The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan


Urban FantasyTween

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) The Lightning ThiefRick Riordan; Miramax 2006WorldCatPercy Jackson has had a lot of trouble during his life. He’s in 6th grade, and in his 6th private school. He is dyslexic and has ADHD. He is considered a problem child. His stepfather hates him. His mother is the best person in the whole world. But she keeps returning him to private schools despite their tight money problems. This year Percy has a good friend, Grover. Grover is picked on in the class and Percy keeps defending him.

But 6th grade is worse than normal. The math teacher hates him. Fortunately his history teacher likes him and expects him to do his best. But after making the math teacher disappear, Percy is not welcome to return to that school. So his mother takes him to Half-Blood Camp for the summer. Grover joins them. Before they arrive, a minotaur kills his mother. Inside the camp, he discovers Grover is a satyr sent to protect him. And he? Percy discovers he’s the son of a powerful Olympian god.

Now he has less than a month to find Zeus’ lightning bolt sceptre and prevent a world war between the major gods. He has to get from New York to Los Angeles. Along the way he, Grover, and their friend Annabeth, have to fight monsters – the Furies, Medusa, Aries the War God, and more. He needs to travel to the Underwold to retrieve the scepter.

Sure, The Lightning Thief has the same premise as the Harry Potter stories – the troubled boy discovering he has magic powers and really is different. But after that, The Lightning Thief stands well on its own. Percy tells the story so the reader knows he survives – well except when he says he has made a “fatal” mistake. He is a fun hero who finds himself in strange trouble each time he goes out on his own.

Rick Riordan keeps the Greek mythology alive for children in this novel. The old wars between the gods are the key to this story. The mythical monsters feel real and scary.

Usually I enjoy listening to books, but I think I should have read this one on paper. The audio reader read characters’ lines differently than I would have. It would be a good book to read aloud to a child or let the older child read on his or her own. I was quickly caught in the story and stayed with it. We all want to be special – The Lightning Thief reminds us you just never know…

More books by Rick Riordan

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