After reading some positive reviews from Young Adult authors much older and wiser than yours truly, I decided to steal Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief from my brother’s room and give it a go. Since the protagonist, Percy, is a twelve-year-old boy, I’m assuming that the book is largely aimed at the middle-grade audience. Regardless of this, I actually liked the book.
Percy Jackson is a twelve-year-old boy diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD. He’s been expelled from every single school he’s ever gone to because strange things keep happening that the teachers somehow blame on him. Percy never knew his father growing up, and his mother has remarried…to a vile man who Percy cannot stand. Percy’s latest expulsion comes as a result of bizarre happening on a school field trip to a museum. His mother and friend, Grover, take him to camp half-blood, a camp for the half-human children of the Greek gods. It is during a capture-the-flag battle that his father sends a sign indicating that Percy is the son of Poseidon.
Percy is immediately thrust into a dangerous situation, where Zeus believes he has stolen his lightning bolt. Percy, with Grover and his new friend, Annabeth, a daughter of Athena, have to retrieve it before the summer solstice…otherwise war between the gods will break out.
As a narrator, Percy keeps things interesting with a random quip every so often that stops the story from getting too serious and, at times, depressing. Modernised versions of the Greek gods are revealed all the time, and their interactions with Percy and his friends don’t feel forced like when many other writers do the same thing. I found this interesting, as Greek gods actually play into the series of novels I’m planning. I could use this as an example of how it can be done.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes middle-grade or Young Adult fiction. The language is not too advanced to make a middle-grader cry out in terror, and not too dumbed-down that a teenager would scoff and throw the book aside. Now I have to go see the movie. I probably should have seen that first, since movies rarely, if ever, do the book justice.