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The Lightning Thief (2006)

The Lightning Thief (2006)
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Rating
4.2 of 5 Votes: 5
ISBN
0786838655 (ISBN13: 9780786838653)
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English
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publisher
disney hyperion books
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The Lightning Thief (2006)
The Lightning Thief (2006)

About book: Chiron looked surprised. “I thought that would be obvious enough. The entrance to the Underworld is in Los Angeles.”As someone who has worked in Los Angeles, I can tell you that this is completely accurate.While Harry Potter was spending his summers at the Dursleys, Percy Jackson attended Camp Half-Blood. This book has done the impossible: it has redeemed the name of Percy.Yes, that's right, that snot-faced, lily-livered waste of air of the very same name from the Harry Potter universe. That name is now relegated to the ranks of "acceptable," because of my love for this book.Perseus (Percy) Jackson is the kind of kid with whom you can't help sympathizing. He is the type that's born under a dark star, because inevitably, wherever he goes, whatever he does, however good his intentions, he can't help but fuck everything up. Everything that can, does and will go wrong. A simple field trip can turn into a disaster in seconds.Jay-Z's got 99 problems, Percy might have more. He nearly flunks all his classes, he's got dyslexia, he's got ADHD, and then there's Nancy Bobofit. Nancy Bobofit appeared in front of me with her ugly friends—I guess she’d gotten tired of stealing from the tourists—and dumped her half-eaten lunch in Grover’s lap.“Oops.” She grinned at me with her crooked teeth. Her freckles were orange, as if somebody had spray-painted her face with liquid Cheetos.Nancy Bobofit is not a major character in the book. I have to mention her because her character resounded with me. I had my own Nancy Bobofit back in grade school, only her name is Mimi. Nearly 2 decades later, the memory of her horrible face still makes me shudder. But I digress.As if the bullies aren't bad enough, his dad is a no-show, his stepfather is LITERALLY named Ugli, and there are crones foretelling Percy's death as well as a minotaur chasing his ass around. AND NOBODY'S TELLING HIM A SINGLE FUCKING THING. What's with all the secrecy, man?As it turned out, Percy is *whispers* special. He is a half-blood, meaning one of his parents is a Greek deity. He gets sent to Camp Half-Blood, with roughly 100 other kids like him.It's a freaky place for a kid who's known nothing but relative normalcy his entire life. All of a sudden, he's playing Pinochle with a Greek God (Dionysus---what a drunk), his best friend Grover turns out to be a satyr, and the gorgeous blond girl who rescues him thinks he's a doofus and she keeps calling him "seaweed brain."To be fair, Percy had it coming. He is kind of a seaweed brain. "Another time, Athena and Poseidon competed to be the patron god for the city of Athens. Your dad created some stupid saltwater spring for his gift. My mom created the olive tree. The people saw that her gift was better, so they named the city after her.”“They must really like olives.”“Oh, forget it.”“Now, if she’d invented pizza—that I could understand.”“I said, forget it!”Not your best moment, Percy.As it turned out, Percy IS special. His dad is one of the Big Three gods. Which kind of sucks, because that's not supposed to happen. “About sixty years ago, after World War II, the Big Three agreed they wouldn’t sire any more heroes. Their children were just too powerful."A lot of people would think it was pretty cool to have such a powerful dad...not really. Now that I was declared a son of one of the Big Three gods who weren’t supposed to have kids, I figured it was a crime for me just to be alive.Not only does Percy have to struggle to fit in at Camp Half-Blood, but there's some shit going on in Mount Olympus. The gods are fighting again (when are they not)... "During the winter solstice, at the last council of the gods, Zeus and Poseidon had an argument. The usual nonsense: ‘Mother Rhea always liked you best,’ ‘Air disasters are more spectacular than sea disasters,’ et cetera."