Percy Jackson #1: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Read: 3 June, 2014

Percy Jackson has ADHD and dyslexia, and trouble always seems to follow him. Worse yet, he’s about to be kicked out of school again. That’s when he finds out that the gods (and monsters) of ancient Greece are real, and he’s stuck right in the middle of their machinations.

I noticed a lot of similarities with Harry Potter, beyond what could reasonably be considered a coincidence. Things like characters freaking out of the names of certain gods are said out loud, the prophecy that the mentor figure won’t divulge, the comically awful step/adoptive family, Fluffy, even the configuration and traits of the two friends (brainy girl and comic friend). Not that that’s really a problem. The book never felt derivative – it worked, it was interesting, it used the material for good.

I absolutely loved that the main character has ADHD and dyslexia – and, especially, that these are not just superficial traits but actually come up again and again in the way that Percy thinks. I’ve recommended Harry Potter to kids with prominent facial scars as a way of helping them think of the scars as something cool and unique (as someone with a very visible scar myself, I made up a lot of cool origin stories). I’ll be recommending Percy Jackson to kids with learning disabilities or ADHD.

As for the story itself, I enjoyed it. It was a little painful to wait for Percy to figure out plot twists. I mean, yeah, the woman with the head scarf emitting hissing noises and all the life-sized statues of people on her front lawn is Medusa. Shocking. Though I think my reading may not be representative, since I am both a) an adult and b) a mythology enthusiast.

Even with its issues, Lightning Thief was a fun and exciting book, perfect for reading out loud or for early novel readers.

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Other books in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series:

  1. The Lightning Thief
  2. The Sea of Monsters
  3. The Titan’s Curse
  4. The Battle of the Labyrinth
  5. The Last Olympian

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