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.
Title: Percy Jackson and the Olympians – The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Rating: Five. Stars.
I have done some very careful consideration about this book as I am biased. The Lightning Thief is the story that inspired me to be a writer myself so it’s no wonder I think it’s amazing. However, some people may think that I am hyping it up a lot just because it’s important to me.
But that’s not the reason. It’s an incredible book that is one of the best I’ve ever read. And it all starts with the characters…
Percy (seaweed brain) Jackson: Percy is a troubled kid who can’t ever seem to catch a break. Once he discovers that he’s the son of the sea god, Poseidon, things don’t get much easier. Of course, he goes through his denial stage but once he comes to terms he becomes a true hero and not in the way most people would think. He doesn’t start his quest to get Zeus’ bolt back to prevent a war, he’s too angry at the gods to care. All he wants to do is save his mother from the Underworld.
Along the way, his intentions change and he desperately tries to help prevent the war, but it’s how he started out that you know he’s human. He has anger against his father for never being there and his love for his mother who always did everything for him. We see him feel for the people who are outcasts and even the villains because he understands them. You can’t have a good main character unless they are human. I don’t care if the main character is an unstoppable badass who always says the right thing and saves the day every time. I would love Percy’s character even if he didn’t win in the end because of who he is and what he does. Percy Jackson is a true hero and no one can ever say otherwise.
Annabeth (wise girl) Chase: Annabeth is one of the strongest characters I’ve ever seen. She ran away from home and was able to fend for herself against monsters at age seven! She then stays strong against the fact that her father sees her as a human monster magnet and wants nothing to do with her. She keeps fighting and wanting to do more to help the world and she’s only twelve. She is always there for her friends and ready to help save the day.
Grover (goat boy) Underwood: This guy is pretty hilarious. He’s a satyr who wants his searcher’s license so that he can go search for Pan, the lost god of the wild. What’s funny about his character is that he is so timid. He’s brave when they’re fighting monsters and everything, but the guy is always afraid to go into the fight. It’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with it. It shows that he does have his limits and it’s nice to see those without them being outlined for me like some authors do.
The one thing that did bother me about Grover was his environmentalism. There is nothing wrong with taking care of the environment, but every time he brings it up, he blames humans for the problem and says that they’ll never change. While I’ll admit that humans are the cause of all the pollution and problems, some of them are trying to help. So to say that no human will understand makes him ignorant and annoying.
Luke (asshole) Castellan: This guy knows how to push my buttons. It isn’t until the last chapter of the story that we discover he’s been the villain all along. He was the one who stole Zeus’s bolt and Hades’ helm of darkness and he was the one who summoned the hellhound into the camp to attack Percy. Of course, he is under the control of Kronos, the king titan, but he is still choosing to do these things and has caused a lot of people to get hurt in the process.
However, the process for creating a good villain starts with the process for a good hero: make them human. Luke talks about how he hates the gods for not caring about anything but themselves and using their children as pawns in their games. He’s had enough and this is his way of doing something about it. They’re strong negative feelings and he’s channeling them in a negative way, but feeling angry and alone is something we can all understand.
I read this book and I go on an adventure. I feel every heartbeat and every swing of Percy’s sword. It is a beautifully written story and yes, there are a few things that could’ve been done better, but they are grossly out numbered by the amount of amazing and incredible things in this story. Like the amazing character growth and the attention to detail on Greek mythology. The world building on making everything modern. Nowadays when people bring up Greek mythology, everything still seems stuck in the past, but Rick Riordan had the Olympians age along with the world so they don’t feel as out of place as they do in other stories.
This book is truly one of a kind and has inspired me to discover my calling. I can only imagine that it will still be as inspiring to other people or at least be an adventure for them to escape to when they need one.
I recommend this book to everyone. We all need a hero.