Saturday, February 27, 2010

Show Me 5 Saturday - The Lightning Thief

I have enjoyed reading Jenners' Show Me 5 posts  and have decided to play along for a second week in a row.  The meme was originally started by A Novel Idea, but I think Jenners is now the primary host for this event at her blog, Find Your Next Book Here.

The concept is to review a book in 5 short, easy steps:

1 Book Read:  The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Words that describe the book:  Mythological adventure
Settings where the book took place and/or characters that you meet:
  • Percy Jackson - a 6th grader with ADHD who happens to be the half-blood son of Poseidon, Greek god of the sea.  He is accompanied by two other friends: Grover Underwood, who happens to be a satyr, trying desperately to become a searcher so that he can begin a quest for Pan; and another half-blood, Annabeth Chase, the daughter of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom.
  • The Empire State Building doubles as Mount Olympus, the home of Zeus, the Greek god of the sky.
  • The ROA recording studio in Los Angeles doubles as the modern-day location of Hades.
4 Things that you like and/or dislike about the book
  • I like the fact that the book does not demand a knowledge of Greek mythology in order to appreciate its story.  
  • I like the fact that the book not only entertains the reader with a fast-paced action adventure story, but it actually educates the reader.  There is enough information given about the Greek gods and goddesses to allow the reader to relate to the story, while at the same time developing an interest in Greek mythology to make the reader want to learn more on his own. 
  • I like the fact that the book is accessible to many different readers.  Those who struggle with reading will appreciate the simple, straight-forward writing style, the fast-paced action, and the 12 year old humor.  Those who are more advanced in reading will enjoy the layers of thematic development (particularly the Quest archetype and the transformation of protagonist from ordinary boy to brave hero), along with the fantastical setting of ancient Greece in modern day America.
  • I dislike the notion that this series is comparable to Harry Potter.  While I can understand why the comparison is made, I think that this set up a level of expectation in my mind that could not be met.  This is a fine series and will be enjoyed by many - but reviewers need to let it stand on its own.
5 Stars or less for a rating:  4 out of 5.  I did like this story very much and may one day read the rest of the series.  However I was not completely enthralled with these characters the way I instantly became attached to Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  I think if I had not had the seed planted from the beginning that there was some kind of comparison to be made --- I may have been more inclined to give a higher rating.


  1. This book is wildly popular in the kids library at school, which is nice to see. I've not read it, and my daughter quit reading it about a third of the way through (!? book critic in the making). We did go see the movie, which was OK. Not great, but entertaining. I did not realize that Hades was in a LA recording studio! That did not come across on film. That is hilarious!

  2. I really like the Percy Jackson series. And, I think you are right in questioning the wisdom of comparisons to Harry Potter. This is a different sort of series. It's not as complicated and, yet, it tells a good story and creates a wonderful world of fantasy all it's own. I loved all the Greek mythology references and I applaud the fact that it is causing kids to think that reading those myths is fun.

  3. I really enjoyed your Show Me 5 and this book is wildly popular at my library and the kids just love it! I wouldn't be a good librarian unless I read it!! So this book is on my pile for Spring Break!!

  4. My son who's a senior in college, listened to the audio version of this book on his way home for Christmas and he just loved it. It sounds like this is a book that will appeal to all ages.

  5. I must be really out of it. I haven't read or even heard of this book. I'll have to quiz my granddaughter (11 and a book-a-holic) about this one. I like how you did the Show Me 5.

  6. Great to have another participant for Show me 5 and I hope more will join in.
    I don't know your book but I'll have to check and see if my grandchildren have read it.

  7. Hey Molly, glad you joined us in the Show me 5! Isn't this a lot of fun? I've never heard of this author or book either but I like the fact that you don't need to be well versed in Greek mythology to enjoy the story.

  8. Great review ... I love seeing the teacher in your make an appearance in your assessment of the book.

  9. I really enjoyed this book and my son who is 10 has read the entire series several times. I felt the movie was OK, but lacking in many ways.

    I agree the comparison to Harry Potter is unfair. It is a different type of book all together. However, I do think it compares to Harry in the interest it has sparked in reading among kids and that is never a bad thing :-)


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