Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians The Lightning Thief

 This review is heavily spoiled so if you haven't read the book and don't want to be spoiled, do not read ahead!

Rick Riordan is a good storyteller.  I love the world he created with Camp Half-Blood, the demigods (or godlings), and the gods themselves.  The whole mythology thing has been modernized.  The gods are gods, but they're human, if you will.  They act human.  Ares is a punk on a motorcycle.  The gods have relationships with each other and with mortals.

Olympus moves with the western world and now it's located in New York City.  Greece is not the center of the western world anymore.  Britain was at one point and the gods lived there.  But, now, it's America, and so the gods have moved here.

I love how Hades is portrayed.  He's not an evil guy feasting on the dead.  He lives in the underworld, but he misses being in the real world.  He gets to visit for the winter solstice or something like that, but of course, that's not enough.  The premise of the story is that Zeus's lightning bolt is missing and blames Poseidon, but Percy and everyone else involved believes Hades has it to start a war.  Hades admits he doesn't need wars to bring dead people to his world.  He's overcrowded with dead people.  They come in all the time.  He doesn't have to do anything to get them.  I love that he's not this manic god who loves dead people.  He is where he is and does what he does, but he's not obsessed to the gills with it.

There were a few things I didn't like.  Answers for certain events appeared too easy.  Percy's fight with Crusty is one of these.  Towards the end of the book Percy, Annabeth, and Grover are enchanted by Crusty's Water Bed Palace.  Crusty is a god named Procrustes.  He sells water beds exactly six feet in length.  If you are not tall enough or too tall he will make you fit, by stretching or cutting off limbs.  Percy's solution seemed way too simple, way too perfect.  It should have taken more time for him to come up with a plan.  It seemed he didn't have to think about it.  It just came to him.

The story is more plot driven than character driven. It works for the story.  All we need to know about Percy Jackson is he's a 12 year old kid with ADHD and dyslexia who gets kicked out of private schools every year.  This is because he's the son of a god.  The gods ability to fight in wars is what gives their children ADHD.  The dyslexia is brought on because the kids are designed to read Ancient Greek.  Percy finds that when he sees Greek for the first time he automatically understands it and can it read  better than he can English.

I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to start on book 2.  I give the book 4/5 stars.

I read the book for pure pleasure.

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