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The Lightning Thief: 05/29/10

cover art

On May 13, 2010, the Booking Through Thursday question asked if our book choices are influenced by outside forces. Although I didn't have time to write a post as a response, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is a perfect venue. During a lunch with Pam of Bookalicious she suggested my son might like The Lightning Thief based on how he liked Coraline and his general love of monsters. As she specializes in tween and YA books, I jumped on her suggestion and bought the book the next day.

The Lightning Thief and the four other books in the Percy Jackson series ended up being a family favorite. My husband and son read it (with Harriet sometimes listening in) and then it was my turn to read it. It speaks well of a book (or series) that can bring an entire family together.

Percy Jackson is twelve at the start of the series. He's ADD and dyslexic and has a bad history with schools. Something always goes wrong and he ends up blamed for it and expelled.  He's nearly survived a year at his current school, a personal best when things go wrong once again. Except this time, one of his schoolmates, Grover, lets him in a big secret. He's a demigod, just like his namesake, Perseus.

At the very basic level, Percy Jackson is like another Harry Potter: a boy with a rough life in the normal world finding a home in a magical school and faced with newfound powers and dangers. That's though where the similarities stop. Percy, though he's had a hard time in school, comes from a loving family. Sure, he has a nasty step father but there's a reason for his nastiness. He otherwise has a loving (and living) mother and father. Secondly, Percy's world of the gods, demigods and monsters isn't separate and parallel to the mortals the way that it is for muggles and magic users in the Harry Potter series. The two exist (for the most part) together, hidden by the Mist. Finally, Percy Jackson lives in New York and his summer camp is on Long Island. His quest takes him across the United States and back, giving a very different setting to his magical tale than the more typical British isles (be it England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland).

Best of all though, The Lightning Thief got my son thinking and asking questions about Greek mythology and American geography. Although he's finished the series, he's still talking about it and still asking questions. That earns it five stars on the GoodReads scale.

The series includes:

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Comment #1: Sunday, May, 30, 2010 at 04:47:03

Kailia Sage

I loved this series too! Its true that a lot of younger kids like this series!

Comment #2: Monday, May 31, 2010 at 10:46:44


The Percy Jackson series got my son addicted to much longer books. He's now working through (with some help) Un Lun Dun by China Mièville, How to Speak Dragonese by Cressida Cowell and of course, The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan.

Comment #3: Sunday, May, 30, 2010 at 09:18:30


Did you happen to catch the movie? I won't say it's completely different, but they did change a lot of things (Percy's older - and can drive! That really threw me off guard...), but the effects were amazing...

Comment #4: Monday, May 31, 2010 at 10:56:19


No. I haven't seen the movie. I might watch it via Netflix at some future date.

Comment #5: Sunday, May, 30, 2010 at 17:31:18


I read this entire series and loved it so much! It is just fantastic.

Nice review.

Comment #6: Monday, May 31, 2010 at 10:57:05


I still have The Last Olympian to read, although I feel like I've read it. I overheard most of being read when my husband and son were reading it together.

Comment #7: Monday, May, 31, 2010 at 01:35:02

Pam van Hylckama Vlieg

I am glad you all liked them so much. I have the Red Pyramid but I haven't gotten to it yet.

Comment #8: Monday, May 31, 2010 at 11:00:13


My son is reading it (with help) and enjoying it. I have a bunch of books currently going that I want to finish before I start The Red Pyramid.

Comment #9: Monday, May, 31, 2010 at 08:24:32


After watching the movie, I wanted to read the books cos I found it very interesting! I love learning about Greek mythology. :)

Comment #10: Monday, May 31, 2010 at 11:02:28


I haven't seen the movie. Happy reading.

Comment #11: Monday, May, 31, 2010 at 14:02:18


I read this when it was my son's required summer reading for school. We both thoroughly enjoyed it and he zoomed through the rest of the series that summer. My daughter had to read it for school this year and she loved it, also zooming through the series. Now we just have to entice my husband and youngest son and then everyone will be on board like your family.

Comment #12: Monday, May 31, 2010 at 11:08:40


Interesting that it was required reading for the summer. I don't know yet if my son will have a required reading list. He has a couple more weeks of school first.

Comment #13: Tuesday, June, 1, 2010 at 19:13:32


Great review.

I read this with my kids a while ago and my 10 year old really got hooked and has plowed through the series. He's now egging me on to catch up and finish the series out. We even picked up the "percy jackson" mythology trivia cards, which are a fun way to reemphasize the learning aspect in a way that the kids accept.

Comment #14: Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 09:17:19


I only have the last book in the series left to finish.

Comment #15: Saturday, June, 5, 2010 at 18:32:39


My son and I love the series as well. So much so that it prompted my son to sign up for a mythology class at his school this past year. He watches everything he can find on the different myths. (Beowulf has been on cable tv A LOT lately!) Stopping by from the bloghop!

Comment #16: Monday, June 7, 2010 at 11:25:38


My son is also taking a mythology class. He's doing it this summer as part of his summer camp. Now he's reading Rick Riodan's newest book, The Red Pyramid which is introducing him to Egyptian mythology.

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