The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (book and movie Review)

Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school . . . again. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t seem to stay out of trouble. But can he really be expected to stand by and watch while a bully picks on his scrawny best friend? Or not defend himself against his pre-algebra teacher when she turns into a monster and tries to kill him? Of course, no one believes Percy about the monster incident; he’s not even sure he believes himself.

Until the Minotaur chases him to summer camp.

Suddenly, mythical creatures seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. The gods of Mount Olympus, he’s coming to realize, are very much alive in the twenty-first century. And worse, he’s angered a few of them: Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy has just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property, and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. On a daring road trip from their summer camp in New York to the gates of the Underworld in Los Angeles, Percy and his friends–one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena–will face a host of enemies determined to stop them. To succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of failure and betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

ψ ψ     ψ     ψ     ψ     ψ     ψ

Before I begin my review… I would like to share with you why I read this book.  Two words really:  Harry Potter.  I had heard that this could be compared to the likes of the phenomenon that is Harry Potter.

(Pause for dramatic effect)

Now I know it is not safe for me (not even in the comforts of my own home) to say that I am the biggest Harry Potter fan that ever lived.  No doubt as soon as those words would leave my fingertips, you would hear later that I was found dead next to my lap top having been strangled with a gryffindor scarf.  Or, OR – I may find myself suffering from one of the three unforgivable curses.  So instead I will just say that I am a real admirer of JK Rowling’s work and find the whole Harry Potter world fascinating.


That being said, a book that is to be in the likes of the former mentioned was one that had to be read.  I picked up this book, The Lightning Thief and was prepared for the adventure.

In the first part of the book I was surprised to find it written in such a young way.  The wording was kiddish and while this is a book written for 9 – 12 year olds, I immediately felt that this was not going to be anywhere near the quick delightful wit of the Rowling Books.

My hope was to read the book and then see the movie but as I struggled through the first pages on the book I felt that maybe seeing the movie would help to jump-start the book for me.  So, I went and did something I would usually never do, before finishing the book, I went to the movie.  (more on that later)

The movie did what I had hoped it would – it made me want to complete the book version and along with comments I heard through my blog here and on Twitter that it was worth it to keep reading, that is would pick up…. I read on.

As the book turns toward the quest of Percy Jackson and his two unlikely friends, a daughter of a god and a satyr (half man half donkey), the book indeed took on a stronger appeal to me.  I found myself doing what I always do when I am really enjoying a book – it is with me everywhere I can hope to squeeze in a few minutes to read (the bathroom while I blow dry my hair, at the table while I eat breakfast, in the car for long stop lights and trains, and next to when I watch tv to pick up during commercials or during low-interest in what I am watching.

Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief has won the 2008 Young Adult Sequoyah Book Award.

Book recommended?  Yes…. just hang on through the slow start and kiddish language…. it gets better.

Will I continue with the series?  Jury is still out but I think if I can find the books I probably will just to see where they go.  I will not be reading them with the urgency I did the Harry Potter books, but I do admit I am curious to read what happens next.  (My nineteen year old son is on the fifth and last book of the series and loved them).


The movie was likable right from the start and didn’t have the slow uptake I felt the book had.  Incredible scenes led to my interest in finishing the book.  I thought the scenes at the Lotus Casino and the magic cookie were brilliant.  I like movies (and books) that are just smart in how they put things together.

I thought how it all came together at the end was a bit too neat…. I can’t give anything away here but it really was a quick act of putting everything in its proper place and kind of left me with a bit of “come on….”

Book  VS   MOVIE

I have to believe the internet is shouting about the huge differences between the movie and the book.  As I completed the book I was actually shocked on how different the two were in how the story unfolds, even the fact that the movie left out key characters and changed the outcome in so much I thought on the spoiler page I would list them out.  I would love for anyone who have read the book and seen the movie to join me there for a “rant” about the differences and a chance to discuss in more depth what that was all about.

I purchased my copy of the book in Illinois at Borders

20 thoughts on “The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (book and movie Review)

    1. My son is raving about them Hannah. The first took a while for me to get into but it finished good. I am still not sure if I will make the time to finish them or not.

  1. I agree… the reading level on these are a bit lower than the Potter books. I’m like you– I’m not sure if I’m going to read the whole series, but I might give 1 or 2 more titles a try.


  2. Great review Sheila! I think I will give this first one a try, but it will be hard to compare to the wondrous Harry Potter books. Yes, I said it and I’ll shout it from the rooftops! I love Harry Potter! LOL!

    I’ll see the movie on DVD probably or at the $1.50 theater.

    1. No comparison Michelle! 🙂

      My son believes he likes them because he is so starved for a good read. He is home this weekend and I am sending him home with books to cure him LOL

  3. My son is working on this book, and I told him when he got done with it we will go see the movie. Needless to say, he is taking his time with it. I don’t think its the book reading as much as it is the length that worries him. He is afraid he will not remember enough as he reads through the book.

    I may pick up the book with him at some point here so we can talk about it as we go. I’ll see how he does on his own here.

    But, we are looking forward to the movie.

    1. Melissa the book does pick up but I thought the first part was written in a way that I found my mind wandering and thinking of other books…. tell him to hang in there it picks up and the movie is pretty good. 🙂

    1. Vicki you almost knocked me out of my chair here! Never read Potter???? 🙂

      It wasn’t my genre either – I read them to see what my kids were reading…. well, that’s how it started…. then I was hooked and I was reading them before my kids could finish them because they had school all day – ha ha!

  4. Pingback: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge « One Persons Journey through a world of Books

  5. Maria

    You guys are all crazy!
    Percy Jackson and the Olympians is the ABSOLUTE BEST book series I have read in my entire life! You may say the beginning is slow but you have no idea how wrong you are. I am 15 years old and I loved that book from the second I picked it up! It is that way because Riordan wanted it to sound like it was actually coming from a real kid, and he accomplished it to a tee. In Harry Potter, it just comes right out, without any real detail, and that bothers me. Riordan’s style of writing is to be admired greatly for its use of language, point- of-view,deep involvement of the reader, and something that anyone, adult or child can pick up and relate too, whether it be in the past or present. My opinion, there is no better book series than Percy Jackson, and we should thank the heavens for giving us an author who can write in as much depth as Riordan does. While Harry Potter is a decent series, he can never, never, EVER measure up to the miracle that is Percy Jackson and the Olympians!

  6. percy jackson freak

    I love both the Harry Potter series and the Percy Jackson series for different reasons. I would just like to point out (for future reference) that satyrs are HALF-GOAT not DONKEY!
    I think Rick Riordan managed really well to narrate the book as if he was a kid, and as the series progresses, and Percy gets older, the style of writing changes in a way Percy does.
    I can see that no one has commented in a while, but I’d like to say anyway. Percy Jackson is sooooo awesome! I’d ask everyone to read it, but not watch the movie, which was a let-down in my opionion.
    I’m nearly fourteen and I know that the age group which the PJ series was supposedly for (9- 11 I think) is false. Anyone and everyone will enjoy it!

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