The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1)

Lightning thief cover imageSummary: A young teen discovers that he is a demigod and that he (and a few others) have to go on a quest to stop a war between the gods.

I think this is my first re-read of a Rick Riordan book. Because of the new Disney+ series, I read this book with my son and then watched the series. My daughter opted out of the book after the first chapter or so because she was not a fan of the monsters.

This series has a lot of monsters, it is part of the greek mythology genre. My son was not bothered by the monsters, but if you have a child sensitive to fantasy violence, you will want to avoid both the book and the Disney+ show.

The book is a little formulaic. The “chosen one” has a hard life until they discover that they are this other person and have been hiding. There is a reveal of their real identity, often due to either an attack or a revealed power. And then there is a quest or task that they need to do (and that no one else can do) to save the world.

The Disney+ series stays closer to the original story than the older movie did. But it there are variances with the story and a few things that I wonder at why they changed details from the books. On the whole I thought the adaptation was faithful and the changes were reasonable.

The writing is easy enough that my third grader could read on his own, although we mostly read together or listened to the audiobook in the car. I was a bit surprised by how much Greek mythology my kids have picked up through various media. While my son and I were reading this, my daughter binged all of the Hercules cartoons. There were a lot of overlapping characters between those two, so my son and daughter have been discussing Greek mythology and seeing the Greek roots of other stories. Having some background in Greek mythology helps to understand other books since so many books or movies riff off of those older mythology tropes.

I generally liked the book a bit less this time because it felt more formulaic on the second reading. But I liked the Disney+ series and think the storytelling and visual effects were well done.

It is a bit off-topic, but I was a fan of the Disney+ series Iwáj, Iwájú at least in part because it told a unique story without some of the more well-worn young adult/pre-teen tropes.

The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition, Audiobook

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