Saturday, April 2, 2022

The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first installment of author Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series opens with the franchise’s namesake protagonist, Perseus Jackson, also the first-person narrator, stating that he didn’t yearn to be a demigod, with one of his instructors attempting to kill him, only to discover that there was no such teacher with her name. He ultimately takes a bus back home to Manhattan and his mother Sally Jackson, not to mention stepfather “Smelly” Gabe Ugliano. Sally and her son plan a trip to the beach town of Montauk, with a hurricane and encounter with the Minotaur following, and Percy finding himself in Camp Half-Blood, full of others like him.

Percy discovers the truth about his biological father and an impending war among the Greek gods due to the eponymous thief of Zeus’s master bolt, which necessitates he go on a quest with his friends Grover and Annabeth cross-country to the entrance of the Underworld in Los Angeles. Along the way, they have several near-death experiences related to figures from Greek mythology, Percy himself becoming a fugitive that receives unwanted media attention, and needing to find the master bolt before the summer solstice. The trio ultimately does reach the Underworld, with several battles and twists rounding out the first entry of Riordan’s series.

Overall, the first Percy Jackson book is definitely a fun read, given its great combination of Greek mythology and contemporary American culture that has references aplenty to things such as Coca-Cola, media figures like Barbara Walters, and so forth. There’s also plentiful self-aware humor, with the titles of each chapter in particular attesting to the book’s general lighthearted, humorous disposition. Having watched the film adaptation, I can definitely attest that its literary source material is vastly different, and would both very well recommend the first entry to young readers and adults alike and continue reading Riordan’s series.

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