Title: The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books
Published: 1 March 2006
Oh, Camp Half-Blood, how I have missed you! I decided at the beginning of the year that I wanted to re-read the Percy Jackson series, and to then go on and read the other series from Rick Riordan. I absolutely forgot how much I love this book!
Percy Jackson is a good kid or well he tries to be. He can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. Lately, Percy being away at boarding school is only getting worse. Percy could’ve sworn that his algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him, but the other teachers and students and even his best friend all say that that algebra teacher never existed.
Percy does manage to finish out the school year and head back home to his mom and his step-dad Smelly Gabe. Percy’s mom decides they need a vacation, just Percy and his mom, no Gabe. But while there, Percy’s mom knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe: Camp Half-Blood.
Yet, while they try to get there a Minotaur chases them and Percy’s mom sacrifices herself. Once at Camp Half-Blood Percy starts realizing that a lot of the things that got him into trouble at school was due to his demigod genes. Soon, he actually beings to belong someplace, but then his dad, Poseidon (one of the Big three Gods) claims Percy as his son, which means now he’s alone again at Camp Half-Blood.
Then a quest comes up for Percy. And he is joined by his best friend from school, a satyr, Grover, and another demigod daughter of Athena, Annabeth. They set out on a quest to find Zeus’s lightning bolt that leads them across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood, which #accurate) to prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.
I remember reading this book the first time when I was in middle school (I’m pretty sure it was in 7th grade but it may have been 8th grade) and being completely pulled into the world. The story was fascinating, especially as someone who was already into Greek mythology and finding the twists to the myths I already knew so much fun.
Re-reading it as an adult did change some aspects, as well as make me think of all the twists that were going to come up in the end in different ways (I’m looking at you, Luke). But the feelings that came up when I first read it as a young child was still present as an adult, and that is what stands the test of time.
Also, it was great reading a book by an author who is NOT a TERF and one who recognizes intersectionality, supports Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ peoples, and diversity in general and actually has diversity in his later books because he learns. So, read Rick Riordan if you want the feelings that Harry Potter used to give you (I haven’t been able to read or watch Harry Potter since last summer, as it just gives me a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach).
Happy Reading Darlings!
P.S. This was Rick Riordan’s response after George Floyd’s murder (click here).