Author Rick Riordan
Publisher Miramax Books
Teaser/Reader Annotation Percy Jackson believed himself to be an ordinary boy, just one with a few learning disabilities. Imagine his surprise when he discovered he had Poseidon as a father.
Plot Summary Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Lightening Thief is about Percy Jackson, an ADHD and dyslexic young boy who finds himself caught up in the complications of Greek mythology’s pantheon. He comes to realize that he is special when, suddenly, his math teacher attacks him, revealing herself as one of the Furies. Still unaware as his status as a demi-god, he goes home. His mother, deciding to give him a break from his unfair stepfather, takes him on a camping trip. There he learns that one of his friends is actually a satyr, and he warns him that the Furies are out to kill him. Though Percy’s mother attempts to flee with him for protection, a Minotaur attacks them, and Percy’s mother dissolves into light. Percy, now at Camp Half-Blood, is looked after but is soon attacked by the children of Ares. Stepping into a river, he’s surprised to find he’s healed and it’s revealed that he is the child of Poseidon (which explained his ADHD and dyslexia), and the threat on Percy’s life is because Poseidon was supposed to cease having children with mortal women.
Granted the chance to prove himself, Percy is sent to find Zeus’s master bolt which they believe was stolen by Hades. On this quest Percy and his friends encounter many Greek mythology figures like Medusa and Ares, but manage to make it to Hades. They soon learn, however, that Ares tricked them and put the bolt in Percy’s backpack so as to make him look like thief. He now must discover who the real thief is.
Critical Evaluation The first of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series features a creative story line and fast pace that will draw readers in and hook them quickly on the collection. It is a quick read full of action and unexpected plot twists to keep readers guessing and interested. The book has a Harry Potter feel to it at first wherein an ordinary boy discovers that he has magical powers and is taken away from the world he knows to be trained at a remote school with others like him. It quickly distinguishes itself, however, through the use of classic mythology. It is an interesting take on the Greek gods and one that readers can learn from. The scholastic background is enough to be informative but not overwhelming so as to drive away readers, providing a solid, basic overview of the gods. Initially, the sheer amount of names and characters thrown at the reader can be off-putting, but everything sorts itself over time. Amazingly, even characters that were annoying in the beginning are relateable enough to connect to as they grow through the novel. This low-grade reading level book will satisfy readers from middle school through adults.
About the Author Rick Riordan was born June 5, 1964 in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from high school in 1982 and went on to University of Texas, Austin where he double-majored in English and History. After college he taught for fifteen years in both Texas and California and was awarded St. Mary Hall's first Master Teacher Award in 2002.
His first writing attempt, Tres Navarre, was a mystery series for adults which won multiple awards and granted him recognition within the writing community. His most famous collection, however, is the five book young adult series Percy Jackson and the Olympians which also has several spin-offs.
Primary Genre Fantasy
Secondary Genre Action/Adventure
Curriculum Ties English
Discuss how Riordan made the Greek gods relateable. Was it more enjoyable learning about them this way than the method used in your history class?
Reading Level/Interest Age Low-Grade reading level
Challenge Issues None.
1) Become familiar with book and its content.
2) Refer to library's collection policies.
3) Refer to reviews from School Library Journal, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobles.
4) Get reviews from teenagers who are familiar with the book.
5) Refer to the ALA Library Bill of Rights.
Why is it included? This is a very popular series with readers of all ages right now. It was recently made into a movie which, although badly done, inspired more people to read the novels.