Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson and the Olympians book 1)

I really yearned to read a good, SINGULAR book - the start and an ending securely between the covers. The wait between and the cliffhangers are according to previous experience just slow and painful death However, books getting popular in last couple of years seem all to be series. It'd be all good and I do love reading, but the more riskier it is for the author and as well for the reader. The skill to keep the us interested is I think the hardest to accomplish. I hate picking up a series, loving and adoring it to bits only to be totally crushed and disappointed in the end - Hunger Games, I look at you!

But on to the book. I was rather excited about the idea of Greek gods walking around in our modern world and the mortals living blissfully happy and oblivious in their own lives. Making America the center of Western Civilization made me cringe for a minute. Of all the places, really? But in order for the action to take place in the States, OK, I let it go. And I must say, it really was not that ridiculous as the idea might sound. The author really has a way of reasoning. Like the use of dyslexia, to cover up the inability to read anything but ancient Greek fluently. Genius!

I'm also a sucker for a innocent lonely heroes. The scene beside the river, the grand discovery of Percys father and the reactions of the other cabins and Cyron... I loved it! It made me shiver.

A bit of disconcerting was the plot-line, I mean in times it seemed too obvious. Reading the characters wondering about a painfully obvious to the readers wasn't fun. Covering it with,"... I knew but I wasn't sure." Hmm. In the end I think it worked, but I didn't like the cold feeling before.

Of all the characters, my personal favorite was definitely the outcast, Hades. He reminded me a lot of Professor Snape, from the Harry Potter series. His domain under the NY was wonderfully modernised. Cerberus the Pup was just adorable, just sadly not overly creative. Hades, the almighty Lord of the underworld, terrifying and at the same time utterly childish, moaning about too much work and his unhappy minions cracked me up. Oh Hades, Hades.

I especially remember a part of Percy asking about different religions and how come all the people end up in the same place? Every person sees what they need to see and believe in. The power of our own minds and ability to translate our surroundings was a continuous theme throughout the book. It somehow made the whole world of Greek "myths" more real to me.

Last up are the fighting scenes. I wasn't overly impressed. His whole life being below average and then, faced with monsters out of nightmares, suddenly kicking ass. A boy born to fight just doesn't convince me. The contact with water makes a lot more sense.

The ending left me pleasantly content, yet still interested to read on. It managed to surprise me in a nice way. The life changing summer forced Percy into an early adulthood, world of your own choices and responsibility. He pulled it off well and convincingly. Painfully obvious from the beginning was a joke on the readers. Author artfully opened a can of worms, promising entertainment and evil creatures for the next couple of books. Good job!

For a YA, I found the book rather mature. I see it being enjoyable for children, yet still offering deeper depths for older and more critical readers. I loved the sarcasm used about the "brilliance" of modern people minds - what all we're ready to believe and accept, just to deny the painfully obvious "impossible."

The first of five, the Lightning Thief, convinced me to move on to the next book. I'm just holding my breath, after all there's still room for improvement.


  1. Excellent review! Ive also read this book and it was quite exciting and they seem to get better as the series continues :)

    Here's my blog:

    1. Hello Alex! Thank you so much for kind words, it's great knowing someone besides me reads them as well! You had a neat blog, I'll be sure to check it out at times :))