Let me start off by reiterating (as if you could possibly forget) that I am a pretty huge nerd. To the point where I will unashamedly declare myself a die-hard Harry Potter Fan. What, I was one of the ORIGINALS, around since the books were only available in hardcover and we had to wait years between each riveting installment in the saga.
When I started reading “The Lightning Thief”, and noticing echoes of JK Rowling’s writing, I was ready to put the book down and walk away. A boy never fits in with normal kids, and then finds out he’s special? And is taken away to a school/camp where he’ll discover his destiny? With the help of a dopey male sidekick and wicked smart female accomplice? (See where I’m going with this?) Haven’t I read this before?
At the urging of Danielle, I decided to push past the initial similarities and get to the real action of the story. I’m definitely glad that I did. Rick Riordan has provided an interesting modern take on Greek Mythology, reimagining the Greek pantheon and setting them in everyday America in clever ways.
TxtingMrDarcy Notes Version: Percy Jackson has serious ADD and dyslexia, and is going to get kicked out of his umpteenth boarding school when things start to get very weird. He kills his teacher on a field trip, and he and his mother are chased by monsters on a trip to Long Island. Mom is forced to reveal the truth- her baby daddy was one of the Greek Gods, and the only place that Percy will be safe is at Camp Half-Blood (on Long Island).
Camp Half-Blood struck me as Hogwarts Lite- it’s a place where the progeny of various Gods, Goddesses and mythical creatures can reside without the fear of getting messed with. Dionysus is stuck as the disgruntled camp counselor after too much reveling, and also restricted to Diet Coke instead of alcoholic beverages. There are cabins representing each of the Greek deities, and a diet of fruit, veggies, ambrosia and nectar. Oh, and a creepy Oracle living in the attic.
The Oracle gives Percy (short for Perseus) a quest: Find Zeus’s master lightning bolt, which has been stolen, before summer solstice, or war will break out between the Gods. This is very bad news. Percy takes his two sidekicks, Annabeth (a daughter of Athena) and Grover (a satyr) on his journey.
I’m glad that I didn’t stop while reading the descriptions of Camp Half-Blood, because when Percy’s quest begins is when the book really takes off. He has encounter after encounter with mythological villains, including The Furies, Echidna, and a very clever meeting with Medusa. I was transported right back to my early enthusiasm with the Greek myths and their heroes and villains. I love that Rick Riordan included all of the Gods’ penchant for philandering, and had Haphaestus set a trap for Ares and Aphrodite.
Scheming and diversion abound as Percy tries to fulfill his quest in time to prevent war,
Verdict: Extremely detailed, unexpected clever humor, and a great intro to get kids hooked on Greek mythology. And maybe get some adults hooked as well…
I’m just sayin.
Yeah, exactly. I’m starting Book Two now. 🙂