Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan: Review

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)Title: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Puffin Books
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository

Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a greek god.
I was just a normal kid, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. Now I spend my time battling monsters and generally trying to stay alive.
This is the one where Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks I've stolen his lightning bolt - and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea.(Goodreads summary.)

I finally decided to start the Percy Jackson series, only to discover that I had apparently already started it. According to Goodreads, I'd already read it about 2 or 4 years ago, and hadn't thought very highly of it. It had only got 2/5 stars from me and I had obviously felt no desire to continue the series. I decided to disregard that and start it again anyway, all of the love for the series had be itching to see what all the fuss was about. My final rating did improve, but only slightly.

If this series didn't have such a large amount of praise heaped upon it, and it hadn't been recommended by people I trust, I would not continue on after The Lightning Thief. In my opinion, it's just not that strong a start to the series. I will be continuing on in the hopes that it gets better the further into the series you get. I also had to think about the fact it's technically middle grade and, apart from my never ending rereads of the Harry Potter series, I don't really read middle grade books any more.

When I started it, I started to remember parts of it and realised that I had in fact read it before. I was really enjoying the book though, I couldn't understand why I had only given it 2/5 stars the first time I read it. I liked Percy as a character, I thought he had a lot of potential and I could see why so many people loved him. The story was coming along nicely, everything was introduced quite quickly and there was a lot of action. Why had I disliked it so much that first time?


Me by the halfway point.
And then it went on, and on, and on, and on. This book, even though it's only 370 or so pages long, just felt like the book that never ended. It's far too large a book for what it actually is. It's no surprise to me that the next book is 110 pages shorter, The Lightning Thief should have been that length too. But the main reason the length of the book is such a huge issue, is the fact that this book just repeats the same storyline over and over again. It gets really dull. I lost count of the number of times that Percy and his friends came across someone who seemed perfectly normal, only to turn out to be a monster determined to kill them. They would then quickly defeat the monster, move on and have the process repeat itself wherever they ended up next. That probably happens at least 6 or 7 times in this book. It's ridiculous and gets pretty tedious.

The other thing that I have to note when reviewing this book, even though I am sure it's been mentioned a million times before, is the amount of similarities between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Come on, just down to the very way the books are titled. It's clear to see that the Percy Jackson series was marketed and named in such a way as to cash in on the success of Harry Potter. That doesn't bother me, it happens all the time in terms of books, movies and TV shows. But I jsut wish there hadn't been so many similarities, because then it makes Percy Jackson seem really unoriginal.


Yes, I know, ones about witches and wizards, the other is about Greek Gods. That doesn't mean that Percy Jackson doesn't take a lot of inspiration from Harry Potter. It really does. From the titles to it's main characters to everything else. Both have three main characters, two guys and a girl. The main characters both have black hair and green eyes. The girl is a total know-it-all. The main character lives with people who treat them like crap - Smelly Gabe in PJ and the Dursley's in HP.  There's a prophecy about the main character, one that no one will tell them about. One book contains an invisibility cloak, the other an invisibility cap. Both contain a magical school or camp that is split into different Houses. In both they leave the school or camp to go back in real world and ignore magical world - PJ it's during the school year and HP it's during the summer. And don't get me started on the baddie of the series. And there are more but I don't really have the energy to go into them. I had to look up interviews from Rick Riordan to see if he had ever addressed the issue and he had. Mostly he talks about how he wanted to write a series that would impact kids the way Harry Potter did, as there was a gap for that (full answer here). So I believe the similarities are intentional, I just wish there weren't quite so many.

I got to the end of the book and just felt very disappointed. The first half was very good, it just gets far too repetitive as it goes on. I started to get bored and had to force myself to finish. It's a series that I will continue, so I really hope it gets better as the books go on. I hope it takes less and less inspiration from HP and becomes a bit more original. And, please, don't let it repeat the same storyline over and over. If that happens in the next book, I will be rage quitting the whole Percy Jackson series.


3/5 Butterflies

Sadly, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief isn't anything special. It starts off quite well but suffers from being a much longer book than is necessary. It uses the same scenario 6 or 7 times, which gets old very quickly. It has a strong beginning and the bonus of having introduced some interesting characters that I want to know more about. It has a lot of similarities to Harry Potter, which I expected as it's aimed at the same market as HP. I just felt very disappointed at the end of the book, I hope the series improves over time. 


10 comments:

  1. You know you are right, I think the H.P. series does have a...I don't know, presence in these stories, although still very much different at the same time. I am sad you didn't like this a bit more though. I loved all of Percy's humor in them.

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    1. I didn't seem to get Percy's humour, but I don't know why. I think sometimes it can read like the author is trying too hard to make a character funny. I don't know. I am going to continue the series and see if I like it the further I get with it.

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  2. Huh. I loved this book when I read it, but I also read it when I was in 8th grade. I never realized the similarities. Probably because I read Harry Potter way before this. What I loved about the Percy Jackson's books was his sarcasm and jokes--being inside his head was fun for me.

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    1. I want to really get the jokes and his humour, but it's not worked for me so far. I think it's because he feels so young. I will continue and hope I love it more the longer I read it.

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  3. 3 stars is good. 3 is what I gave The Lightning Thief and to be honest, I hadn't considered ALL the similarities. I mean, I knew there was some, but how many? I hadn't noticed and I confess, that really doesn't bother me as much as as other people. Continue. Sea of Monsters is so much better in my opinion, Titans Curse dips, but then it's up and up! I truly believe with the next book, you'll enjoy it, there's much more action! :D ..omg, I've become a fangirl!

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    1. Haha, I love your fangirling. I thought Sea of Monsters was okay but it still feels very young to me. I am planning to continue and hope I love it more with the next couple of books.

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  4. If the "repeating plotline" is what bothered you the most with this series (and I can understand that, though I do really love these books), you're probably not going to enjoy the rest of the series much more than the first book. Especially if you make it through this first series and start into its companion series: THE HEROES OF OLYMPUS. At every book's core is the exact same plot structure, and that doesn't change. For me, I liked the characters, the humor, and Riordan's twists on the legends enough that I was able to ignore the recycled plotline. Just be aware that that aspect doesn't change.

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    1. Oh dear, that doesn't give me much hope for the series. I can't deal with how repetitive it gets in this book. I do plan to continue and really hope I begin to love it more as it goes on. But who knows!

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  5. If it makes you feel any better each book gets better and better in this series, although each one has the similar plot structure so you may not like it like I did. I never really did pay that close attention to the similarities. I don't know why. *shrugs* I just read Percy Jackson as a fun adventure story and not much more than that which is probably why I enjoy them so much. Just a little escape read that is easy and makes me laugh. I hope you enjoy your next read more! :)

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    1. I'm nervous to continue the series now, people keep saying each book has the same plot structure. I hope it's not as repetitive as this book, or I will cry. I don't know, I want to continue but I am not sure if I am going to enjoy them.

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