Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #78: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #78: The Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanThe Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on January 5, 2010
Genres: Adventure, Humor, Mythology, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted
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four-stars

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's 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's 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.

With cover art from the major motion picture, this first installment of Rick Riordan's best-selling series is a non-stop thrill-ride and a classic of mythic proportions.

Recommended by: Debby (Snuggly Oranges), because obviously

It’s kind of funny how time can change things, and in really strange ways. I read The Lightning Thief back in 2008 when I was first really getting into YA. At the time, I thought it was okay, but I wasn’t particularly charmed by the characters and got bored of it by book two. Now, though, I’m appreciating it a lot more, so I really think I tried the series at the wrong time. What I was in the mood for then, I suspect, was YA and romance. I picked up The Lightning Thief on a recommendation and there are all these 12-year-olds and it was so not what I was hoping for. On the reread, though, I was prepared for a middle grade and my expectations were way lower, so Percy Jackson soared way above them.

The best thing about liking Percy Jackson, aside from Debby not flying across the Atlantic to kill me in my sleep, is that I always felt a bit weird about the fact that Percy Jackson was one of the characters I named my cat for. Why would I name a cat for a character for whom I had no emotional attachment? But now I can honestly say I enjoy the series. Plus, I think Percy Jackson’s character is a fairly good fit for my Percy, though the cat version really hates people. No telling where he got that from.

Right, the book. I should probably stop reviewing my cat.I’m curious why younger me wasn’t more impressed with the world building. Maybe I was and I just forgot over time? Either way, now I feel the need to praise it to the skies. Riordan clearly has a lot of knowledge of how awesome Greek mythology is and plays homage to it in amazing ways while fitting it into the modern world. Tying the pantheon to the center of Western Civilization is absurdly clever. Plus, I’m all about Greek mythology. The Lightning Thief is pretty heavy on the world building and dropping knowledge, but Riordan does that primarily in hilarious and entertaining ways.

The pace of The Lightning Thief is really fast. All told, I probably read it in a few hours. Percy’s pretty much always got a goal to accomplish, even when it’s not an official quest. In every chapter, he’s up against something, even if it’s just his creepy uncle. Riordan clearly has a sense of how to keep his target audience engaged, or any audience really. He also assembles a cast of characters that’s vaguely Harry Potter-esque: Percy, who’s always been an unwanted screw-up (except by his mom who loves him dearly), Annabeth (who’s a total know-it-all genius), and Grover (who’s a disappointment to his kind and a bit of a comic relief character). There are a couple of other similarities, particularly at the start, but thankfully there’s so much unique in the world building that they didn’t overwhelm me at all. Plus, Percy doesn’t brood nearly so much, though that could come with age.

The humor does often skew slightly young, but a lot of it still amused me. It’s silly humor, but not scatological like some middle grade books (this is my line). The characters do read a bit young, but they’re intelligent and, from everything I’ve seen on the internet, are going to grow up fast. I’m looking forward to seeing them not be twelve anymore. Come on, age where I can not feel creepy about shipping things!

Percy Jackson hasn’t quite gotten me in the emotions yet, but I can see some possibility here. I love the foreshadowing of tragedy in the coming books and the fact that I KNOW Riordan is actually going to go to those places, based on the wails of many fans. The Lightning Thief is fun, but it’s also the first book. There’s lots of room for Percy to grow in age and knowledge. The Lightning Thief has occasional middle grade moments where a twist is really obvious to me and not so much to the characters. Plus, sometimes Percy didn’t know basic things about the gods, but then he’d know what a caduceus is, which was a bit uneven and distracting.

Favorite Quote:

“Percy, meet Gladiola. Gladiola, Percy.”

I stared at Annabeth, figuring she’d crack up at this practical joke they were playing on me, but she looked deadly serious.

“I’m not saying hello to a pink poodle,” I said. “Forget it.”

“Percy,” Annabeth said. “I said hello to the poodle. You say hello to the poodle.” The poodle growled.

“I said hello to the poodle.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

Debby:
gif she needs to sort out her priorities
Me:
gif how you like me now

Want to tell me what to read? Fill out the following form with a suggestion! For more details, check this post.

