Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan (4/5 stars)

This is the first book in the series by Rick Riordan about Percy and the Olympians. I've been wanting to read this series for quite a while and finally got around to it. I listened to this on audio book and the audio book production was very good; I have no complaints about that at all! The content of the book itself was also very enjoyable.

This book follows Percy who has been labeled as a juvenile delinquent because of his ability to always get into trouble and his learning disabilities (dyslexia and ADD). Percy quickly finds out that there is a reason for his problems. Percy is actually a half-blood; his father is a god. More shockingly his father is one of the three main Greek gods that promised never to sire another child. Percy is framed for stealing Zeus's lightening bolt and must find the bolt to prove that he is innocent. Percy gets assistance from a couple of unlikley sources; his best friend Grover (whom he finds out is a satyr) and another half-blood named Annabeth who is a daughter of Athena. The would be heroes encounter many familar foes along their travels; among them Medusa, Cerberus and Ares.

I surprisingly really liked this book. I liked the incorporation of Greek mythology (which I've always really enjoyed) into a young adult fantasy novel. The book had a little of a Harry Potter tone to it with Percy being sent off to camp half-blood. This book is more tongue-in-cheek and uses a lot of slang and modern language and this makes it much different from Harry Potter. I also found myself drawing comparisons between this book and Abarat. Percy lives in a similar home situation to what Candy Quakenbush did. I always felt bad for Candy's mom being married to such a horrible man and kind of angry at Candy's mom for not changing her situation. I liked Percy's mom a million times better because she had a reason for living with her idiot husband and once his usefulness was done she...took care of him.

It was a quick, fun listen. I didn't necessarily like Percy as a character a whole lot but his character worked well for the book and the situation he was in. It is a creative book and an interesting book. My only complaints would be the quality of the writing. It's definitely written in a very off-hand style, most likely to appeal to the young reader age group. Sometimes the slang and frequent fits of self-pity Percy went through got kind of distracting and annoying. These are minor quips though; all-in-all it was a very good book and I am already listening to the next one.

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