Monday, February 08, 2010

Review: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

How was everyone's week-end? Hope everyone had a good time, despite the possible bad weather :D

Mine was quiet, but enjoyable. I was able to read Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh and my favorite female curling team won their 3rd national title in a row! Woohoo!! Plus, I started reading a manga named Bakuman which was really interesting and enjoyable :D And I've even started cleaning my room again for the Chinese New Year :D Hopefully, it'll be done in time and I won't have to rush :P

Last month, I read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, all 5 books :) I've been meaning to write some posts about the books, but just haven't gotten around to do it. Then, this morning I realized that the movie is coming out this Friday... that's exactly 5 days. Hmmm, 5 days, 5 books... see where it's going? LOL. So let's start :)

The Lightning Thief by Rick Rioardan
published by Hyperion Books in June 2005
Percy Jackosn is about to be kicked out of boarding school... again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest. Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.
Genre: Young Adult, fantasy
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book #1

The Story: Percy is a 12 years old boy who has always felt different from others and thus, isolated. In addition, weird things keep happening to him and lately, it's getting worse. First, he gets attacked by his math teacher how then disappeared and nobody seems to remember her. Then, his new best friend, Grove, is acting very strangely...

Sensing the danger, Percy's mother decides to bring him to a summer camp that was suggested by Percy's father. While Percy and Grover make it safely to the camp, Percy's mother falls victim to a Minotaur. Finally, Percy puts two and two together and realizes that he is a half-blood, i.e. the child of a mortal and a Greek god... and he is not the only one. The summer camp welcomes all the half-bloods and train them to face dangers and monsters.

Soon after his arrival, Percy is claimed by Poseidon... which causes a big brouhaha due to the prophecy and the breach of a pack. Years ago, the Oracle announced that a catastrophe would happen once the half-blood of one of the big Three (Zeus, Poseidon and Hades) would turn 16. As a result to the prophecy, the three brothers have sworn not to have any other half-bloods. Thus Percy is somewhat feared.

Furthermore, Percy has been accused to have stolen Zeus's lightning bolt and now set out on a quest in company of Grover (who turns out to be a satyr) and Annabeth, daughter of Athena, to find out the real culprit.

My Opinion: Okay, my synopsis was perhaps not the best... but all I have to say is that I really enjoyed The Lightning Thief a lot :D Enough to make me pick up the sequel right away :) Enough to have me read the whole series in a week! :D

Basically, I enjoyed Mr Riordan's writing a lot because it was simple to read. It seems to me the simplicity of the writing style showcased the world building, as in readers were allowed to focus more on the details of the world building. The world building was also very interesting and intriguing. I really enjoyed how Mr Riordan mixed the Greek mythology into our modern world and I liked the idea of a summer camp to train half-bloods. Even the idea of 12 cabins, each representing a god or goddess and their half-bloods living in their respective cabin. Everything was just fun and very clever. Definitively an interesting world and a good start for a young adult series :D

Not only was the world building interesting, but so were the characters and the storyline. The three main characters, Percy, Annabeth and Grover, were a bit stereotypical, but not annoying so they were fun to read and follow. The best though was to see Mr Riordan's take on the gods and goddesses - their personalities, the modern spin on them and their relationships LOL.

Great world building, fun characters and best of all, a great plot. The storyline was interesting, complex and it contained enough twists to surprise the readers and keep them intrigued. In addition, I felt the storyline was not overshadowed by the world building, which is rare considering how complex it is, so Mr Riordan did a great job balancing the two.

One thing I was happy about is that the relationship between Percy and Annabeth at this point is still very platonic. I mean, they're 12! I'm not even sure they really like each other LOL.

My Grade
: B++. All in all, The Lightning Thief was a very enjoyable. The focus was where it should have been and it's a great opening to this series :D


Here are the three actors chosen play our three main characters: Logan Lerman as Percy, Alexandra Daddario as Annabeth and Brandon T. Jackson as Grover. Personally, I have never seen any of these actors' performances so I cannot really criticize the choice. They all look older, more like 16 years old instead of 12 which is more appealing to the audience, so not a bad decision. I think Logan Lerman will be able to portray Percy convincingly. I'm not sure about Annabeth... She's supposed to be blond ^_^; Okay, I'm being picky here... but you know, would it have been hard to follow the book? As for Grover, well I guess they had to be politically correct, right? Among the three, I think he was the weakest choice... simply because he doesn't look "weak" enough in my opinion. Grover is not the bravest satyr and I don't think that will come across. I don't know if people remember the satyr in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but that was closer to my idea of Grover.

So what do you think? Do you agree with the casting of Percy, Annabeth and Grover?


