Percy Jackson & the Olympians – Book 1: The Lightning Thief – By Rick Riordan

Hey Jared,

In addition to my reread of The Inheritance Cycle, I’ll also be rereading the iconic Percy Jackson series over the next month and a half. It’s been 7 or 8 years since my last read through and since then Heroes of Olympus has finished and we’ve now got Magnus Chase and Trials of Apollo. And I’m a parent now. Basically there’s a few good reasons to reread this classic series.

lightningthief.jpgTitle: The Lightning Thief
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians; Book 1
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Youth/Teen
ROTS Setting: EU, Modern, Magic, Mythology/Supernatural
Synopsis: Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.
Recommendation: Highly recommended!

Lets start by saying I’m really, really glad I’m rereading the series. I honestly think my recent experiences with Magnus and Apollo have slowly been changing my memories of the series and not for the better.

This series is absolutely awesome!

Percy isn’t frustratingly annoying even if he’s occasionally frustrating or annoying. He’s still a pre-teen, with all that goes with it, but he’s not a horrible person and he’s just trying to figure things out. Annabeth is as textured as I remember and an overall bad-ass. Grover is as goofy and endearing as one can be while not becoming a caricature of himself. What more can you ask for?

The plot is also reasonable with only a few minor plot holes and a pretty good pace considering everything that needed to be packed into this series-opener. I really enjoyed how things were wrapped up in the end. It was all very satisfying while still hooking the reader into the next book.

There’s also something intensely fascinating and engaging in this world that Mr. Riordan has spun and shaped. It’s dangerous and magical and dark and hopeful and twisted and whimsical and……awesome. The gods have the gravitas one would expect while the monsters are alien but still strike at those primal fears we, as a species, all have. It’s this world that has pulled me though Heroes when so many others stop and why I’m still giving Apollo a chance.

While I’m at it I might as well comment a bit on the differences that I noticed when comparing this book and the most recent series spin-offs. There’s a natural, organic, feel to the characters and plot in this book, which clashes strongly with the engineered feel in Magnus and Apollo. It doesn’t feel like the author is trying to “say” anything even though a lot has been said, and yet the recent books feel like one big PSA.

I think the shift has been due to the author’s intent. At first it’s about their idea and writing the best story possible but as the series and author becomes more popular they start writing for the lowest common denominator to attract the most amount of people. It’s no longer about telling a good story but selling books for the publisher. But whatever the reason, this series is head and shoulders above the rest. No contest.

In summary, it’s a classic and will always have a place on my shelf.



Percy Jackson & the Olympians – Book 1: The Lightning Thief – By Rick Riordan

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