The Lightning Thief ***H***

My agent suggested that I read The Lightning Thief because I’m writing a Middle Grade book and the pacing in this MG series is considered perfect.

The books are exciting page turners. I also adore this series because it’s all about the gods and goddesses from the Greek myths (existing above modern day Manhattan.) I loved the Greek myths as a kid and love them now. I’ve heard the Greek myths described as the narratives of the patriarchy taking over the matriarchy. I don’t know if that’s true, but I can see why the theory exists. There are many strong, cool females in those myths– many more than we have in books or movies that dominate the culture in 2012. The women of the Greek myths are also beautiful and smart and strong– a combination pretty forbidden nowadays. But the men rule. That is true in this series as well.

Our hero is Percy. He is the son of Poseidon, the sea god. Percy, like all heroes, is a half-blood: half god and half human. I like this kid. He’s smart, funny, resourceful, sweet, and humble. He, like many modern day heroes in kidworld, has a smart, strong girl sidekick: Annabeth, daughter of Athena. She helps him along on his quest. There’s quite a lot of talk in this book about “the big three:” Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. Those are the three most powerful gods whose children are the most powerful heroes. If you read this series with your kids, I suggest discussing with them why the goddesses aren’t allowed to be in the big three and why that’s not fair, beyond their specific roles in the myths.

Besides Annabeth, there are other strong females in this series.

I recommend reading it to your sons and daughters. I’d love to recommend many more companion books where the boys help the girls along on their quests.

My eight year daughter tore through this series and said she liked it better than Harry Potter (but that could’ve been because she was done with HP– she lives in the present.)

Reel Girl rates The Lighting Thief ***H***

13 thoughts on “The Lightning Thief ***H***

  1. I have only read the second Percy Jackson book, which I was sent for review, but I had some major problems with it. In short, I felt it was a castration anxiety in a dust jacket (vampire cheerleaders?). All the female characters were either Good Girls who fall in love with Our Hero or monsters who want to devour him. The way he would unblinkingly give orders and make decisions, and do anything but what Annabeth told him, when it was HER QUEST was obnoxious. Not to mention the gobsmackingly racist portrayal of the winged horse, who talks in hackneyed ghetto-speak and (I still can’t quite believe something so crass was let pass by the editor) kept calling him “boss”.

    It makes me sad that the bar is set so low that any book with more than one girl, and any girl who is neither a love interest nor a mother, we will cling to whatever other failings it may have.

    • Orlando,

      I don’t understand your email: what vampire cheerleaders? In Book 2? I don’t remember any character that fell in love with Percy. Are you thinking about the movie?? Nor did I get anything racist about the winged horse? Again, book or movie?


      • It was “The Battle of the Labyrinth”, which I thought was the second book, but looking at their website now it looks as if it was further along than that. It starts with him going to a school and being attacked by “empousai” cheerleaders. The representation of Calypso later in the book made me quite queasy. It was Annabeth’s quest, but not only does Percy disobey all her instructions, but when Grover wants to run off on a tangent, Percy takes it on himself to give him the ok, when it shouldn’t have been his call.

        He has a black horse called “Blackjack” who says “Yo” a lot and calls Percy “boss”. I’m sure it’s clumsiness, rather than a specific intention, but someone should have pointed out to him that it reads really, really badly.

  2. For wanting to read companion books where boys help the girls along have you read The Immortals series by Tamora Peirce? It follows a girl, Daine, who is a young teenager who has animal magic who is taught by the gratest (male) mage in the realm.

    I particularly love that world it is set in is full of female heros and male scholars.

  3. P.S., in pointing out there were no female penguins in M3 you were much more polite that those who comment of SFGate. You get my thumbs up for that (grin). -Fred

    • Fred,

      I am happy to debate my argument. I’m not interested in personal attacks and the grammar/ punctuation comments are tiresome and I will delete. (Though I am impressed by your diligence, and others, in combing through my text.)


  4. Oh, and my 11-year-old daughter loves Riordan’s books, too. She was 9 when she first read them. Now she is reading his Egyptian series, and the new Olympian series.

  5. I loved The Lightning Thief and the other books in Rick Riordan’s Olympian series. What I disliked is the Hollywood twist, making all of the kids older, and Percy and Annabeth hormone-driven teenage love interests. Twelve is a good age to grow, learn, and have adventures. A good story doesn’t have to be a teen love story–just be a GOOD STORY.

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