Monday, March 8, 2010

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief -- Book Review

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

If you are looking for a book to add to your classroom library, this is one to consider. It incorporates classical Greek mythology in ways that do not totally destroy and distort the myths themselves.

In this universe, Greek myths were not just stories to explain natural phenomena. Greek myths were real. Are real. And, as in the past, Greek gods still occasionally have affairs with mortals, resulting often in demigods.

Percy Jackson is a sixth grader with a troubled past. He has yet to attend the same school two years in a row due to the trouble he always finds--or that finds him. With dyslexia and ADHD, Percy is certain he is stupid and will never amount to anything.

Soon he is launched into an adventure that takes him from one side of America to the other. Percy must face challenges beyond anything he had ever imagined. With his best friends, Grover and Annabeth, he battle gods and monsters as he attempts to find the master bolt, prototype for all lightning and the most destructive weapon ever created, and return it to Zeus before the gods of Olympus go to war.

It is fast-paced and weaves the fantastic elements in well with the more believable aspects of the modern day. Percy and his friends are easy to identify with and their adventures are epic. Literally.

There are enough major differences between the book and the movie just released that it will be obvious whether your students have really read the book, or tried the inevitable shortcut. This book seems aimed at a middle school audience. It would be especially appropriate for those young men who grow bored easily with the books they read. With one action scene after another, there is little letup in the adventure.

I enjoyed the book a good deal and am looking forward to reading the sequels.


John Thornburg said...

My 8th grade reading class read this book and it was a lot of fun. I found out though I needed to teach Greek mythology at the same time. We went and saw the movie as a class after we finished the book and the students thought the book was better, which was a good sign! Thanks for sharing.

Art Belliveau said...

Don't you just love it when the kids say the book is better? =0)

PoetLady said...

My son has LOVED this book for over a year. He read it in second grade. He LOVES this series!:)