Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Puffin Books
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a greek god.
I was just a normal kid, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. Now I spend my time battling monsters and generally trying to stay alive.
This is the one where Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks I've stolen his lightning bolt - and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea.(Goodreads summary.)
I finally decided to start the Percy Jackson series, only to discover that I had apparently already started it. According to Goodreads, I'd already read it about 2 or 4 years ago, and hadn't thought very highly of it. It had only got 2/5 stars from me and I had obviously felt no desire to continue the series. I decided to disregard that and start it again anyway, all of the love for the series had be itching to see what all the fuss was about. My final rating did improve, but only slightly.
If this series didn't have such a large amount of praise heaped upon it, and it hadn't been recommended by people I trust, I would not continue on after The Lightning Thief. In my opinion, it's just not that strong a start to the series. I will be continuing on in the hopes that it gets better the further into the series you get. I also had to think about the fact it's technically middle grade and, apart from my never ending rereads of the Harry Potter series, I don't really read middle grade books any more.
When I started it, I started to remember parts of it and realised that I had in fact read it before. I was really enjoying the book though, I couldn't understand why I had only given it 2/5 stars the first time I read it. I liked Percy as a character, I thought he had a lot of potential and I could see why so many people loved him. The story was coming along nicely, everything was introduced quite quickly and there was a lot of action. Why had I disliked it so much that first time?
|Me by the halfway point.|
The other thing that I have to note when reviewing this book, even though I am sure it's been mentioned a million times before, is the amount of similarities between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Come on, just down to the very way the books are titled. It's clear to see that the Percy Jackson series was marketed and named in such a way as to cash in on the success of Harry Potter. That doesn't bother me, it happens all the time in terms of books, movies and TV shows. But I jsut wish there hadn't been so many similarities, because then it makes Percy Jackson seem really unoriginal.
Yes, I know, ones about witches and wizards, the other is about Greek Gods. That doesn't mean that Percy Jackson doesn't take a lot of inspiration from Harry Potter. It really does. From the titles to it's main characters to everything else. Both have three main characters, two guys and a girl. The main characters both have black hair and green eyes. The girl is a total know-it-all. The main character lives with people who treat them like crap - Smelly Gabe in PJ and the Dursley's in HP. There's a prophecy about the main character, one that no one will tell them about. One book contains an invisibility cloak, the other an invisibility cap. Both contain a magical school or camp that is split into different Houses. In both they leave the school or camp to go back in real world and ignore magical world - PJ it's during the school year and HP it's during the summer. And don't get me started on the baddie of the series. And there are more but I don't really have the energy to go into them. I had to look up interviews from Rick Riordan to see if he had ever addressed the issue and he had. Mostly he talks about how he wanted to write a series that would impact kids the way Harry Potter did, as there was a gap for that (full answer here). So I believe the similarities are intentional, I just wish there weren't quite so many.
I got to the end of the book and just felt very disappointed. The first half was very good, it just gets far too repetitive as it goes on. I started to get bored and had to force myself to finish. It's a series that I will continue, so I really hope it gets better as the books go on. I hope it takes less and less inspiration from HP and becomes a bit more original. And, please, don't let it repeat the same storyline over and over. If that happens in the next book, I will be rage quitting the whole Percy Jackson series.
Sadly, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief isn't anything special. It starts off quite well but suffers from being a much longer book than is necessary. It uses the same scenario 6 or 7 times, which gets old very quickly. It has a strong beginning and the bonus of having introduced some interesting characters that I want to know more about. It has a lot of similarities to Harry Potter, which I expected as it's aimed at the same market as HP. I just felt very disappointed at the end of the book, I hope the series improves over time.