Merry Wanderer of the Night + percy jackson

The Lightning Thief
The Lightning Thief

I haven't been really interested in a fantasy series since I read Harry Potter, but when I heard a description of The Lightning Thief, the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, on Books on the Nightstand I knew I had to check it out. Something about a 12-year-old with Greek gods just screamed amazing to me. Percy Jackson is a troubled kid, he keeps bouncing around from school to school. He has ADHD and he is dyslexic, which makes school kind of tough, and he misses his amazing mom and worries about his horrid stepdad. What Percy doesn't know is that there is a really good explanation for all of his problems.

This book does not waste any time getting to the action. From the first page you get a very clear picture of who Percy is and how this book is going to play out, which wasn't really necessary for me but I think it is probably pretty important for younger readers. Percy is easy to relate to, I didn't have any behavior problems or anything growing up, but I was kind of antisocial and Percy is forced into that because he switches schools so much. I think I would have liked him when I was younger and I know I like him now. Percy's rebellious strike is easy to admire too; I think most of us wish we could be a little more rebellious.

Percy is actually very funny too. One of my favorite quotes is (tiny spoiler, although I'm sure you have figured it out by now) "...most people might think that's just really bad luck; when you're a half-blood, you understand that some divine force really is trying to mess up your day" (168). The humor is pretty evergreen, but some of the references Riordan makes in the story are already dating the book. Hilary Duff is mentioned two or three times, and I'm not sure if kids are really into Hilary Duff anymore. I know one of the first graders I tutor didn't know who she was so you can see that this reference is already floating away.

I didn't feel the characterization in this book was as strong as it was in Harry Potter, and there were a few similarities between the two books that didn't really feel like coincidences to me, but I think both Rowling and Riordan are just "stealing" from older heroes and it just so happens that some of the cooler things from hero myths are used by both of them. But overall Percy is a lovable character and I definitely want to complete the series as soon as possible.

This book earned an A.

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The Lightning Thief + percy jackson