Sunday, September 28, 2008

Book Review: The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is the first in Rick Riordan’s YA series. We meet Percy, a half-blood with a Greek god for a father. Of course, he doesn’t know about his lineage. He learns about it right along with the reader.

Percy may be a disaster waiting to happen in the mortal world, but in the newly discovered world of mythology, ancient creatures, and new half-blood friends and foes, he is destined to become a hero, reluctant though he may be. He sets off on a quest that puts him in danger. He’ll have to overcome his fears to discover new powers and save his friends and Camp Half-Blood. But the cost may be too high.

Riordan’s Percy Jackson series has strong parallels to the Harry Potter series, but introduces young readers to the world of mythology while taking them on a fast-paced, action-filled adventure.

I'd been meaning to get this book for a long time, but I don't usually visit the young adult section of bookstores. I'm glad I made it over there.

I was struck, as I'm sure just about anyone who's read both Riordan’s series and Harry Potter, by the similarity in the structure of the two. A protagonist who's a half-blood, who has a female friend and a male friend accompany him on a quest, encounters bad guys and mean teachers, spends part of the year in the normal world and part in the supernatural world, and has to battle to save the day.

The similarity did NOT make me dislike the book. It made me reader faster to see how Riordan had pulled off following the Potter structure so closely yet have a book that kids not only like, they have put on the best-seller list.

I was impressed with Rick Riordan's use of mythology. No wonder teachers praise the series. I may find my way into the YA section for the rest in the series. And if you’re a writer, this is a good series to read – to analyze how Riordan took the Potter structure and made it his own.


  1. Thanks Helen. I've been wondering about this series for a while.

  2. It's a popular series with kids, which makes it a good one for YA authors to read. Plus, I enjoyed reading it for its structure.

  3. He's one of those authors who has stayed on my TBR pile. This book just moved to the top. Thanks. I'm looking forward to it.

  4. I think it's a book that will draw in young male readers. And it's a good one for writers of YA to analyze.


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