Shea Reviews – Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief


I waited too long to read this. The Lightning Thief came out in 2005, so I could have read it while I was still in high school, but of course I waited until I was more than a decade older than the protagonist. That makes it pretty hard to identify with the character. I had a similar problem with the Harry Potter books right off the bat because I waited until the 4th book was already out to jump into the series. With HP however, after the first two books I had no problem diving into the circumstances. It’s too early to tell, but I’m not sure the same will be said of The Olympians series when all is said and done.

The biggest difference between the two series is that HP never really felt like a kid’s book. It was marketed for kids and the central characters were kids, but the themes of the books were so much deeper and darker than that. Sure, there were themes of friendship and it was above all, a coming of age tale, but there were also themes of challenging the government, rascism, and self sacrifice. The Lightning Thief never really delves that deep, but it doesn’t necessarily need to. This is more of a summer popcorn flick, and it is definitely enjoyable when taken in that context. Just don’t expect to be challenged intellectually or emotionally.

The characters in The Lightning Thief are relatively well fleshed out, but I had the misfortune of seeing the movie when it first came out. It’s been a while and I don’t remember most of the movie, but it seems like the movie cut a bunch of stuff, which I guess was nice for me because I felt like I was experiencing most of it for the first time. The purpose of this book review isn’t to review the movie, but because my first exposure to the universe was via the movie, it does affect my opinion on the story.

Now, I don’t want it to seem like I didn’t enjoy the book at all, because I certainly did enjoy parts of it and I’m definitely wanting to continue reading the series, but because the book is meant for younger readers in terms of content and language, and because my first impression was somewhat spoiled by the movie, I didn’t find myself loving the book the way that I wanted to. Like I said, The Lightning Thief does set up enough to keep me interested in reading the next books, but I’m afraid that my barrier of entry might be too high to get full enjoyment out of them. But Harry Potter grew on me, so maybe this will too.

-some genuinely funny moments
-leaves a lot of questions going into the next book
-contains actual info on Greek mythology

-very simple language and syntax
-some questionable plot motivation
-predictable twists and turns


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