...and consequently, like a brother playing a prank on his younger siblings, someone's stuff was stolen. And Zeus thinks that his bro, Poseidon, put Percy up to it.Of course, blame the poor kid. Now Percy is shit out of luck YET AGAIN, and he's got no choice but to go on this huge stupid quest into the underworld (Los Angeles, ha!) to clear his name.He's not alone, he's accompanied by the snarky, gorgeous, fiercely competent Annabeth (she of the seaweed brain name-calling), as well as the most incompetent satyr that ever lived. In his pocket was a set of reed pipes his daddy goat had carved for him, even though he only knew two songs: Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 12 and Hilary Duff’s “So Yesterday,” both of which sounded pretty bad on reed pipes.It's going to be a loooooooong trip to the Underworld.The Setting: THIS. THIS IS HOW YOU DO GREEK MYTHOLOGY. I am a Greek mythology buff. I FUCKING LOVED THIS BOOK. This book is just absolutely fucking perfect in every way when it comes to rewriting and reinterpreting the Greek pantheon. It is so hilariously, awesomely irreverent, but completely fitting. The gods are reimagined, but they stay true to their true nature, and the myths are retold in a cheeky, flippant manner that had me giggling my ass off. This book is so fantastically snarky to the Greek gods. Everything is incredibly well-explained to a lay audience, like how the Greek gods can't seem to keep it in their pants. Annabeth nodded. “Your father isn’t dead, Percy. He’s one of the Olympians.”“That’s...crazy.”“Is it? What’s the most common thing gods did in the old stories? They ran around falling in love with humans and having kids with them. Do you think they’ve changed their habits in the last few millennia?”And apparently, the habit runs true for both male and female goddesses. “What? You assume it has to be a male god who finds a human female attractive? How sexist is that?”The existence of Greek gods and goddesses themselves are well explained, and believable. “Come now, Percy. What you call ‘Western civilization.’ Do you think it’s just an abstract concept? No, it’s a living force. A collective consciousness that has burned bright for thousands of years. The gods are part of it.""Did the West die? The gods simply moved, to Germany, to France, to Spain, for a while. Wherever the flame was brightest, the gods were there. They spent several centuries in England. All you need to do is look at the architecture. People do not forget the gods."I had my doubts about the execution of the premise of Greek mythology, and all my doubts have been destroyed. his book does great justice to the Greek gods, it is the most faithful rendition than I have ever read.The Characters: Yes, Percy is a special snowflake, but HELL, I LOVED THE LITTLE SHIT. He's got a special destiny. He is a special child. I DON'T CARE. Percy is such a sympathetic character, and although he won't be replacing Harry Potter in my heart any time soon, there is a special spot for him. He can give up pretty fast. He's kind of a wimp, but you know, finding out that you're a hald-blooded demigod is kind of a big deal, and I understand his attitude of "GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE." I didn’t know what else to do. I waved back.“Don’t encourage them,” Annabeth warned. “Naiads are terrible flirts.”“Naiads,” I repeated, feeling completely overwhelmed. “That’s it. I want to go home now.”He doesn't really want to do anything big. He's pretty stupid sometimes (Auntie Em, geez), he's not exactly heroic. He only does the heroic shit when there are no other options. “All right,” I said. “It’s better than being turned into a dolphin.”I loved Annabeth, she is all I could want from a female supporting character. I can't say that I'm fond of Grover...but I can't help feeling that we'll be seeing more of him in the future. “But a quest to . . .” Grover swallowed. “I mean, couldn’t the master bolt be in some place like Maine? Maine’s very nice this time of year.”Overall: a fantastic book. A good middle grade book makes you feel like a child again, and this book did just the trick. I found myself giggling throughout the book, and an hour after reading it, there's still a smile on my face that can't be wiped off.

