Title: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Page Count/Review Word Count: 376
I suppose there are a few things to note here. The first is that I’m behind the times, because it seems like everyone under the sun has already read Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. I’ve read one of Riordan’s other books, and I didn’t think much of it, so I put off starting this one. I shouldn’t have.
See, this book is basically the best start to a series of this ilk that I’ve come across. It even beats out Harry Potter, because the first Harry Potter book was only okay. But this book drew me straight in, and while I couldn’t necessarily relate with the main character – Percy Jackson – I think that’s more because I’m not really the target audience, rather than a problem with how the character was written.
Of course, there were one or two one-dimensional characters, but that was largely intentional – and it played into Riordan’s unique take on Greek myths and legends. In fact, I’ve noticed a trend of late of authors imitating the approach, a little bit like what happened when Dan Brown released The Da Vinci Code. The funny thing is that it never really happened with J. K. Rowling – sure, people were influenced by it, but nobody reduced themselves to literally releasing an imitation.
Now, this might sound weird, but this book reminded me of a cross between R. L. Stine and Neil Gaiman. It has much of the world-building that Gaiman used in American Gods, and it has a similar feel, like an epic road trip. Stine, meanwhile, used simple language and near-childlike plots to hook his young readers into the story. But Riordan’s work feels in no means like a rip off – in fact, he has a new, original voice, at least in this book. Perhaps he becomes more jaded over time, but I wouldn’t know.
Overall, then, I’d definitely recommend Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, even if you don’t go on to read the rest of the series. It might not be for you – but if you like myths, magic and mayhem, I reckon you’ll probably like it.