Author: Rick Riordan
Synopsis: Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek god. I was just a normal kid, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporised my maths teacher. That’s when things really started going wrong. Now I spend my time fighting with swords, battling monsters with my friends and generally trying to stay alive.
This is the one where Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks I’ve stolen his lightning bolt- and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea.
My Thoughts: After hearing so many good things about this series from a college friend of mine, I decided to give this one a try. Generally I don’t read children’s books, but recently I was pleasantly surprised by Phillip Reeve’s Mortal Engines so I tried to approach this one with an open mind. Percy Jackson is a twelve-year-old boy who discovers he is half god, and is sent on a mission to recover Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt and find the real thief before he is blamed for it.
As the title suggests there are lots of references to Greek mythology, and it’s amusing to see the gods interacting with the setting of modern-day America. I had fun trying to guess who would spring up next (many deities and monsters appear in disguise). The story is best enjoyed if you have a basic working knowledge of Greek mythology but everything is sufficiently explained if, like me, your memoryis a little patchy in places. Some of the monsters’ “surprise” appearances are a little obvious, especially since many seem to like hiding under the pretence of kind old ladies for some reason, but I enjoyed trying to work out who each one was before it was revealed.
The story focuses on Percy, demigoddess Annabeth and cowardly satyr Grover. The characters all have distinct, colourful personalities, and there is a good balance between the tweaking of original beings from mythology and the addition of author-created characters. The idea of summer camp for demigods is great, and the plot has various little twists and turns that make it something of a mystery story. Older readers might be able to second-guess some of the big reveals, but I must admit that I didn’t anticipate the ultimate “big villain”.
Overall, I found this book a quick, easy read. The quirky chapter titles are a nice touch, by favourite being “Three Old Ladies Knit the Socks of Death”. The descriptions of Olympus and the Underworld were good, and although it’s a little overdone in fantasy I also liked the mysterious prophecy told for Percy. Although the major conflict is solved by the end of the book, I was left feeling a little up in the air since Percy is left with plenty more to do and worry about. However, this only made me want to continue reading the story, so it is likely I will pick up a copy of book two the next time I happen to be stopping by at Olympus- or the nearest bookshop.
In Short: Fun take on traditional Greek mythology with colourful characters and plenty of monsters. A decent read. 7/10