For some reason, I did not think I was going to like this book. I was worried because it was a Middle Grade book, I wouldn't like it too much. But no, I was so wrong. I LOVED THIS BOOK!Of course it wasn't perfect. Some things that happened on this book are questionable, but then again, this is a Middle Grade book. I shouldn't compare the writing or the depth of this book to an Adult book or even a Young Adult book.This series is even better than some of the YA/Adult books I've read.And no, I am not kidding.It easily became one of my favorites. I am actually reading the second book right now and so far, it is not disappointing me.THE GISTPercy Jackson don't like trouble. But it seems that trouble always finds him. See, bad things happen to me on field trips. Like at my fifth-grade school, when we went to the Saratoga battlefield, I had this accident with Revolutionary War cannon. I wasn't aiming for the school bus, but of course I got expelled anyway. And before that, at my fourth-grade school, when we took a behind-the-scenes tour of the Marine World shark pool, I sort of hit the wrong lever on the catwalk and our class took an unplanned swim. And the time before that... Well you get the idea. No matter how much he tries to be a good student or merge with the crowd, some unfortunate event would most likely happen.And the most recent was being attacked by his Algebra teacher who turned out to be literally a monster. Or at least that's what he thought. But anyways, no one remembers this Algebra teacher. Then weirder things started happening. His best friend, Grover, started being so paranoid that he offers to take him home. The bus ride how was not the typical bus ride you'd get going home.His mom finds out about the incident at school. She then realize that it was time to tell Percy why weird things happen around him. "I tried to keep you as close to me as I could," my mom said. "They told me that was a mistake. But there's only one other option, Percy - the place your father wanted to send you. And I just... I just can't stand to do it." His father wanted to send him to a summer camp. But it's not just any regular summer camp. Turns out... Percy is a half-blood. His father, who he has never met before, was actually a God. Not the Christian God, but one of the Greek Gods. Yeah. I know. Sounds impossible but it's true.And this where his adventure starts.THE MAIN CHARACTERSPercy If you're a normal kid, reading this because you think it's fiction, great. Read on. I envy you for being able to believe that none of this ever happened. I really liked Percy. At first, you'd probably think he is one of those perfect, special, could-do-no-wrong type of character. But he wasn't. Percy wasn't perfect. He was a teenager with a temper issue. And also a trouble magnet. Trouble follows him everywhere he goes and as the story progress, you'll find out why that is.I was so refreshing to read from his perspective. He was sarcastic when he talks. And he really loves his mother. Also, it was good to see that he wasn't a push over. He didn't take crap from anybody even when he knows that they are superior to him. Like what he did with Ares. I'm not going to spoil you, but it's one of the highlights of this story for me. And I understood his motivations and why he was upset with his dad. Everything he does and say are understandable.Annabeth "I'm afraid it's because we're getting closer to being dead." I really liked her! One of the best female character's I've  read about. Why? Because she wasn't a Mary Sue. She was strong. She was feisty. She was smart. But underneath all that, she was a girl broken by the people who were supposed to take care of her. But really, I loved Annabeth. The movie Annabeth's character wasn't as fleshed out as the book one. The book Annabeth was better because she was strong but also vulnerable.Grover "As long as there's a snack bar without monsters." What can I say about Grover? He was funny and I also like him. I guess I liked all the main characters in this book. He was the comedic addition to the entire adventure. And like Annabeth and Percy, he does have his own reason for doing the things he is doing and I love that.PLOT DEVELOPMENTI liked how the plot was so fluid. There was never a dull moment in this book. There were slower moments, but then slowly after, then the action comes back up again. The author let's the new information you get sink in first, before he introduces a new conflict or a new challenge they have to overcome and I like that. He doesn't only develop the plot, but also the characters. I feel some books lack either of the two, but this books has a balance of that. It focused on both the plot and the characters.SETTINGI LOVED how he brought the Greek Gods out of Europe and into North America. It was so believable. I love Greek Mythology and because of that, I know quite a bit of it. And the way he used the mythology to make it this book's reality. It was so clever and so freakin' awesome.THE WRITINGI am a big fan of the writing. It wasn't what I expected really because of the movie. I thought Percy was going to be this shy, timid character who let's himself be bullied, but then finding out that he was something special. He was special, but he wasn't all he other things I said. At the beginning of this book, he sort of spoke to the readers. So it was a bit of a second person POV, but switched to first person shortly after the opening lines. But it was great. I liked that.THINGS I LIKED✔ The characters were so real and awesome. I liked how they all aren't perfect. Even the Gods. They were very believable and were written so well you'll be able to relate to at least one of them.✔ I liked how the story developed. The pace was so great. It was quick paced when it had to, but there were some slower points that allows the reader to let the information sink in.✔ The involvement of the parents. I liked how they weren't left out in the story. They had their own roles to play in the lives of the characters. Two of them in particular.✔ How the author used the Greek myth and used it in this story. It was hilarious how he depicted some of the Gods. He stayed true to the myth, but made them a little bit more human. If that makes any sense.✔ I knew who the Lightning Thief was going to be (because I watched the movie... hehehe.. sorry) but this book just surprised me still. It was so different from the movie. I was like "Wow. Why didn't they use that in the movie instead?"THE THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE✘ While I liked how he uses the Greek Gods, I did have some questions. "If they were so powerful and they know everything and looks at everything, how can they not know who stole Zeus' lightning bolt?"  I mean Apollo has Oracles right? If not, then I'm sure they have other ways to figure it out. I'm not gonna get into spoilers but the person who caught the Lightning thief but didn't do anything about it was the least of the Gods I would expect to catch him. I didn't buy that part.✘ The conflict was a bit weak for me. I do understand this is a Middle Grade book, but it's just one of the things I didn't like.FINAL WORDSI love this book! I highly recommend it if you have a Harry Potter hangover. I'm not saying they are the same, but the adventure it will take you on is quite the same.I would be continuing on with this series and hopefully finish the second one soon.
