Bionic Jean's Reviews > Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel

Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief by Robert Venditti
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"Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek god."

This review is for Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel, which has been adapted by Robert Vendetti from Rick Riordan's novel, the first in the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series. The art work is by Attila Futaki and Jose Villarrubia.

The advertising blurb says, "Percy Jackson, half boy, half god, all hero." It certainly sounded exciting. In fact though, it is rather a disappointing read. The premise is that twelve-year-old Percy is the son of a mortal woman and Poseidon, god of the sea. He lives with his natural mother, and her partner, who is a classic layabout thug. The action starts in a museum, where an apparently paraplegic teacher is lecturing the class about the Greek gods. Soon however, supernatural events start to happen, and Percy is sent to a summer camp for "halfbloods" or demigods like himself. There he is given a unique quest, which only he can perform, to retrieve Zeus's missing lightning bolt from Hades. He chooses two friends, predictably one male and one spunky female, to prevent an imminent war between the gods, Zeus and Poseidon.

Not having read the original novel, and having given up on the film, perhaps I was expecting too much from this graphic novel. It may be that if you are already an enthusiast for the series, this reminder may be an enjoyable read. But the illustrations were sketchily drawn, and the colouring not particularly original or interesting. So the story seemed too formulaic for my taste, and the illustrations, which I had hoped would carry it along, just didn't. Even the print seemed rather small for this type of work, and difficult to read, sometimes being the reverse of the convention, such as white type on a green background.

There are a lot of action sequences, many of which are very violent, but since the reader has not had the opportunity to engage with any of the supernatural creatures, there is no build-up and just as Greek figures and legends are name-dropped into the mix, it all seems rather haphazard and random. Fights do not seem to be very exciting or suspenseful. At one point one of the three main characters actually says, "Deux ex machina anyone?" and at that point I admit I did have a little chuckle. But in the main, the "flip" element, where everything is played for laughs, or with a knowing air, leaves me cold.

All the hallmarks of a typical teenage read are here. Problems at school, in this case dyslexia, a home life which could be just perfect - if only... There is one "good" parent, and one "bad". There are "monsters" whom only our hero can defeat. There is a baddie, who turns out to be trustworthy after all - and a "friend" who is revealed to be the exact opposite. There is an unusual girl, clearly destined to be a possible romantic interest for our hero.

It could have been so much better. And there may be much that has been missed out of Rick Riordan's novel, as it is possible to read this graphic novel in about an hour. So perhaps that would be a good read. There are some great stories in the Greek myths, and a new take on them is certainly an attractive idea. Possibly the original novel is exciting and has more appeal. This, however, does not.
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Reading Progress

June 1, 2014 – Started Reading
June 1, 2014 – Shelved
June 2, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Charbel (new)

Charbel Haven't read this, but I have read the original novel. It was good. The writing wasn't extraordinary, but I kept reminding myself that it wasn't meant to be a literary masterpiece. It was just meant to draw kids to mythology.


Bionic Jean Yes, I'm sure it must be better, Charbel. Thanks for the heads-up :)


Arnell Pulido You should totally read the nook. Because i know that there are like a lot of scenes that a reader who haven't read the books won't understand because of how the illustrator (or whoever did it) did not explain. The books are really great though. They are my favorite series.


Bionic Jean Thanks Arnell, I suspected that the original would be much better, and now two people have confirmed this. It's a shame really.

I notice that you have one of the "Harry Potter" series on your shelves. That's a good example, I think, of how both book and film can succeed in different ways. The books are always going to be better, but the films are great too :)


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