Twelve year old Percy Jackson is about to be expelled from school again. Somehow he always gets in trouble at whichever boarding school his mom sendsTwelve year old Percy Jackson is about to be expelled from school again. Somehow he always gets in trouble at whichever boarding school his mom sends him to, and his ADHD and dyslexia doesn’t make things any easier. As hard as it is to believe, being expelled is the least of his worries. Lately the weather is acting strangely and creepy monsters seem to be following him. His best friend turns out to be a satyr, his mother disappears in a flash of light in a “car accident” and, oh by the way, he also finds out his father is Poseidon, the Greek god of the seas.
A lot of people compare this series to the Harry Potter series. There are definitely similarities, but the differences outweigh them greatly. For one, Harry Potter has a constant element of “seriousness” in it, whereas Percy Jackson & The Olympians is all humor and fun. The Lightning Thief stars an impulsive and somewhat cynical boy who gets thrown into a myriad of hilarious situations while trying to unfold a mystery: Someone has stolen Zeus’ master lightning bolt and is trying to frame Percy and Poseidon for it. In an effort to clear his own name, Percy embarks on a journey with his satyr best friend Grover and another demigod (or “half blood”), Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena, to the entrance of the Underworld (located in … Los Angelos!) to confront Hades, who they believe is the thief. Percy is a likable main character who almost always has something funny to say, although most of the time he isn’t trying to be intentionally funny. He’s extremely fluent in sarcasm.
A lot of places (such as my local library) have this book in the Young Adults section, but I seriously think it’s more of a children’s book (age 10+ maybe). I’ve never seen the movie, but the trailer makes the story appear to be “serious”. It’s not. The plot is charmingly juvenile in many ways; for example, the scene where Percy and his friends walk into a water-bed shop only to be captured by the crazy salesman who ties them to the water-beds and tries stretch their bodies to the exact length of the bed. It’s something a younger person would find funny (I found it amusing, probably because I’m a kid at heart but I know some people will probably just roll their eyes). Anyway, the plot is funny and is intended to be silly (at least, I think so) and moves at a decently brisk pace.
If you like Greek mythology, and don’t mind the idea of ‘modernizing’ them (think Ares on a motorcycle, or Poseidon dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and carrying a fishing pole), then you’ll probably like this book. Greek mythology isn’t all togas and white pillars and people sitting around on clouds in the sky in this series. I found this book to be a fun, fast read and I can’t wait to read the next one in the series.