BOOK REVIEW: The Lightening Thief, by Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson and The Olympians, #1)

RELEASE DATE: January 5, 2010
SERIES: Percy Jackson and The Olympians, #1
PUBLISHER: Hyperion Books
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Purchased

In this stunning collectors’ edition of The Lightning Thief, Percy Jackson’s world is brought to life with eight full-color plates by the series jacket artist John Rocco. The edition comes in an elegant slipcase with a ribbon bookmark, rough edges, and cloth cover–a perfect keepsake for fans of this truly epic series. 

After getting expelled from yet another school for yet another clash with mythological monsters only he can see, twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is taken to Camp Half-Blood, where he finally learns the truth about his unique abilities: He is a demigod, half human, half immortal. Even more stunning: His father is the Greek god Poseidon, ruler of the sea, making Percy one of the most powerful demigods alive. There’s little time to process this news. All too soon, a cryptic prophecy from the Oracle sends Percy on his first quest, a mission to the Underworld to prevent a war among the gods of Olympus. 

This first installment of Rick Riordan’s best-selling series is a non-stop thrill-ride and a classic of mythic proportions.


I really don’t think I give kids enough credit. When I started reading The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan I was amazed at how scary it was – and it was labeled as a children’s book! Right off the bat, Percy Jackson, a kid at Yancy Academy vaporizes one of his teachers and then is told that that teacher never did exist. He also reiterates a story from Greek mythology about the king titan Kronos who eats his kids, not believing they are gods – seems scary to me!

There is violence and subject matter that may not be suitable for certain ages (family violence, even Greek mythology in general), but I really enjoyed reading this fast-paced novel. There is humor mixed throughout (similar to The 6th Grade Nickname Game) and you can’t help but fall in love with the characters.

Fans of the Harry Potter series will love this book. To me, even though the majority of the main characters are 12-years-old, it feels almost more grown up than the Harry Potter books. Being a person who took Greek mythology in university, I appreciated all of the stories of the Gods and actually checked to see if I still had my textbook from the class. Reading just the first novel in this series has peaked my interest in the subject again.

But don’t get me wrong – there are definite similarities between the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series and the Harry Potter series, but it’s all part of the genre. In a book like this for kids, a boy will have his friends and he has to go somewhere to hone his talents. This is far from being the spitting image of Harry Potter and I think with it’s references to Greek mythology, it might interest a few more readers.

After reading so many negative reviews from people saying that Rick Riordan copied the Harry Potter books, I just have to say that I knew nothing about these books when I bought them. In fact, if it wasn’t for my husband giving me some money as a bribe for me to take the dog to the vet, I probably would never have bought them. As it turns out, I stopped by Wal Mart and had seen this series on display and thought they might be interesting. I didn’t even know there was a movie made about them.

For the record, I loved the Harry Potter books and I am loving this series as well. Just take the many books that are out in the vampire genre nowadays – they all have many similarities but there are good ones and bad ones. As a reader, you have to be able to read a book for the sake of not comparing it to another book. Isn’t that what a love of reading is all about?

In fact (and I’m almost done here), I read a passage by Riordan about the similarities between these two series’ of books and he’s really just following the patterns that have been set up for a lot of books written for children in the past. From that, it’s easy to see how there will always be similarities in children’s books – it’s just that the most popular one of the time will be the comparison book, rather than the first of its genre.

(As a sidenote to books, I’m a musician who plays the piano and sings – do you know how many times I’m compared to people like Tori Amos? Or basically any female singer-songwriter who uses a piano? When, really, it was Kate Bush that pretty much started the whole thing – NOT Tori. But I digress.)

I highly recommend this series and I can’t wait to read more books written by Riordan!


2 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: The Lightening Thief, by Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson and The Olympians, #1)

  1. Pingback: The Sea of Monsters and The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and The Olympians, #2 and #3), by Rick Riordin « Reading in Winter

  2. I really loved The Lightning Thief, but I found the extreme similarities to Harry Potter impossible to ignore. I don’t think it makes The Lightning Thief a bad book or anything, but it was too much for me to overlook. But I did find that while the framework of the two stories is almost identical, the similarities stopped there.

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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