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Book Review: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

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I held off buying The Lightning Thief for a couple of years. The market seems glutted with Young Adult fantasy at the moment, and I read quite a bit of it with my nine-year-old. We’ve discovered several good series, but The Lightning Thief seemed too long to hold his attention when it first came out.

This year we noticed it in the book fair at school, then saw that it was an Accelerated Reader book. So I picked it up and read a couple chapters to try it out. I was 50 pages into it when I realized I needed to be reading this to my son.

I did read it to him. We flew through the book (375 pages!) in six days because he kept pestering me to read it to him. We finished it up in a five-hour marathon yesterday, hanging onto every page as Percy and his friends tried to save the world and put things to rights in their own lives.

The Lightning Thief is a great book for adults and kids. I’ve already recommended it to a couple of adult friends who experienced the same kind of can’t-put-it-down pull that I did.

Percy Jackson, the hero of the book, comes across as every kid you’d ever meet or ever would. He’s no brainiac (he has dyslexia and ADHD) but he has friends who are. But he is courageous and clever, stubborn and loyal. He is the best he can be, and he’s getting even better.

Riordan works in many of the Greek myths in the novel. There was a time when knowing Greek mythology was a pre-requisite for having a “classical” education. Many morals and philosophies are presented in the tales.

From the very beginning of the novel, we find out Percy is different when he ends up fighting a harpy in the museum while on a school trip. He’s been kicked out of six schools in six years, lives with his mom and step-dad, Smelly Gabe, an evil guy who deliberately makes Percy’s life hard.

Then, when he’s on a well-deserved vacation with his mom, he finds out he’s a Half-Blood, the son of one of the Greek gods. But his mom doesn’t know who his dad was and that’s just one of the mysteries Percy ends up solving.

The cool part of the book is peeling away all the mysteries of Percy’s life and who really took Zeus’s magic thunderbolt. Along the way he gains powers that set my son’s head to spinning with hope and delight. Percy’s a superhero without the costume, and there are plenty of villains in his world.

Riordan is a teacher who obviously loves kids as well as the subject matter. The Greek gods were a cantankerous lot, and Riordan delivers them well. Not only does he give his readers the stories, but he also brings the gods on stage and gives them personalities.

The series is scheduled to run for five books. I think it will go on longer. I hope so. I’ve already ordered books two and three, and my son and I are looking forward to them. The books take a while to read out loud to younger readers, but the effort is well rewarded. The story is rich and deep, and will keep your child’s attention. In addition, you’d be surprised how much you can talk about even when you’re not reading. And your child may just want to wander around the internet learning more interesting facts about Greek mythology.

The Lightning Thief is well worth reading and is probably in most public and school libraries.

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About Mel Odom

  • Mikaela

    I love this bbboookkkk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

  • Mikaela


  • Anastatia

    hello i just finished the hunger games and it is one of the best books if you like action then read this it a total a total page turner or a pcliff hager love ya suzzane!!!

  • Anastatia

    Hello there i just finished the hunger games and it sucks!

  • Leah

    Hi I’m leah and i just finished the Percy Jackson series i highly recomend this book for anyone who likes a cliff hanger or a book that makes you want to continue reading when i finished the first book i almost went back to the begining to reread it no joke! So if your looking for a good book i’d recomend the Lightning Theif series. Thanks!!

  • Paige

    I’ve read this book atleast 3 times i lovvvvveeeee this series!

  • Caroline

    This is honestly one of the best books i’ve ever read i recomed this to anyone who needs a great book!

  • Lin-z

    this is seriously the best book/series ever!

  • keaton

    i have the book it is so good and now im doing a book recamendation on it for school its so good. everybody should read it.

  • annabeth

    best book ever!!!!!!!!!!! ok every1 who sees this comment, give it a rating 1-10
    (10 is highest)
    i rate it a 9 because its a bit to short

  • Aaron

    I’m reading the first book right now, it’s amazing. I’m at the part where they got out og the Lotus Hotel and killed the water bed guy, what was his name… oh yeah “the stretcher” or “crusty”

  • ji le

    this buk is awsome ull totally think this is awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • michaela

    AwEsOmE bOoK!!!

  • Stanislav

    I first saw this book in a book store but I decided not to buy it. Then I saw it in a book order and bought it. I tried to read it every chance I got. Now I have to do a report on it!!!!!!!!!!!
    I think EVERYONE should read this.

  • alan

    wow, what can I say about it….? i love it!

  • Sam

    i love this series right now i am starting the third book and i started reading the series only 6 days ago! i finished the 2nd yesterday and now i am going to do a book report on it it is so good!!!! everyone should read it…it.is.very.good.

  • eric

    can any 1 give me a summary on book #1

  • matt

    im reading it right now and its amazing!!!!!

  • littlelion66

    i hope rick riordon comes out with a 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th it will take a wile but it will be great

  • pampered1

    I LOVED THE BOOK! I read it once and then read it again! This book is fantastic i hope rick riordan makes a fifth one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ggrrrrrrrrrr


  • batman

    where the fuck is book 4

  • stefanie

    best book in whole wide world couldnt believe it!



  • erica

    i finished this book in a day! all throughout school i was reading it, the bus, home and then another 5 hours! its deffinatly one of my favorite books!

  • This book is so awsome im doing a report on it

  • melody

    I love this book! At first I thought it was a boring book but when you finish reading it is so awsome. I loved the other two books and I think there is one missing and please I would love it if it czme in my hands

  • Eston

    so far i have been reading this book and it is so good i at the part where he just fell in the hole near the weird dog that turned into a fire breathing thingy.i have been reading this book for weeks now and i love it!! i like grover. hes funny and he likes to eat tin cans. soo i
    guess this is what i want to say so well u should read it if u havnt. peace

  • I loved this book and I would recomend it to readers worldwide. “The Lightning Thief” is such an inspiring book and it made me jump with excitment every time Percy took a step.

  • This article has been selected for syndication to Advance.net , which is affiliated with newspapers around the United States, and to Boston.com. Nice work!

  • Well now I will have to read it! I’ve seen this series all over the net, it seems like everywhere I go they are saying wonderful things about these books. Thanks for the review Mel! Looking forward to reading it. 🙂