Title: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1
Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books
Release Date: March 1st 2006
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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
In spite of his dyslexia and ADHD, in spite of his terrible luck on field trips and his tendency to be expelled from school, Percy Jackson is a normal 12 year old. Until his maths teacher turns into one of the three furies and tries to kill him on a class trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Percy, with the help of his Latin teacher and a sword which turns into a pen, kills her but when he returns to his classmates none of them have any memory of a maths teacher named Mrs. Dodds.
Percy becomes convinced it was just a hallucination, until he returns home again for the summer. While on a summer trip with his mother Grover appears, Percy’s best friend, and he reveals that Percy is no longer safe. While fleeing to Camp Half-Blood Percy learns he is a Demigod, the son of a human and a God, and has been accused of taking Zeus’s master lightning bolt from Olympus. Percy becomes lost in his new world, especially after losing his mother to the minotaur on the run to Camp Half-Blood, and then his father claims him.
Not just any half-blood Percy is the child of one of the big three, Poseidon, and the subject of a terrible prophecy. The only person who can be picked to find the lightning bolt and return it to Zeus before the war breaks out Percy goes on a quest, along with Annabeth, daughter of Athena, and Grover, to Hades to find the bolt.
But asides from finding the bolt Percy has another aim in mind while travelling to Hades, to find and return with his mother.
Their journey is not easy. With monsters everywhere after the bolt Percy, Annabeth, and Grover have to face Medusa, the Chimera, and all three Furies amongst other monsters. Their journey soon becomes delayed and fraught with peril, and with a limited time before Zeus launches a war against Poseidon Percy and his friends are running out of time to reach Hades, find the lightning bolt and return to Olympus before the deadline; midnight on the summer solstice.
Percy has not had an easy life, even before finding out he is a half-blood and the son of Poseidon. On top of his ADHD and dyslexia he has been expelled from every school he’s been in and seems to be a magnet for trouble. While at Camp Half-Blood he comes into his own as a half blood and proves himself more than once on their quest. He may not be Athena camp smart but he is capable of coming up with plans on the go and more often than not, despite being dangerous and reckless, they help get the three of them out of trouble.
It’s only ever been Percy and his mother so when she is taken by the Minotaur and Percy believes she is dead his plan is to go to Hades and bring her back again. No matter what the cost he is determined to save her, determined not to lose the only parent he’s ever had.
Annabeth is a daughter of Athena and has been at Camp Half-Blood since she was the seven, the longest of any other campers there. She has never been out on a quest before and is determined to prove herself, even if it means travelling with a son of Poseidon. Due to her mother’s history with Poseidon Annabeth doesn’t trust Percy at the start but quickly moves past that. Annabeth is the brains behind their whole operation, the one who comes up with the smart plans and who has the knowledge to know what they’re walking into and what monsters they’re facing.
Grover is Percy’s best friend and his protector. Getting Percy to Camp Half-Blood safely was his chance to prove himself after his first search for a half-blood in the outside world went horribly wrong. Grover, like most satyrs, is determined to get his searcher’s licence and become the one find the wild god Pan after he went missing years ago. However after his first two failures, the most recent one being bringing Percy to the camp safely, Grover is on his last chance to impress the Council of Elders when he joins Percy’s quest to Hades.
The three of them all have different motivations for going on the quest; Percy to find and save his mother, Annabeth to prove herself after training for years in Camp Half-Blood, and Grover to prove his skills as a protector and receive his searcher’s licence. However all three of them understand the importance of finding and returning the master bolt before the summer solstice. The three of them also work really well together; Annabeth is the brains of the operation, Percy the impulse and recklessness which provides them with the chance escape the messes they find themselves in, and Grover the sense of responsibility which pulls them out of the fire.
I am a massive fan of Greek mythology so of course the setting for this book, the culture and mythology that came into play, was a major draw for me. Everything was so wonderfully written and, while I won’t claim to be an expert on Greek mythology to me, it all seemed incredibly accurate and true to history as well. The explanation of why Olympus had been moved to New York and Hades moves to Los Angeles, and the stories of the ancient heroes and monsters helping and hunting Percy was well laid out for the reader; Medusa in her abandoned town surrounded by statues, the Chimera and the mother of monsters, Ares and Aphrodite hiding their affairs from Hephaestus. However I also loved the modern twists that were added in as well; seeing Hades in the modern age, with the increase in population and the increase in people travelling over the river and through the Fields of Asphodel. Everything about the setting in this book was just so amazing and it only added to the story Rick Riordan was telling.
Honestly I’m not sure why it took me so long to read this book but now I’ve started it, and loved it, I’m flying through this series; which is a good thing because as I understand it there are more than a few books I need to catch up on. Also if anyone could let me know the reading order of the books after Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian that’d be great.
What did you think of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.