The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, #1)

by Rick Riordan

Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school . . . again. No matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to stay out of trouble. But can he really be expected to stand by and watch while a bully picks on his scrawny best friend? Or not defend himself against his pre-algebra teacher when she turns into a monster and tries to kill him? Of course, no one believes Percy about the monster incident; he's not even sure he believes himself.

Until the Minotaur chases him to summer camp.

Suddenly, mythical creatures seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. The gods of Mount Olympus, he's coming to realize, are very much alive in the twenty-first century. And worse, he's angered a few of them: Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy has just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property, and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. On a daring road trip from their summer camp in New York to the gates of the Underworld in Los Angeles, Percy and his friends–one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena–will face a host of enemies determined to stop them. To succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of failure and betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

Reviewed by Amber (The Literary Phoenix) on

5 of 5 stars

This book SHOULD have been published in 2000.


Because I feel very strongly that I would have loved to read this when I was a youngling and then my friends and I could have argued about our cabins and dreamed about going off on mad adventures with satyrs and demigods.


I suppose I am the Harry Potter generation and in all fairness, we should leave some of this other goodness to another group of kids. I really did think that this was wonderfully written. The mythology was pretty solid, Percy & Co.'s behavior was true to their age but not supremely annoying. The imagery was great, I really liked the use of cheeseburgers and milkshakes as bribes from gods/monsters. I like Charon and the fact that Percy followed through on his promise to him. I thought the whole thing was fun.

Obviously, as a MG novel, this story will not be for everyone. As an adult, I can confirm it was entertaining despite the fact I am 15 years older than the intended audience. I had to get used to the idea that these were sixth graders and be okay with that before delving into the adventure. AND THAT'S OKAY. These are pretty mature sixth-graders.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of mythology, doesn't mind the protagonists being younglings, and is down for a good, fun romp.


This book is NOT the film. It diverts at just about the point when they leave their first task. Do not expect the same story. Enjoy the differences. THEY ARE MUCH MORE INTERESTING THAN THE MOVIE. GODS GET INVOLVED. BAD STUFF IS GOING DOWN. In this vein, the ending was a bit draggy BUT TOTALLY NECESSARY for the continuing series plot.

If these books came out when you were an adult and you feel a bit cheated by not being in the proper age group, do yourself a favor and read it anyway.

It's a quick read. It's fun. Just do it.

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 3 August, 2017: Finished reading
  • 3 August, 2017: Reviewed