Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief By Rick Riordan

Published By Miramax Books

Book Review By Gemma E McLaughlin

I was struggling to decide what to review this week when I was hit by an intense wave of nostalgia and my mind was almost instantly made up for me. This book is the first in a well-known series of young adult novels that I first read a few years ago and have shaped me as a person ever since. I feel now would be a good time to talk about the plot, characters and themes that have become so familiar to, and influenced me and pass them on to however many other young people that I can.

The world of Percy Jackson and the Olympians is one that takes Greek mythology and twists it eloquently into a modern day setting with children that are half god and half human and their lives. The main character Percy Jackson, is a seemingly regular twelve year old living in New York with his mother and abusive stepdad before a spiral of shocking events including a demonic math teacher, and a best friend with the legs of a goat he finds his life changing. When he is brought to a secret camp for the children of gods known as Camp Half-Blood, he discovers previously unknown powers and truths about his father and himself and new friends and even dangers along the way.

Amid trying to understand everything that’s been happening to him, Percy is thrown into an adventure almost right away, as it has been appointed to him to stop a war between the gods when Zeus’ lightning bolt is stolen. Percy and his friends, Annabeth (a daughter of Athena the goddess of wisdom and war strategy) and Grover (his long time best friend and satyr), must travel to the Underworld and defeat various monsters along the way.

What I found so uniquely lovely about reading this book was that, though it was filled with action and battles it also had a brilliant sense of humour and emotion that pulled me in and kept me reading. As it’s told from the perspective of the main character Percy Jackson, we learn of day to day struggles as a half-god preteen (something that I didn’t know could be so easy to relate to), and enjoy his charming wit and sarcasm that allows a perfect flow between chapters.

With his clever take on something wonderfully exciting that had previously been dismissed by youth as boring, Rick Riordan created a wide group of young people with a deep affinity for mythology and I believe that if all history was taught by him, we’d all do a little better at exam time. His use of action, drama and comedy blended together with a generous helping of history, create instant classics that continue to delight me to this day. I hope that his work spreads to a whole new generation of young people and this is me doing my part to pass it on.