The Lightning Thief

Posted by : atcampbell | On : December 5, 2007

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

This meeting at the North Village Library attracted seven participants, including two first-timers. Our topic was The Lightning Thief, a young adult fantasy by San Antonio author Rick Riordan. The book is a modern-day tale about an adolescent boy, Percy Jackson, raised by his mother and an unpleasant stepfather. Percy discovers that his absent father is a Greek God, and that supernatural creatures are out to get him. This leads him to a summer camp for “half-bloods” and eventually to a big adventure.  Two of us had read Riordan’s prior books, which are mystery novels.  Everyone at the meeting started and finished The Lightning Thief.

We enjoyed how this book revisited classic Greek mythology. It was fun to read about what gods do now vs. what they did in the past. We felt that much of this material might be new to a kid in its target age range.  One person appreciated the underworld being located in Los Angeles. Another liked the modern twist of wings on sneakers.

We liked Percy and his cohorts. They were flawed and likeable, but not too reminiscent of Harry Potter and his friends. We liked Percy’s mother and appreciated the final fate of his evil stepfather.

We admired Riordan’s efficient writing style that was always clear and never boring. We felt that this book is well-suited to its audience, children with short attention spans.  We appreciated the whimsical tone. Several of us reported finishing the book in either one or two sittings. One person commented that this is close to the best children’s fiction she’s read. She thought Riordan‘s story followed classic fiction tropes.

Several of us reported giving copies of this book to our early-teen children, nieces, and nephews. This has proven to be a popular gift, often passed around among groups of friends.

We found The Lightning Thief to be fun for kids of all ages. It was perfect holiday reading.  One member said that she plans to read future books in the series when she needs cheering up.

After the meeting, several of us had a nice dinner at Conan’s.

—A. T. Campbell, III