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Reviews
Emily May
Were you a bit weird in school? Or are you still in school and think you're kinda weird? I mean, everyone is weird, but you know that I mean. Maybe you didn't fit in, maybe people thought you were a bit of a loser. Maybe you had learning difficulties, were a target for bullies, got into trouble a lot, maybe it seemed like your teachers just didn't like you. Maybe you sucked at reading and were even diagnosed with dyslexia. Or ADHD.Well, don't worry. Truth is, you're actually most likely a child of the gods with secret powers that enable you to zap those bullies and fulfill your true destiny. Screw school, you've got bigger things to deal with anyway. Lol, this book is amazing. My only regret is that I didn't have it when I was twelve years old because I would have read this until it was falling apart in my hands. Every insecure kid (so basically every kid) should read The Lightning Thief. I would want my hypothetical kids of the future to read this book. It's the ultimate childhood fantasy - discovering that everything people labelled as "weird" or negative about you is actually caused by your secret awesomeness. Pretty perfect message, if you ask me. I know, I know - this is plain old childhood wish fulfillment at its finest. But who cares? The best kids books are all about wish fulfillment to some extent and it's not like Percy Jackson doesn't have his fair share of enemies and heartache. It's the same idea that we all loved to buy into. The orphaned and neglected Harry Potter discovering he is a wizard. The nerdy loser-ish Peter Parker developing special abilities and becoming Spiderman. Children in the middle of WWII discovering a secret world through a wardrobe door in which they reign as royalty. Percy Jackson finding out he is the son of a god and has his own super powers. On top of the powerful message, this is a fast-paced exciting fantasy story full of friendships, Greek mythology, magic, mystery, bad guys and girls, and constant adventure. I enjoyed it now, despite me being a good ten years older than the target audience. I would have enjoyed it even more ten years ago. You should definitely go read this. Then, when you're done, give it to a kid to read too.Blog | Leafmarks | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
Rose
One of my favorite teens has been nagging me for _years_ to read this book, but, despite my long-standing fascinating with Greek mythology, I just couldn't be bothered. Then one Thursday afternoon at a library program, while I was sneaking looks at "The Last Olympian" (the fifth and final book in the Percy Jackson series), which she had on top of her stack of books (it just looked really _cool_), she finally ran upstairs to the teen section and came back to hand me "The Lightning Thief."It's actually the second time she thrust the book directly into my hands with orders to read it, but this time, on a middle-school-lit high from "Bloody Jack" (and _desperate_ to read anything to prolong the forced re-read of "Twilight" that I'm attempting), I finally checked it out and actually opened it several days later.And I am in LOVE.In some ways, I shouldn't be, because in some ways, much of this is old ground. Indeed, in quite a few surface ways, they just should have saved time and called the first book, 'Harry Potter and the Greek Myths.' "Oh, here's the part where Not!Harry finds out he's a not!wizard and goes off to not!Hogwarts with the plucky-comic relief friend Not!Ron! Ooh, and now we meet too-smart-for-her-own-good Not!Hermione! Oh, and this is the part where the Not!Slytherins with their Not!House banner come along to compete for the Not!House Cup! Oh, ha, and now Percy's finding out that he's really good at Not!Quidditch, which really surprises him because it's the only thing he's ever really been good at!"This isn't necessarily a slam against Riordian's originality -- I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he's never actually read the Potter series; it's just that this is how these stories _work_. But still, the similarities makes the book obviously Potter-esque -- and, due to the heavy-handed foreshadowing (he only got me with ONE plot twist) and simpler structure, makes "The Lightning Thief" just slightly less good that the Rowling series.On the other hand, "The Lightning Thief" is also funny (HYSTERICALLY funny), clever, wry, action-packed, character-rich, full of brilliant Greek myth in-jokes, and moving enough that the St. Louis big-battle scene had me in tears. For being a post-Potter children's fantasy series, it's remarkably fresh, because it takes the standards of the children's fantasy Hero's Journey, blends together some outrageously awesome Greek myth, and produces something really special.It also has some Christian allegory that, intended or not, really struck a chord with me.It did some things amazingly right, which