Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan | Review


Title: The Lightning Thief (Book #1)
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion, 2005
Genre: Middle Grade – Fantasy
Page Count: 377
My Rating: 2.5 stars
Where to Purchase: Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble

Synopsis (From goodreads):

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

my thoughts:

Firstly, I read this on audiobook, and the narrator completely affected how I felt about the story. His narration was over the top and annoying, even on 2x speed.

Secondly, I really feel I missed my window of enjoyment on this book. This series was started in 2005 when I was already a junior in high school and too old to want to read this series at that point, so I don’t have nostalgic feelings towards it. I also have a very hard time finding middle grade I enjoy. I went into this book with too high of expectations, considering these factors.

I did not end up enjoying this book. I found both the story and the characters to be immature. While I understand that this is a middle grade story about 12 year old characters, I felt that Riordan was talking down to his readers. I have read some wonderful middle grade, and even if the story and themes are more simple than other genres, the writing does not have to be condescending. Also, while I understand a story about mythology is going to have a certain level of whimsy, I could not suspend my disbelief for most of the story. I cannot believe that any untrained 12 year old, demigod or not, can defeat 12+ horrible mythical creatures within the course of a few weeks. I had a hard time connecting to the characters, and didn’t find myself caring about their stories. I enjoyed some of the retelling elements, but many of the gods felt like over-the-top caricatures instead of realistic characters.

While this book was a disappointment for me, I do plan to continue with he series. Sadly, I will most likely continue on audiobook, regardless of the narrator, as I do not have the time or motivation to devote to reading the physical copies of the series at this time. I am only reading this series in order to get to the Heroes of Olympus series (GASP! I know!), so audiobook is the easiest and quickest way to get through them at this point.

Feel free to yell at me for my blasphemous statements in the comments.

Samantha Signature

2 thoughts on “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan | Review

  1. alecksis says:

    I read these when I was a sophomore in high school, and they were fun and cute, and I had a lot of fun reading the series, but I can understand why you, as an adult, would have a difficult time getting into these. I had picked up the first book to the Heroes of Olympus but didn’t have time to finish it and have since just forgotten to get back into them. All of the gods pretty much stick to over-the-top caricatures for the entirety of the series. While the books do get more interesting and complex, I don’t think they’re going to be easy for you to get through if you really didn’t like the first one.


  2. Courtney says:

    Sam, The Heroes of Olympus books are much better and a lot less juvenile as I believe they are aimed for a more mature middle grade audience. I was seven when this series came out in 2005 and I read them when I was around 12, so I understand why you find them annoying, but I think that everything will be worth it once you get to Heroes of Olympus as they are amazing and it’s one of my favourite series. I don’t read a lot of middle grade, but I’d recommend The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black if you haven’t read it already. I really enjoyed it.


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