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Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Posted by RB Kollannur on March 30, 2014


Note: This review is part of a weekly book review column that I write for City Journal, an English newspaper based in Thrissur, Kerala.

Published on 03/11/2012

Publisher – Penguin; Year of Publication – 2005; Pages – 375; Cost at the time of purchase – Rs 299; Purchased from Cosmo

Percy Jackson is an ordinary teenager. He lives with his mom and has a step father whom he hates, has trouble at school and hates a real lot of things about life. Until he finds out his real father is a Greek god. But sadly for him he finds it out in a tragic manner, after his mom his killed by a Minotaur, straight from the “Theseus and the Labyrinth” myths.

From there on, the book is a recap of your favourite stories from Greek mythology upgraded to the 21st century. The story is peppered with many creatures of the Greek yesteryear like the minotaurs, satyrs, centaurs, gorgons, Furies and nymphs. The Olympus, the abode of the Greek gods, has shifted far west and is sitting atop the Empire State Building in New York and the Olympians like before, goes around fathering (and mothering) illegitimate children around the world. Percy Jackson is send to a summer camp for children of gods where he learns to combat and make use of his godly inheritances.

There is also a dangerous mission. The most powerful of the Greek gods, Zeus, thinks Percy stole his lightning bolt and will kill Percy if he gets hold of him. Percy, with his disjointed group of friends, has to find and retrieve the lightning bolt and clear his name before all is too late. Waylaying them is Hades, the god of the Greek underworld, who also intends to kill Percy, over an old angst with Percy’s father, the sea god Poseidon. And in the ancient realm of Greek mythology, who knows what other foe lies in wait of our intrepid adventurers.

While the book does come off a bit childish at times, it would be a good and humorous read for a middle school student, especially for the ones unfamiliar with Greek mythology. Though many of the encounters with the mythical bad guys are a modern retelling of the old stories, they can still induce a sense of suspense and curiosity in the reader. The author has upgraded these stories in a delightful manner and tweaked them to meet the larger storyline of the search for the missing lightning bolt. By the end of the novel, the author is able to create an intriguing storyline which he continues in the book’s four sequels. The movie was released in 2010, but received mixed reviews.

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One Response to “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan”

  1. […] on 20/10/2012 33)  The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov – Published on 27/10/2012 34)  Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – Published on 03/11/2012 35)  Imperium by Robert Harris – Published on 10/11/2012 36)  […]

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