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Five-Minute Book Club: Percy Jackson/The Lightning Thief

March 4, 2010

This month, we took a look at the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series: The Lightning Thief. 

Publisher Blurb:

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse — Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon, a mystery unfolds and together with his friends — one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena — Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

What we thought.

Krista –

I was actually turned on to Percy Jackson by my agent who knew the book editor and book acquirer. So, I picked up the first book not necessarily as pumped as I could be because I’m not a big mythology fan. However, I was pleasantly suprised from the start, and I even picked up the next three books when I was halfway finished with the first one. One aspect I liked was on the outside, Percy is sometimes a screw up. He has dyslexia and ADHD, which gets him kicked out of schools. However, these handicaps are actually gifts when it comes to his place as a demigod. I also liked the fact it’s a male narrated, 1st person POV, which I myself have written, and I love Percy’s voice. He’s your tytpical preteen trying to deal with everything that’s thrust upon him. I think Riordan does a cool thing with the whole “gods can have relationships with their mortal children”. This sets a dynamic that a lot of teens experience with distant parents or feeling like their parents don’t understand them. It brings a realism to the fantastical that I really like.

As a Harry Potter fan, I did see some similarities like with Grover, Annabeth, Percy friendship like Harry, Ron, and Hermoine. You have where Annabeth is often smarter and a better fighter than Percy, which is like Harry Potter as well. Then there’s the being educated at Camp Half-Blood, which you could draw comparisons to Hogwards, along with Chiron is like Dumbledore. But I think that only added to my enjoyment since I enjoyed the Harry Potter series so much.

Honestly, the series for me has only gotten better. I think the third book is probably my favorite so far. I’m currently reading the 4th, and I went to see the movie on Friday, which I really enjoyed.

I would highly recommend Percy Jackson to anyone looking for a good series to read.

Jenn-

The Lightning Thief was a pleasant surprise that I couldn’t put down.  I loved the mythology and how it fit into present-day life.  It was fast-paced, engaging and an enjoyable read.  The dialogue was genuine and made me laugh out loud.  My ten-year-old daughter says that it is the best thing she has ever read, and she reads a lot.  I can see why it is such a big hit for the pre-teen aged kids – they can see themselves in the characters.

Holen –

I picked up the Percy Jackson series a couple years ago because I’ll read pretty much anything to do with mythology.  Though it’s more of a MG book (the movie aged the characters) it’s got plenty of action, and Krista’s comments comparing it to Harry Potter are pretty spot on.  As with Harry Potter, later books age with their audience.

For me, one of my biggest enjoyments was seeing how various characters translated into modern-day, from Ares clad in biker leather to Grover’s satyr legs being hidden underneath baggy jeans and crutches.

Additionally, the characters are very relateable.  Percy has a protect-the-weak instinct that makes him a perfect hero, and more sympathetic, because it’s clear from the beginning of the book that he does this because he knows what it’s like to be picked on and pushed around.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this, especially if you like mythology.  Every new reference to something mythic made me smile and brought with it it’s own foreshadowing.

****So tell us, what did you think of it?

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4 comments

  1. I really enjoyed the whole series (altho the movie made me sad..it just seemed to lose a lot in translation..). The Lightning Thief is a quick easy MG read but full of comedy and mythology references which really sucked me in. I couldn’t read it in public places because I would literally bust out laughing and people would look at me like I was crazy!
    I really enjoyed the voice and was excited to finish the series. It didn’t disappoint.
    I agree there were a lot of Potter-like similarities, but it’s different enough that you won’t feel like you’re reading the same characters in another setting.
    I also loved how the different mythological creatures pop up throughout the book(s). Keeps one on their toes!
    Good stuff! I recommended it to several friends and only one wasn’t a fan.


  2. I agree, I liked it once I got passed the Harry Potter parallels. 🙂

    The fifth one actually just came in the mail today and I’m about to start reading it when I can actually get little man to take a nap.


  3. I still haven’t finished the first book.
    Its been months.
    I fail.

    I love this though!


  4. I loved the entire series. The Last Olympian was by far my favorite. It. Was. Awesome.



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