Back of a boy standing in a body of water, holding a horn and a sword in each hand, facing the New York skyline while a thunderbolt strikes

About the Book

Title: The Lightning Thief (Camp Half-Blood Chronicles #1; Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1)
Published: 2005

BFF Charm: Nah
Talky Talk: Straight Up But With An Uneven Tone
Bonus Factors: The Gods!
Relationship Status: Don’t Stand So Close To Me

The Deal:

Percy Jackson is a troubled kid about to be kicked out of his, like, sixth school in as many years. Now on top of that, mythical creatures are trying to kill him, because as it turns out, his dead beat dad is actually a god. Like one of the gods who lives on Mount Olympus. As if that wasn’t enough to blow a twelve-year-old’s mind, Zeus’s master bolt- as in lightning- has been stolen, and for some reason, the gods think Percy did it. So Percy has to figure out who, exactly, did steal the master bolt, get it back, and return it to Mount Olympus before a war between the gods breaks out. And he has ten days to do it.

BFF Charm: Nah

BFF Charm that says "denied"

It’s not that I didn’t like Percy, but he was a little bit of a connundrum to me. I mean, he’s only twelve, right, so it’s natural that he might be written to appeal to a younger audience than myself, but I have given my BFF charm to 12-year-olds before- namely the kids at Hogwarts, and a certain young woman by the name of Lyra . But Percy’s really kind of snarky. Like, too snarky for a twelve year old, (see Talky Talk, below) which makes him seem older, and yet not. He just doesn’t work for me. I’m not saying I’m writing him off completely, but I think I’d like to give him a few years to grow up a little. Maybe by the time he’s 17, I’ll totally take everything I just said back.

Swoonworthy Scale: 0

Although I might have rationalized crushing on a 15-year-old in The Compound, 12-year-old romance is just ooky. (Except, somehow, in the His Dark Materials series, but I’ll address that another time.)

Talky Talk: Straight Up But With An Uneven Tone

This book was entertaining and clever, all-in-all pretty well-written. That said, maybe it’s just me, but it felt like Rick Riordan either couldn’t figure out who his target audience was, or just didn’t do a great job of balancing writing for both kids and adults. I am ALL FOR not dumbing things down for kids, and never underestimating your audience, but it seemed to me that Percy was obviously written BY an adult FOR kids, you know what I mean? So, although I will give him props for his idea that children of the gods are all dyslexic and suffer from ADD, and how he works that into the story, the book just didn’t completely jive with me.

I will also admit that I read this book with full knowledge that the series is being compared to Harry Potter. It’s kind of too bad for Mr. Riordan, because although that comparison has possibly increased the popularity of his series, I can’t think of anybody- even Suzanne Collins- who would willingly want to be compared to J.K. Rowling. Because, invariably, that comparison is going to end up with you being the five-year-old frozen McDonald’s patty next to Ms. Rowling’s fresh, juicy In-N-Out burger.

Bonus Factor: The Gods!

Mythology art: Mercury bringing Jupiter to the Melisses nymphs

The thing that appealed most to me was this factor. I mean, who doesn’t love some Greek mythology? In fact, I could have used a whole lot more of these guys, and I hope they play a bigger role in the rest of the series.

Relationship Status: Don’t Stand So Close To Me

Yeah, I feel like if I was this book’s teacher, I would enjoy it in class, but I would never, EVER offer it a ride. Even if it was raining.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). The Lightning Thief is available now.

Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.