My rating is 3 of 5 stars.
The Lightning Thief is an engaging story involving Percy, a confused teenage boy, who does not fit in no matter which boarding school he attends. His mother loves him dearly, but Percy and his step-dad do not get along, because “Smelly” Gabe treats him like crap. And don’t even mention his “real” father, because Percy has few memories of that stranger. Due to all this, our dark-haired and green eyed boy has attitude problems, learning problems, and family problems. Of course, Percy tries to hide all his insecurities and anger behind a tough facade and – mostly – lame jokes. But deep down, our troubled youngster is seeking for some meaning to his problematic life. Something that explains exactly who he is and why he is like this.
Almost immediately in the story, Percy stumbles upon the fact that he is not a mere mortal at all! Turns out he is a half-blood: a child born from the union of a mortal and a god. No wonder, he has felt like he did not belong in the modern world. It also explains why his “real” father has never been around, because his dad is a member of the ancient Greek pantheon.
Yes, those guys still exist, and most of them still live on Mount Olympus – which is suspended above the Empire State Building!
Yes in New York City!
Because you see, the Greek gods are not really the gods of ancient Greece at all but of western civilization itself. So as the center of the western world has shifted through the ages, the Greek gods have migrated with it through numerous countries until they found themselves centered in the good, old U.S. of A..
Once Percy discovers his godly heritage, his life is in grave danger . . . from otherworldly monsters! Thankfully, our teenage hero finds allies to help him escape his pursuers and reach sanctuary. The trip is fraught with danger, monsters and fighting. Percy comes through it all however, discovering otherworldly abilities within that he doesn’t understand and that surprises those at camp. Yeah, the safe haven Percy has been through hell to get through is Camp Half-Blood: a summer camp for the god’s kids.
At camp, Percy goes through the normal juvenile process of fitting in; some of the other half-bloods like him and some do not, i.e., there is a bully who instantly hates him. He meets ancient, powerful individuals from Greek mythology, lives in a house with the other campers, participates in camp “activities,”drinks from self-filling cups, and realizes that he might have some destiny to fulfill. His mentors even try to train him to fight with ancient weaponry. (It seems good, old-fashioned firearms do not work for the gods of western civilization or their offspring. Who knew?) Percy naturally shows uncanny abilities, is gifted with a wondrous weapon of power, finds himself on a quest that he is not prepared for but which he must undertake to save the world from certain destruction, and finally finds the true friends who understand his teenage pain.
Even though I do not read many Young Adult novels, The Lightning Thief made me want to try more; it was just good old fashioned fun. The Olympian mythology kept things interesting, the writing was fast-paced and enjoyable, the characters were fun, and Percy – though dense at times – was an interesting protagonist. So for all those reasons, give this one a try.
Oh, did I mention that I read this as a bedtime story to my kids?
I didn’t. Well, I read it to them every nite for a couple months. They loved it. I did to, because it put them to sleep within 10 minutes tops. And that, my friend, made this book a dad’s best friend!