Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson is your typical pre-teen misfit: awkward, isolated, and relatively angst-filled. He's just been kicked out of  school. He doesn't get along with his stepfather. He's got mild dyslexia and ADHD. And occasionally, he gets picked on by bullies. But there are good things in his life too: his mom; his friend, Grover; and his Latin teacher, Mr. Brunner. It's learning about Greek mythology that Percy likes best. Unfortunately, things get a little too real when his math teacher transforms into a Fury and tries to kill him. Thus begins Percy's introduction into the world of Camp Half-blood, a summer camp for the children of gods.

I had previously been introduced to Camp Half-blood when I read The Lost Hero, and I found the two books similar in tone and pace. The action in The Lightning Thief never really stops, which made it difficult to put down. In fact, I may have finished the book in a single day. It was a couple of weeks ago, so now I can't remember. Anyway, it was entertaining.

But, I must add a caveat: entertaining it is, high literature it is not. When I started writing this post, I couldn't put my finger on what exactly I found lacking in this book. I knew it had to do with the characterization, but what was it? I considered the fact that it's written in first person, so that the reader doesn't get the same level of intimacy with secondary characters as in The Lost Hero. But now, I see that it's because the three main characters--Percy, Annabeth, and Grover--are cliche. Percy is troubled, but has a heart of gold. Grover is trying to overcome his past failures. And Annabeth is the kind of strong-willed female that teenage girls are supposed to idolize.

After reading the first book of each of Rick Riordan's Greek series, I can see the formula: likeable, heroic male protagonist + attractive, female love interest + goofy, male side-kick = $$$.

That being said, I plan on reading both series. Where else am I going to get my Greek mythology fix?

But please, Riordan, give us a book where the girl is the hero / kills the big baddie / saves the world. We're getting tired of being the stregth behind the man / the prize / super-helpful and appreciated teammates.

Copy source: library
Genre: young adult fantasy
Format: hardcopy

View my suggested books by Rick Riordan

1 comment:

  1. I would love to read The Lightening Thief; the synopsis is so interesting and the protagonist is just how I like to read about in books.

    A new follower!

    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile