Thursday, October 16, 2014


Percy Jackson is a 12-year-old boy who seems to be always in trouble at school. He has dyslexia and ADHD, and he has been in six different schools within six years. Once while on a class field trip, he had a very strange experience. His pre-Algebra teacher, Mrs. Dodds, turned into a winged lady and attacked him inside a museum, but thanks to his Latin teacher, Mr. Brunner, who came to his help. Percy ended up accidentally vaporizing Mrs. Dodds with a sword-transforming pen courtesy of Mr. Brunner. It became more strange when after what happened, no one from his class apparently knows or remembers Mrs. Dodds - not even his bestfriend, Grover, nor Mr. Brunner himself. Percy was almost convinced that he had just imagined Mrs. Dodds and what had happened at the museum that day, but when he overhears Mr. Brunner and Grover talking about The Kindly Ones and something that was stolen and needs to be returned by summer solstice, that's when he knew that all that had happened was indeed real. What Percy didn't expect to know following that encounter is that he is a demigod - a half-blood - a hero, and Mrs. Dodds is just the first of the many monsters he is destined to face and that the fate of an impending World War III depends on him and his quest to retrieve Zeus' lightning bolt.


I decided to take a short break from the crime/thriller genre, and add variety to my reading scope. I chose to go the fantasy route and embark on a journey with Rick Riordan's famous hero, Percy Jackson.

The Lightning Thief is the first in the five-book series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Readers who are into mythology will definitely enjoy this book. I thought my scant knowledge of Greek gods and godesses and their entangled mythical affairs would make it hard for me to follow the story, however, that was not the case. Mr. Riordan made it a point to always give descriptions and background details whenever a mythological character is presented in the story, which I found very helpful in appreciating and understanding the characters. I know that some people find mythology boring but this book has enough story in it to be far from boring. Being adolescents and young adults as main target readers of this book, the author's writing style makes this book an easy read and overall wholesome. I like the humor interjected every now and then in the story especially the chapter titles. I also like how the author depicted Greek mythology in a modern setting making it more relatable for young readers. I have to say though that I was a little disappointed when one of the key points in this book turned out to be quite predictable (at least for me). At one point in the story, Percy Jackson was told of his future by the Oracle. I believe the intention was for the oracle to be elusive and to add suspense particularly to its ending, however, I think it didn't have enough mystery component in it. It didn't take me far in the book to figure out and decipher the oracle, so the ending was kind of a little ruined for me that way. Nevertheless, I still believe it is a good book and I'd surely recommend it.

Below are a few excerpts:

"They're --- myths, to explain lightning and the seasons and stuff. They're what people believed before there was science."

"Science!" Mr. D scoffed. "And tell me, Perseus Jackson"—I flinched when he said my real name, which I never told anybody—"what will people think of your 'science' two thousand years from now?" Mr. D continued. "Hmm? They will call it primitive mumbo jumbo. That's what. Oh, I love mortals—they have absolutely no sense of perspective. They think they've come so-o-o far. And have they, Chiron? Look at this boy and tell me."

"Exactly," Chiron agreed. "If you were a god, how would you like being called a myth, an old story to explain lightning? What if I told you, Perseus Jackson, that someday people would call you a myth, just created to explain how little boys can get over losing their mothers?"

"I gained much from that wish ... and I gave up much. But I'm still here, so I can only assume I'm still needed."

"We were three adolescents hanging out at a car wash without a car; any cop worth his doughnuts would figure we were up to no good."

"The dead aren't scary. They're just sad."

"I was also barefoot, because I'd given my shoes to Grover. Better the Coast Guard wonder why one of us was barefoot than wonder why one of us had hooves."

"It's funny how humans can wrap their mind around things and fit them into their version of reality." 

"He was reading a huge book with a picture of a wizard on the front. I wasn't much into fantasy, but the book must've been good, because the guard took a while to look up."

"A steely look of anger flared in my mother's eyes, and I thought, just maybe, I was leaving her in good hands after all. Her own."

"The real world is where the monsters are. That's where you learn whether you're any good or not."

"All the heroics—being pawns of the gods. They should've been overthrown thousands of years ago, but they've hung on, thanks to us half-bloods."

"I won't go looking for trouble. I usually don't have to."

"The sea does not like to be restrained."

When I was reading The Lightning Thief, certain parts reminded me of the Harry Potter series. Even Rick Riordan made a reference to a huge book with a picture of a wizard on the front -- ehem! I know it's not fair to compare Percy Jackson with The Boy Who Lived but JK Rowling set quite a standard in terms of fantasy fiction. Ms. Rowlings' Harry Potter series pushed my imagination to a different level, and tickled and played with my senses throughout. Unfortunately, Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief failed to induce in me that kind of reading euphoria. I did enjoy The Lightning Thief, please don't get me wrong, but I honestly don't think I'll read it once again, as opposed to the Harry Potter series which I read more than twice - some of the books I read three times! Also, I remember being hardly able to wait for the next book after finishing one in the Harry Potter series. However, with Percy Jackson and the Olympians, eeehhh, not so much. Although I definitely would still love to read the rest of the books. I give Rick Riordan the credit for adding a modern twist to Greek mythology to create a story, entertaining and apt for young readers, however, overall The Lightning Thief is still lackluster when compared to Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone. With that said and JK Rowling fangirl aside, I give The Lightning Thief 3.75 stars. 

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