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Book Cover Image: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Title:  The Lightning Thief

Author:  Rick Riordan

No. of Pages:  375

First Published:  2005

Synopsis (Courtesy of B&N):  “Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school . . . again. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t seem to stay out of trouble. But can he really be expected to stand by and watch while a bully picks on his scrawny best friend? Or not defend himself against his pre-algebra teacher when she turns into a monster and tries to kill him? Of course, no one believes Percy about the monster incident; he’s not even sure he believes himself.

Until the Minotaur chases him to summer camp.

Suddenly, mythical creatures seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. The gods of Mount Olympus, he’s coming to realize, are very much alive in the twenty-first century. 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 has just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property, and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. On a daring road trip from their summer camp in New York to the gates of the Underworld in Los Angeles, Percy and his friends–one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena–will face a host of enemies determined to stop them. 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 failure and betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.”

Comments and Critique:  I LOVE mythology, and this book just fed that love even more.  This was such a fun read to see those myths brought to life.  My only concern is that this book becomes very difficult to follow if a reader does not already understand the myths mentioned throughout the book.  I picked up the book to pass along to my son once I was finished, and I must say that I am quite surprised that this is a kid’s book.  Mythology is not necessarily a subject taught to the target audience, and there are so many of the myths that are mentioned in passing without full explanations that I feel a reader who is unfamiliar with the stories would miss out on the danger, the explanations, and the subtext interwoven throughout the plot.

However, that did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying the book.  It has action, adventure, and history rolled into one story.  The writing is engaging and not overly simplistic.  While there is quite a bit of detail, it is not as vivid as I might have wished.  I felt the message behind Percy’s quest, of being true to yourself and to your friends and ultimately to have faith, is an important one to learn at a young age. 

I absolutely cannot wait to read more of the series, but I am uncertain just what my son will think of it.  Will the myths be over his head?  Will he grasp the context?  It will be interesting to watch his reaction once he gets around to reading it.  For myself, I will be hard-pressed not to pick up the rest of the series immediately, but I may be biased with that whole love of mythology thing. 

Has anyone else read the book?  What did you think?  Have you seen the movie yet?  Worth going to see or waiting until it is released on DVD? 

Image: Signature Block

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