I'd like to keep in mind (read no further if you don't want spoilers);- When Hades accuses Percy of stealing Zeus's thunderbolt, Annabeth and Grover don't wonder for even an instant if Percy was actually the thief. They totally trust him by that point and so it doesn't even enter their heads that Hades could be right and Percy might actually have stolen it -- which made me very happy. The main character being accused of something they didn't do, and having their friends fail to believe their innocence, is a common trope of the genre and something that drives me absolutely insane, and I was really glad not to see it here. - Percy chooses not to use one of the pearls to save his mum. I love that. Any decent parent would get really angry at you if you destroyed the world just to save them. Wouldn't go over well, if your parents are any type of decent, after all. This is one of the key reasons I love Percy so much (aside from his sense of humor) -- while he does have a definite streak of rashness, he also has the occasional ability to think things through. Harry Potter develops this ability eventually, but at the moment, Early-Series Percy is definitely sharper than Early-Series Harry.- Maybe he'll end up a bad guy later, but for right now, Hades isn't evil, just very unpleasant, and I appreciate that (because in the original myths, he's *not* supposed to be evil, just unpleasant). Also his sudden temper tantrum about the rising costs of running the Underworld is fabulous.- Percy doesn't save his mum from Gabe. Because his mum has to do it for herself. I actually did an AIR PUNCH, a real actual air punch, when I read that part. In a world of Edward Cullen swooners, here is a female character who realizes, in situations such as these, ya gotta save *yourself*. It's a gorgeous moment of truth, and I applaud Riordan for giving a parent, a *mother* (who would normally be dead in these sorts of stories), that moment.- Percy goes home for the year. I love the line, "The real world is where the monsters are. That's where you learn whether you're any good or not." I read this book while I was going through a semi-difficult time in my life, and this line managed to make me tear up, make me love Annabeth, and inspire me all at the same time.- I really did think that Chiron was going to be the friend who betrays Percy (I don't know why I was so sure about this, unless it is because I am still bitter about what they did to the Dumbledore-Gandalf-ObiWan-Chiron-type character in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and so it's got me suspicious of *all* mentor characters now) ... so I cannot tell you how happy I was to be wrong. Not that I was happy it was Luke -- I really liked Luke -- but it made sense and fit the character and it wasn't Chiron and so it was all quite cool. ... the whole book was quite cool. I can't say enough good things about it. An awesome, awesome read."Do you know how few people have gone to the Underworld and escaped? Not many. Hercules. Orpheus. Houdini."
Samadrita
EDIT 09/06/2013:- That's it. I have had my fill of too many stupid, brain-cell destroying comments posted on this review in the past few months asking me to write a 'best-selling book' before attempting to take apart Rick Riordan's writing. As if the exclusive privilege of negatively criticizing a book is accorded only to published writers and not ordinary reviewers/readers. I do have the right to record my feelings about a book in my review. And it's such a shame that I am actually being forced to put up this edit to make people aware of this fact. If this review hurts your sentiments as a fan, I am sorry I can't help you there. You must grow up and learn to let dichotomous opinions co-exist in harmony on the same page. That is all. Caution:- Brutal honesty ahead. Read at the expense of having to respect someone else's views.---------What a feeble attempt at recreating the Harry Potter magic! Aside from being highly unoriginal and unimaginative, the book grates on your nerves due to the frequency of Percy's lame attempts at sounding witty. Seriously, I'm supposed to laugh at his observations on the 'Bull Man' and 'barnyard animals'? Not only did the writer not bother racking his brains to come up with a plot or a proper story, choosing instead to recycle key elements of the Harry Potter series, but he also ignored important aspects of a fantasy novel, one of which is the language. To call the narration just bad will be an understatement. Same can be said about the dialogue and the way the plot progresses - it's one cliched event unfolding after another. The only novel thing about this book is the seamless integration of Greek mythology into a fantasy-based set-up. The 1 star is for that. And so I'd like to put a premature end to my review because I just realized the futility of writing one of a book I hated.
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