10 responses to “Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #78: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan”

  1. “The best thing about liking Percy Jackson, aside from Debby not flying across the Atlantic to kill me in my sleep,”

    *DIESSSSSSSSSSSSSS*

    “I should probably stop reviewing my cat.”

    *DIES AGAIN* maybe. just maybe.

    “Plus, Percy doesn’t brood nearly so much, though that could come with age.”

    Nope, Percy’s going to stay a sassy little fucker for all the books 😛 the humor is young at times, but Percy’s sarcasm GIVES ME LIFE.

    “Come on, age where I can not feel creepy about shipping things!”

    IT WILL COME PRECIOUS IT WILL COME

    OH

    MY

    GOD

    THE

    GIFS

    *dead*

    GOODBYE

    (also ily♥ we can continue to be friends now)
    Debby (Snuggly Oranges) recently posted…Book Review: Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnikMy Profile

  2. I really is very funny how our tastes or wants in reading change over time. I really enjoyed the whole Percy Jackson and the Olympian series. But I have to say that the second series, The Heroes of Olympus (but doesn’t focus solely on Percy) is amazing! And the last two books seriously affected my emotions. Especially book four. So I recommend sticking with the Percy Jackson books.

    Also, how cute is it that you named your cat Percy. I had a fish named Percy a few years ago, but not for Percy Jackson (although that would have been very appropriate with Percy being the son of the God of the Sea) but for Sir Percival Blakeney from The Scarlet Pimpernel.
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Book Haul #64My Profile

  3. Gillian says:

    “The best thing about liking Percy Jackson, aside from Debby not flying across the Atlantic to kill me in my sleep”

    BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

    “Right, the book. I should probably stop reviewing my cat.”

    MORE VERY LAUGHING STOP IT

    “Plus, Percy doesn’t brood nearly so much, though that could come with age.” Yeahhh, Percy’s not much of a brooder. Like Debby just said, he’s a sassy little fucker AND I LOVE HIMMMM

    Perfect giffery is perfect YAY FOR YOU LIKING PERCY AND SEEING THE POTENTIAL TO COMMMMME
    Gillian recently posted…Literary PSA: The Mediator series by Meg CabotMy Profile

  4. Lyn Kaye says:

    Awesome pick! It is interesting to see you appreciate it more the second time around. I often wonder if I need to go back and reread it, just to see my own reaction. This was one of the first books that steeped me back into reading.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: Rain ReignMy Profile

  5. What Debby and Gillian said: Percy’s a sassy one. And you’ll be begging for it to come back when book #5 murders your emotions and leaves you in a crying mess on the floor!

    I’ve read the books twice as well, and I liked them the second time more 🙂 Maybe it’s just a trend with the book?
    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted…Weekly Update #39 (August 10) – The Unexpected HaulMy Profile

  6. Mia Hayson says:

    Hahahaha. Your mini cat review was excellent. As was the actual review! I think you defs have to be in the mood for Percy Jackson but I adore some of the little details, and hints, and world building is fab!

    <3

  7. hahaha Continue reviewing Percy, I’m completely fine with that. <3 Gotta love the Percy.

    I read this one ages ago too and really loved it the first go around. But I also remember totally zooming through them all and can't recall a single thing about them. They're all sorta blended together in my mind. I would love to go back through it again and spend some good quality time on it.
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Something To Look Forward To – Week of August 11th, 2014My Profile

  8. YOU READ PERCY JACKSON YAY YAY YAY!!! I’m bouncing up and down in my chair right now.
    Shae/Shelver @ Shae Has Left The Room recently posted…Cover Love #67My Profile

  9. […] Christina @ A Reader of Fictions wrote an amusing review of “The Lightning Thief.” […]

  10. Debby has been staring over the internet at me when she found out I still haven’t read Percy Jackson, so now I have a copy from the library. It’s good to hear you enjoyed it, I’m still a little scared to get started. I especially like the sound from the world-building, I like mythology 🙂
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 281. Kristin Cashore – Bitterblue.My Profile

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