  1. I don't mind they aged the characters at all. Annabeth.. i don't know. She's supposed to be blonde. But we'll see how this actress does. I've seen the guy who plays Percy in 3:10 to Yuma. But I don't remember his performance. I was focused on Christian Bale and Russell Crowe. :)

    But I look forward to the movie.

  2. I have been wondering about these books, since I have seen the movie trailer. I think it's something my daughter might like. I'll have to read it to her and then take her to the movie!

  3. That's a great review Nath. This is such an enjoyable YA series. :)

    I don't know about aging the characters and how that will work if they decide to do the sequels. Also in the book they act like 12 year olds, not 16... so that would make a difference. No?

    As far as the actors themselves, I'll wait to see how they interpret the parts. :)

  4. Isabel - I think it's better to have them older, but I don't know how that is going to affect the overall series (i.e. the final prophecy).

    yeah, the fact that Annabeth is not blond annoys me :(

    I'm definitively going to see the movie, but I'm scared LOL.

    Jill - I think it's a really fun series, especially if you know your greek mythology :D You should read them to her, she'll enjoy it :D

    Hilcia - Thanks Hils :D

    True, they do act like 12 years old.. but I don't know, it's different reading about 12 years old and watching 12 years old :P However, now that you mention it though, I'm more worried about the overall series - the final prophecy.

  5. I'm reading this now... still on page 40 something maybe, much to my 10 year old's chagrin as she plowed through all five books in about a week and is dying for me to take her to see the movie this weekend. Oy! I gotta get my Percy groove on and finish this book!!!

  6. Christine - I bet she's asking you what are you waiting for to read it? :D

    The beginning is a bit slow, but it does pick up :D

    I've addicted my sister to the movie trailer, so I'm guessing I'm going to see it soon as well :D In a way though, I think the book is much better, so perhaps you better finish the book afterward?

  7. I haven't read the books, Abby did and enjoyed them. If the kids are 12 in the books I'd rather they looked and acted 12 in the movie.

    We're planning on seeing the movie after it's been out a couple of weeks.

  8. Oh, this is such a fun read! I was really disappointed to see how old they made Percy. I get the whole desire to appeal to the "teen" market, which is less likely if the hero is too young, but I love the idea of this misfit boy with ADD who is really a hero-in-training.

    Can't wait to see the movie. I love the casting of Uma Thurman as Medusa. She's great at ott roles.

    Glad you enjoyed it so much. I have book 2 on my iTunes but haven't listened to it yet. (The audiobook of #1 was really good.)

  9. Leslie - Yeah, me too. Especially if they're going to adapt all 5 books... but I can understand why they'd choose older kids.

    Renee - It is, right? :)

    Well it's all marketing right. You're not going to reach that many ppl if the main character is such a kid.

    Read the other books, Renee! They're real good :D

  10. Okay, I finished the book on Sunday morning around 10:30 am and took the girls to see the movie at 2 pm. Where do we discuss all this, nath? I have a lot to say. LOL.

    I agree with your review of this first book. I thought it was well done and appealing to it's target audience and then some. I enjoyed it very much and thought it was a quick, fun read because of the fast moving, simple plot, all the action, and lots of dialogue. Just the things to keep 10-12 year old boys and girls reading, right? And their mom's, too, apparently. ;)

    Okay, the casting of the Percy, Annabeth and Grover. I didn't mind the characters being older in the film at all. I kind of pictured them more around 14 years old like my 9th grader, anyway, so that worked for me.

    Percy. Again, no problems with his casting. I thought he portrayed the troubled, ADD, dyslexic boy who is really a demigod quite well. LOL.

    Annabeth. She shoulda been blond in the movie. The actress did okay in her role, but she really should have been blond. Did I say that? Believe me, I'm usually the first to roll my eyes over yet another type-casted blond goddess character, like there's not already one too many of those in the world, but in this case... she shoulda been blond. LOL.

    Grover. Not bad. Not really what I envisioned when I read the book... but he actually pulled through in his roll and he made it work on the screen.

    As far as all the other inconsistencies between the book and the movie... *sigh* Some were fine, but there were plenty that disappointed me, too. Yeah, a youngster reading these books and seeing the movie isn't going to care so much... but the film makers took a few too many freedoms with real greek mythology that they're teaching the wrong stuff! Ack!

  11. Christine - LOL, talk about cutting it close, right Christine? :)

    Well not just their mom's :) I think it's just appealing to everyone because it's fantasy and dealing with greek mythology so it doesn't make it too childish :)

    Yeah, while reading the book, I pictured them older too... just not 16 years old with hormones and kissing :(

    I know!! I hate the fact that Annabeth is a brunette. It's just wrong. And where was her invisible cap?!? :(

    I'm glad Grover pulled it off.

    that is so bad that the film makers didn't keep the greek mythology real, because that's one of the fun parts of this series as well :(