Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan

I feel as though I have been neglecting you terribly.  I have missed writing in this blog with the consistency that I did earlier in the year.  Take heart in knowing that I am still reading avidly.  I have hit another point in this challenge where I am immersed in several thick volumes; therefore, I am not finishing things quickly.  It is a frustrating point in regard to the blog, but know that I am enjoying what I am reading and cannot wait to tell you all about it.

The Lightning Thief was an easy, quick diversion from the tomes weighing down my nightstand.  It was not anything spectacular or particularly original, but it was not unenjoyable either.  Apparently the book sprung from the bedtime stories that Rick Riordan would tell his son about the characters of Greek mythology.  When he ran out of classic tales, he made up Percy Jackson and told his son about Percy's modern-day interactions with the Greek myths.  After prodding from his enamored child, Riordan turned his bedtime tales first into this novel, and then into a series. (Warning: Spoilers Ahead)

Percy Jackson is a half-blood, the son of a mortal and a god.  He discovers this at age 11 when magical forces become unable to be ignored in his life.  After the first of many encounters with mythical monsters, Percy finds himself at Half-Blood Hill, a summer camp for the children of the gods.  This portion of the story particularly reminded me a great deal of similar novels.  Percy, like Harry Potter, discovers his magical abilities at age 11 and proceeds to go to a school of sorts to train with others like him.  Now, Percy's adventures are clearly set up to take place in the summers, while Harry's misfortune always befell him during the academic year.  In another parallel, the campers at Half-Blood Hill play an intense game of Capture the Flag, just like Tris and the Dauntless initiates.  I do not believe that any of these authors intentionally copied each other; rather, it seems that they all were following at a basic outline of how to write for young adults.

In Percy Jackson, Riordan has created another likeable, yet slightly rebellious pre-teen who suddenly discovers he is not like those around him.  When writing for an age group struggling with perpetual identity crisis, this is a formula for a hero(ine) that cannot go wrong.  Kids identify with characters like Percy and Harry Potter and Jonas and Katniss and Cinder and many more.  They want to discover something unique about themselves too.

As Percy travels across the country with a daughter of Athena and a satyr name Grover to complete a quest given to him by the gods, he meets gods disguising themselves in human form and a whole host of monsters.  While there was not anything that truly surprised me along the way - including the "twist" at the end - it was cool to see characters of Greek mythology adapting to the present world.  Riordan deserves credit for, if nothing else, a creative premise.  The story is great for young adults, its target audience, and keeps the reader's attention well enough.

Pages: 396
Date Completed: 6/20/2012

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