Book Review: The Lightning Thief

Greek mythology has never been this fun! As soon as you glance at the table of contents for The Lightning Thief, by Rick Roirdan, you know that you are in for a wild ride. With chapter titles like “I accidentally Vaporize My Pre-algebra Teacher” and “Three Old Ladies Knit the Socks of Death,” how can this book be anything but good? And indeed, The Lightning Thief is one of the most original and entertaining books that I’ve read in a long time.

Percy Jackson has been kicked out of one school after another. With ADHD and dyslexia, Percy is not a great student, and always seems to get into trouble. But when a teacher transforms into a monster during a field trip and attacks Percy, strange things start happening. Percy soon discovers that he is a demi-god: half god, half human. The Greek Gods are alive and well and living above the Empire State Building in New York. Percy’s mother is human and his father is one of the Olympians. Chased by monsters, and accompanied by his friend Grover, a satyr, Percy ends up at Camp Half-Blood, a haven and training ground for the demi-gods.

But Percy’s adventures are far from over. For someone has stolen Zeus’ master lightning bolt, and Percy is a prime suspect. Accompanied by Grover and a daughter of Athena named Annabeth, Percy sets off to find the lightning bolt. If he doesn’t find and return it within ten days, war could break out on Mount Olympus, and when the gods fight, the consequences could be devastating.

I’ve heard so much about this book, and I’m glad I finally got a chance to read it. The Greek gods updated and modernized are quite amusing, and the story has plenty of action and excitement. Greek mythology is always a popular topic with kids, and anyone with an interest in Greek mythology will enjoy identifying characters and scenes from mythology transformed into the modern world. Kids who have problems with ADHD and/or dyslexia will be inspired to learn that those characteristics are common among demi-gods, although Percy warns on the first page to “stop reading immediately” if you think you might be a demi-god because it’s a difficult and dangerous life.

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