The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Title: The Lightning ThiefPercy Jackson
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1
Publication Date: March 1, 2006
Genres: Fiction > Children’s > Fantasy, Adventure
My Rating: ★★★☆☆
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Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he goes to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

I hate to say it because I know this is such a beloved book — but I just wasn’t a fan. I first started this book sometime in 2016 I believe, but stopped because I just couldn’t get into the story. I decided to give it another try, and even though I finished it this time, I just wasn’t impressed.

First of all, I felt like the writing was really immature. My first thought was to give it a break because it’s a middle-grade series. Then after some research on Goodreads, I discovered that it is categorized as YA. This could be wrong, but I feel like whether it’s middle-grade or YA, the writing, dialogue, character reactions, etc. is just not up to par with other middle-grade/YA crossovers such as Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. 

The characters were likable enough, but I didn’t feel like they really developed or changed a whole lot. Their personalities, backstories, and relationships weren’t that deep, and I didn’t feel a strong connection to any of them.

While I really liked the fun connections between Greek mythology and modern life, I found a lot of the symbolism Riordan used to be a bit heavy-handed and preachy. For example, there are several mentions of how humans are dirty and do nothing but create pollution — he has a point, of course, but again, it felt way too preachy. Oh, and the current entrance to the Underworld is located in Los Angeles, CA — come on, tell us how you really feel!

I really wanted to like this series because it’s so hyped and I’ve been on the lookout for a good series to get into, but sadly, this isn’t the one for me and I won’t be continuing on with the series.

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