Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
First of all, you should know that I made the mistake of watching the movie first before reading the book. And of course, not having known the full book story, I loved the film completely (well of course, Logan Lerman being one of the reasons why). But then I have this friend who has been forcing me to read the series since last year. He told me that the movie is a complete thrash compared to the novels.
So now, a year later, here I am, totally hating myself for even liking the movie adaptation of this book. The movie plot was very different from the book. It’s like they just took the characters and wrote a whole new storyline. The adventures, the deaths, the problems, and a lot more were completely different. Even the age of the main characters was wrong. I mean, does Logan Lerman even look like a twelve-year-old? Okay, enough of the complaints and let’s move on to the review.
Percy Jackson is a twelve-year-old sixth grader who is diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. He is irritable, and he couldn’t control his impulsive behavior. The dyslexia made it hard for him to read and understand his lessons and this resulted to failing marks. And so, Percy might be kicked out from his boarding school, again.
And then, one field trip to the museum revealed the truth about him when he was attacked by his math teacher, well actually, a monster disguised as his teacher. He is a demigod, a half-god, son of one of the gods of Olympus. Suddenly, it all became clear that his problems were actually his talents. The dyslexia was due to the fact that his brain is hardwired to understand ancient Greek writings. The ADHD are manifestations of his advanced reflexes, useful in battles. These would all seem to be a good thing if not for the mythical monsters and demons running after him, wanting him dead.
In turns out that he was the prime suspect for a crime done to the most powerful Olympian god, Zeus. But Percy has no clue as to why he was blamed for the theft of the master lightning bolt, Zeus’ most important weapon. Nevertheless, he must go on a quest to find the lightning bolt and prove his innocence before the gods wage war to each other, endangering the mortal world. Together with his friends, he must know who the real suspect was and stop the possible war, in just ten days.
Okay, so as I’ve said the book was very different from the movie. I don’t want to spoil the whole story for those who haven’t read the book yet, so I leave you to your own disappointment when you finally read this book. All I can say is that I don’t know how the movie producers are planning to make sequel since some important events in the book were removed and replaced in the movie.
As for my opinion on the book, I can say that I seriously enjoyed it. I am a big fan of fantasy novels and this one has one special trail that I loved: its reference to Greek mythology. I’ve already talked about how much I am attracted to mythologies in my past post, and so the all the allusions this book have to all those Greek gods and goddesses immediately got me hooked. The story was brimming with intense action sequences that got me more excited. Also, the plot twists would have been surprising, had I not watched the movie first.
Well aside from all the magical stuff, I loved the way it portrayed family problems. Of course, in the book, the demigods have both mortal and god parents. This means that they only spent their life with only one of their parents. And I can empathize with how these characters felt, growing up without my dad. They all struggle with the abandonment they felt. Because of this, they felt the need to seek acceptance and approval from the Olympian gods and goddesses, who are their parents. They even put themselves in dangerous quests just to prove that they are worthy of their parents’ titles.
All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book and I’m hoping to finish all the books in the series before school starts. But I just have one problem. No matter how hard I try, I can’t help but find Harry Potter similarities in the book. First is Percy’s appearance. He is a twelve-year-old boy with jet-black hair and sea green eyes. Sounds familiar, right? The only things missing are the glasses and the scar. Then their Trio was made up of Annabeth, daughter of Athena—very intelligent girl—and Grover, a satyr who seem to be very cowardly but otherwise, loyal and useful. They somehow remind me of Ron and Hermione. Oh well, maybe this is just my obsession with Harry Potter messing with my head. But seriously, ignoring those parallels, this book is good and very much adventure-filled. It can stand alone and the plot is different from Harry Potter. I give it an overall 4.5/5.