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The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

By Mr. Vlach | Books | July 20, 2009 |

By Mr. Vlach | Books | July 20, 2009 |

The Lightning Thief is the first book in Rick Riordan’s excellent Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. In this book, the protagonist is 12-year-old Percy Jackson. He has always struggled with learning disabilities and always gets into trouble without trying, leading him to attend a different school every year. As a sixth grader, Percy attends a field trip to a museum with his class from the prestigious Yancy Academy. Although he tries to behave, he manages to vaporize his despised math teacher. Even stranger for him, it seems like no one has noticed. A new teacher appears out of nowhere, and no one has ever heard of the old one.

After this, Percy and his mom take a trip out to Long Island. A fierce storm arises, and Percy and his mom get into their car. Along the road, they meet Percy’s friend Grover from school, who seems to Percy to be there randomly, although Percy had thought Grover knew more than he let on. They get into more trouble, and leading to a fight with a minotaur. Percy’s mother disappears into thin air, but Percy manages to escape to a safe place - Camp Half-Blood.

At Camp Half-Blood, Percy finds himself in a new world. The Greek gods that he studied about in school are real. His former Latin teacher at Yancy Academy is a centaur and Grover is a satyr. Percy, like all of the other campers, is a half-blood: one parent is a mortal and one is a god. Unfortunately for Percy, he does not know who which god his father is.

Percy eventually figures out from some characteristics he exhibits and a revelation that his father is Poseidon, the sea god. This leads him to become embroiled in a three-way struggle between Poseidon, Zeus and Hades. In order to fix things and save the world, Percy must go on a quest to the gates to Hades, located in Los Angeles. He is allowed to bring two friends: Grover, and Annabeth, a brilliant daughter of Athena.

The Lightning Thief is a very engaging book to read for two reasons. It is packed with action, and the author also incorporates a lot of humor. I read it to my class this year, and they enjoyed it thoroughly. Several of the kids read the series on their own, and it got them interested in Greek mythology due to Riordan’s seamless incorporation of the mythology into the story. I strongly recommend it!

This review is part of the Cannonball Read series. For more of Mr. Vlach’s reviews, check out his blog, The Luminous Reader.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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