The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1)

The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan

When it comes to YA, it's really difficult to strike that note that speaks to children and adults alike. I've found some authors who write their characters far younger than they actually are, writing overly simplistic and difficult to keep my attention. Not so with this one. While it's not up to par with HP or The Hobbit, Riordan has a way of describing things to vividly paint a picture in your mind without purple prose or bogging down the story, and this actually sounded like a young pre-teen telling the story. There's no talking down to the audience here. 

 

I did find the quest part of the story, that makes up a big chunk in the middle, to be lagging. The events were loosely tied together, but it didn't feel like there was much substance to them. Instead, it felt like what it actually is: an introduction to this world and a quick but fun lesson in Greek Mythology 101. No doubt, kids love reading about all these adventures, but I wanted a little more depth than what we were given. Once Percy reached the end of his quest, things did pick up and I was able to become fully engaged again.

 

I'm not really sure what to make of the use of ADHD here. Many of Percy's thoughts and reactions that are attributed to his ADHD seemed like perfectly normal thoughts and reactions that anybody would have. Given Percy's parentage and the things that happen around him that aren't his fault, I have to wonder if the ADHD is yet another of those "mortals explaining away the supernatural" things that we see elsewhere in the book. I do understand its use is so children with that disorder will be able to relate to Percy better and have a positive role model, since such disorders are largely ignored in media or used negatively, and for that it serves its purpose well. The use of dyslexia was better integrated and explained.

 

Overall, I enjoyed this book, though it meandered at times. I would have liked for Grover and Annabeth to have more to do, since they often felt like filler characters, but they are given their own little arcs as well. The mystery of the lightning thief was well done also. I had seen the movie when it first came out, so I was spoiled on that. If I hadn't been though, I wouldn't have been able to guess.

 

I'm eager to see where this series goes next.