Review: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Title: The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson & The Olympians # 1
Pub. Year: 2005
Purchase: Amazon / B & N
Blurb from Amazon:
After getting expelled from yet another school for yet another clash with mythological monsters only he can see, twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is taken to Camp Half-Blood, where he finally learns the truth about his unique abilities: He is a demigod, half human, half immortal. Even more stunning: His father is the Greek god Poseidon, ruler of the sea, making Percy one of the most powerful demigods alive. There’s little time to process this news. All too soon, a cryptic prophecy from the Oracle sends Percy on his first quest, a mission to the Underworld to prevent a war among the gods of Olympus.
What I will remember: Complex conspiracy in book vs. Better quest in film
I love mythology, especially Greek, so I don’t understand why it took me such a long time to pick up this book especially after enjoying the film. It was quite an enjoyable read. I’m not sure if I like the film more or the book though.
Riordan had a great variety of Greek mythological creatures infused into the storyline such as Medusa, the Minotaur, furies, satyrs, demi-gods, and so on. Medusa going after Annabeth because she is the daughter of Athena. Hephaestus trying to catch Ares and Aphrodite in the act again. Multiples myths that explain the relationship between the gods and the monsters were laid out through the book. I believe the foundations of the myths were correct so when you a spider, think of Ariadne.
Let’s talk characters. Percy is the protagonist of the book. He was all right and like most protagonist, everything comes easy to him but he didn’t really let that go to his head. He was still insecure of his abilities and try his best to do the right thing. Annabeth, the daughter of Athena, was bookworm smart and she tries very hard to not let the rivalry between her mother and Percy’s father Poseidon, get in the way of her friendship with Percy. Grover, the satyr, was a good friend, a bit awkward and funny. The Greek gods appear to be true to their nature such as Ares looking for fights when he can.
I love the descriptions of the Underworld and Hades. Sure, Hades was made to look like the villain throughout the book but when Percy sees Hades for the first time, he is the only Greek god that struck him as “godlike.” He has this personality that demands respect and Percy felt that. I didn’t like that he was compare to a terrorist leader but to each his own. I’m really glad that he wasn’t portrayed as such an evil being considering he is not evil. It showed through his concern over how over packed his domain is becoming and the problems that he is facing. He was very human. I like that. Cerberus is such a lovely puppy as well.
I’m really glad that Persephone was not mentioned in the book, other than her Garden. I hated how Persephone and Hades were portrayed in the film. Seriously, the rocker look did not fit them. I pictured them more as having Gothic elements in their life, it’s much more classic for the Underworld couple.
There are certain parts where the movie was much better. The fighting sequences of the film were more intense than in the book. I prefer the quest of gathering the stones instead of the stones just being given to Percy (once again, illustrating how things come easy to him) and the ending of the film was something I enjoyed more than the ending of the book. Everything was unraveled in New York and we knew who stole the master bolt. The conspiracy in the film wasn’t as in-depth as the conspiracy in the book; the conspiracy is much more complex and there are darker forces at work that were never mentioned in the film. I like the complexity of the book ending but I like the intense fighting at the end of the film as well. This probably wouldn’t have been a problem if I had not see the movie first.
The Lightning Thief is getting 5 Black Butterflies because it is using the Greek mythology properly, it was a very entertaining read, portrayed Hades and his domain in a realistic way. More importantly, I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series.
8th book in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: YA Mythology, 1st in a Series, Cupcake War, Where are you reading?-New York