Wednesday 20 August 2014

Book Review - The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1
Genres: Mythology, Urban Fantasy | Childrens
Release Date: 4th May 2006
Publishers: Disney-Hyperion
No. Pages: 375
Source: Borrowed
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school.. again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus' master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus' stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

Reading and reviewing The Lightning Thief might be one of the most difficult books I've had to do it for, not because I did or didn't enjoy it, but because I actually watched the film 3 years before I read the novel and fell in love with it. I ran the risk of losing some of that love for the film when I read this book; the changes involved, and trust me, there were many, the characters being different and the romance and how it would be executed, but I promised myself it would be okay. I was right. The Lightning Thief was an okay, entertaining read, but I would not invite it to my 21st Birthday Party, that's for sure.

I very rarely start with the negatives in a review, but there is only one real big issue I had with this book, and I feel if I get that out of the way, I can sing the praises of Riordan's writing, plot, pace and skill. The biggest problem I had with The Lightning Thief was the characters. Now chill out, don't eat me alive, it's not my fault, I just couldn't connect to any of the characters at all, whatsoever. No empathy, no sympathy, no care, no interest and no love. Nothing. Zilch. Nil Pios. I tried extremely hard to feel anything, any sort of connection or sense of relatiblity, but nothing happened, it all passed me by, over my head, didn't even breeze across me, and I confess, I was really disappointed. I did understand that there's books were predominantly children's books, but I had hoped that I would like more about Percy than just his sarcasm and snark, more than just Annabeth's skills and obsession over quests, and more than Grover's overall personality, which I confess, was possibly the best part of these characters. It was just a huge shame, because out of everything, it's the one thing that really effects my rating as dramatically as it does.

Now to the juicy compliments. Riordan sure does have some talent in him; the create a plot so vast and still make it feel in reach at all time, to create so many different creatures, talents, skills and scenes and still make them feel real and tangible is a talent not many authors have. Each scene was built well, and while the actual world building wasn't too strong, the scenes were simple enough for me to mentally add my own designs and scenes to his. His execution of Camp Half-Blood, the different housing situations for the different children of the gods, the areas and training grounds and the overall feel of safety and security within the camp was done brilliantly and I enjoyed these features hugely. While I also struggled with the pacing of The Lightning Thief throughout; there were some areas were I wondered what the point of the scene was, and the first third of the book was bland, lacked excitement and enthusiasm was far from me at that point, I did enjoy the overall plot, the creatures that were brought to live by Riordan and how the battles and fights were pulled off cleanly, but also realistically, with drama, tension and built of anger and rage. Riordan's writing is clean and precise, has a sense of rhythm and gentle pacing, enough to help you flow from one scene to another, but it also didn't feel too young for me, unlike that of the characters, which I highly appreciated, especially considering I'm not much of a child anymore.

There were other features I enjoyed; the character development of Percy, Annabeth and Grover and finding out more about each of their history, especially that concerning Annabeth and Grover, the fact that Riordan didn't hold back on some of the darker scenes such as within the Underworld and the waterbed shop and the fact that it was very easy to get lost in the writing and plot that I would actually forget to take notes, but in the end, I was effected by how easily Percy took hold of the information about being a demi-god and possessing the powers that he has, the fact that I couldn't feel much at all towards the characters and the fact that, personally, I watched the film first and couldn't come to terms with how much was different in comparison, however, I will delve into those feelings and those differences more in my film review of The Lightning Thief. Overall, The Lightning Thief was an enjoyable, entertaining read and would be extremely likable for all ages, just for me, it didn't live up to the love it has in the fandom.


  1. My sister got me started on this series. I ended up reading all of them and I really did enjoy them. But at the same time, I think if I read them now I wouldn't enjoy them as much, because to me they're more of a Middle Grade series. I would probably still think they're decent, though, like you. Although you're right, it's more plot-based than character, and I can't remember feeling much for the characters either.

    1. I've now read them all and it was worth it, I agree. The characters really did let me down in this novel, it's difficult to put yourself into the mind of someone much young than you, they were around my little brothers age, it was strange..

  2. HA. Everyone loves this series and I STILL haven't jumped onto the bandwagon. I may want to just to own the pretty books (because they are pretty) but I still don't feel an inkling of interest. It's not that I am afraid I won't connect because the characters are too young; I've had no problems with the MGs I've read recently, but.. if you couldn't connect to the characters at all, that's a little worrisome because who wants to read a whole book where you cannot muster up any feelings for any of the characters. *shudders*

    I am sorry this one didn't live up to your expectations, Amanda! Perhaps if you continue on with the series it'll get better for you :)

    Lovely review!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

    1. They are really pretty. I confess, not the copies I read, but I'd love them on my shelf! I did actually continue and Sea of Monsters wowed me so much, keep a look out next week and see if your feelings change with that review? I do think it's a series worth reading, so we'll see. Thank you Rashika! :)

  3. Strangely enough, the movie was what made me want to read the books as well because I just had to know more about the amazing Greek gods world and camp half blood! I think throughout the series, you will grow to love the characters based on their interactions and what they do, and some of them do grow as characters (especially Annabeth). Grover is such an awesome character though, I think he would be a lot of people's favourites. Lovely review hun, I hope you'll continue with the series.

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only person, I feel so left out with how I got with this series, but I agree, things do improve, I can't wait for the reviews of the sequels to go out! Percabeth, I am a fan ;)

  4. It is hard to connect with everyone in the first book. Riordan is getting his mythology out of the way. There are much better characters coming up in the series.

    1. I can so see that, I really can, the characters really do improve later down the line! :)

  5. I kept thinking I hadn't read this, but my Goodreads would argue that I have. Apparently read it a few years ago and only gave it 2 stars. I think that was because I found it too childish and had a lot of similarities to HP that bugged me at the time. I think this is a series that I might have to push to read the next few books because that will probably be when you really start to enjoy them.


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