Percy Jackson doesn’t go looking for trouble, but it usually finds him. Kicked out of every school he’s ever attended, bizarre disasters seem to stalk 12-year-old Percy’s every step in The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. The final straw comes when Percy is suddenly attacked by his math teacher Mrs. Dodds, who turns out to be one of Hades’ Furies, and has to defend himself with his Mythology teacher’s pen, which fortunately morphs into a sword when uncapped. After no one at school seems to notice the attack or even remember Mrs. Dodds, Percy demands answers from his mother and she takes him to the seaside cottage where they always spend their vacations. However, they barely reach their safe haven before Percy’s best friend Grover bursts into the cottage in the middle of a raging storm frantically bleating (yes, bleating – he’s a half-goat satyr) that something menacing is coming for the dazed and confused Percy. Percy doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about, but his mother apparently does, and the odd trio make a mad dash for Camp Half-Blood with a monster on their tail. On the way, Percy learns that not only is Grover a satyr, but he personally is a demigod – half mortal, half god.
While Percy struggles to accept this startling truth, the monster catches up with them and Percy has no choice but to fight a second battle, this time without a sword. Percy miraculously manages to defeat the monster and staggers across the boundary line into Camp Half-Blood, the only safe place on earth for his kind, with Grover in tow. He soon discovers that Camp Half-Blood is populated with all kinds of creatures from the world of myth and legend – centaurs, satyrs, wood nymphs, hellhounds, and even a god. At camp, Percy learns the truth about himself and the father he’s never met, the Sea God Poseidon. However, before Percy has time to do much more than recover from his latest brush with death, fate catches up with him again – this time in the form of an ominous prophecy and a dangerous cross-country quest. The big three gods – Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades – are on the brink of war. Zeus’s incredibly powerful weapon, the master bolt, has been stolen and the prime suspect is Percy, acting in his father’s name. Along with Grover and his new demigod friend Annabeth, Percy has no choice but to set out across the country to clear his name and keep the planet from being destroyed in the fallout from the war of the gods.
Rick Riordan’s first novel in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is a fast-paced adventure, as well as a lesson in Greek mythology. Readers barely have time to catch their breath after Percy and his friends destroy one mythical monster before they’re faced with another, even more menacing than the last. The novel is wonderfully written, full of suspenseful action and hilarious quips. Anyone looking to cure their post-Potter depression will find solace within the pages of The Lightning Thief. Riordan creates a world populated with endearing and intriguing characters, as well as sadistic monsters and temperamental gods, and creatively modernizes ancient mythology – for example, the entrance to the Underworld is in Los Angeles (who would have guessed?) and the serpent-headed gorgon Medusa sells garden statues. Readers will root for Percy and his friends as they face impossible odds and risk their lives to do what heroes do best – save the world. Even though this series is written for children, readers of all ages will enjoy Riordan’s perfect blend of adventure, humor and mortal peril, and will rush to the bookstore to pick up the next book in the series, The Sea of Monsters.
This book can be purchased here.