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
|Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Fun series starter with a really strong narrator, and a wonderful number of mythological characters brought to life in a contemporary setting.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: July 2013|
|External links: [www.rickriordan.co.uk Author's website]|
Percy Jackson always thought he was a normal, if rather naughty, kid. Then he vaporised his maths teacher and ended up in Camp Half-Blood, a special place for children of the Greek Gods. With Zeus, king of the Gods, convinced Percy has stolen his magical lightning bolt, war could be about to break out - can Percy find the lightning thief and save the day?
Rick Riordan has somehow passed me by, despite the film adaptation and legions of fans. However when one of my favourite booksellers and one of my favourite bloggers both recommended it to me, I had to finally start this series. It's easy to see why it's been so popular - it's action-packed, has a great central trio in Percy, Annabeth and Grover, and it's fascinating to see the various characters from Greek mythology reimagined into our contemporary world.
That said, I've been reading a lot of MG fantasy and adventure recently and this isn't quite up there with the best of them for me. It has lighter moments here and there - I particularly liked Percy sending a memorable package to the Gods - but overall lacks the humour of Derek Landy's first Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy, and despite the action here it doesn't move along at the same pace as that book, Jon Mayhew's first Monster Odyssey: The Eye Of Neptune by Jon Mayhew, or The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis. However the pacing definitely improved for me towards the end, so perhaps that's just because we were getting to know characters early on? I'll be intrigued to see whether the next in the series, which I've just taken out from the library, has the same issue. It's also rather predictable - I guessed what would happen pretty much perfectly as soon as Percy had seen the oracle.
To counter those criticisms, Percy is a strongly portrayed hero - I love that we get a really positive portrayal of someone with dyslexia and ADHD (common in children of the gods as their brains are wired for Ancient Greek and for battle situations, not modern languages and the classroom) and I really liked his relationship with his mother. His voice as a narrator is excellent; I love first-person and I haven't seen it that often in fantasy and adventure recently. Annabeth and Grover stand out as by far the best of the other characters and I thought their friendship, particularly the arguments between Percy and Annabeth, developed very realistically.
Overall this is an enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to reading more in the series, and in the follow-up series Heroes of Olympus.
In addition to the three mentioned above, I think fans of this mash-up of contemporary settings and the ancient world would really enjoy Secrets of the Tombs: The Phoenix Code by Helen Moss.
You can read more book reviews or buy Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan at Amazon.com.
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