The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #1)
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The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #1)

4.6 10410
by Rick Riordan

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Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse-Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to

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Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse-Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy's mom finds out, she 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. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends — one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena — Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

Editorial Reviews

"Once I got over the fact that my Latin teacher was a horse, we had a nice tour, though I was careful not to walk behind him." For Percy, a wisecracking 12-year-old with ADHD, discovering his teacher is really a centaur is just another clue that the Greek gods are alive, well, and causing all kinds of mayhem in modern-day America. Accused of stealing Zeus's master lightning bolt, Percy must prove his innocence while battling a Minotaur and a host of other celestial thugs. Best for older, action-loving kids, this book offers nonstop adventure and terrific exposure to Greek mythology. (ages 8 to 12)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2005
If you want a young person to read a book, take a lesson from Rick Riordan and start it by warning readers to close the book right away and go back to their uninformed lives. This book will bring out the readers, especially the boys, with its fast pace and adventure. Good news for Greek mythology enthusiasts: the gods are alive and well in the United States. Perseus (Percy) Jackson is a 12-year-old half-blood doing time at Yancy Academy, a school for troubled kids. He is unaware of his true identity until the truth reveals itself in unusual ways. After losing his mother, he ends up at a summer camp for half-bloods run by Dionysus (the god of wine) and is shown to his cabin by his former Latin teacher, who turns out to be a centaur. (There is a constant thread of connection between the real and surreal, apparent in the catchy chapter titles like "A God Buys Us Cheeseburgers.") Percy carries his bad boy image into the other world and becomes a suspect in the disappearance of Zeus's lighting bolt. He has many Olympic-size obstacles to overcome before he returns to his human life. But no worries, Camp Half-Blood enrolls campers every summer. Book Two is called The Sea of Monsters. (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1).. KLIATT Codes: J--Recommended for junior high school students. 2005, Hyperion, Miramax, 377p., $7.99.. Ages 12 to 15.
—Heather Rader
Children's Literature
Percy Jackson, age 12, discovers he is the son of a Greek god in the worst possible way. He accidentally vaporizes his pre-Algebra teacher on a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His cover as a normal human being, saddled with ADHD and a lightning rod for trouble, is blown. Other-worldly monsters are on his trail. In rapid order he discovers his best friend Glover is a satyr, his Latin teacher is a centaur, and he himself is in the midst of a fight between the ancient Greek gods, including his Dad—name unknown. When Glover and Percy's mother try to rescue Percy from the Three Fates, his mother disappears, melting in to the light, and Percy drags an injured Glover into Half-Blood Camp, where the half-human children of Greek gods train for their quests. He wakes to a pretty blonde, Annabeth, spoon-feeding him. Soon Percy, actually Perseus, begins his own danger-filled quest with Annabeth—a daughter of Athena—and the faithful Glover. In the Underworld he untangles the accusations of thievery leveled at him by Zeus, then overcomes Mars to make his way to Mount Olympus and his father's acceptance of him. This mingling of the world today and the world of myth is outrageous, funny, compelling, and delightful. Who would have guessed that Mount Olympus sits 600 stories above the Empire State Building? This wild romp of a book will intrigue and amuse middle schoolers, whether they know the Greek myths or not. Best of all, it looks as though this is just the first adventure for Perseus, Glover, and Annabeth. 2005, Hyperion Books for Children, Ages 10 up.
—Elisabeth Greenberg
Riordan borrows J. K. Rowling's magical formula in this obvious Harry Potter imitation with a nod to Lemony Snicket. Percy Jackson (Riordan's Harry Potter) is a twelve-year-old who knows nothing of his divine heritage and leads a troubled life bouncing from school to school. His life changes when he goes home for the summer after being expelled again. Percy begins to attract monsters, and his mortal mother has no choice but to send him to Camp Half-Blood Hill (Hogwarts) where he will be protected. At camp, Percy learns that the Greek gods still exist and that siring children with mortals is still their favorite hobby. All the children at the camp are half bloods like Percy, who is Poseidon's son. Percy befriends Annabeth (Hermione), a daughter of the goddess Athena. With the help of Annabeth and his protector, the satyr Grover (Hagrid), Percy adjusts to life at camp and foils an evil plot to start a war between the gods. One could easily compile a grocery list of Harry Potter likenesses. For instance, Camp Half-Blood Hill is divided into competing cabins just as Hogwarts is divided into House Gryffindor, House Slytherin, and so on. Imitation aside, Riordan is a talented, funny writer with a great knack for naming chapters, such as "I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher." Purchase where fantasy, especially Harry Potter, is popular and look for the sequel in which the characters will no doubt be a year older as Annabeth vows to meet Percy at camp next summer. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M J (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2005, Hyperion, 384p., Ages 11 to 15.
—David Goodale
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-An adventure-quest with a hip edge. At first glance, Perseus Jackson seems like a loser (readers meet him at a boarding school for troubled youth), but he's really the son of Poseidon and a mortal woman. As he discovers his heritage, he also loses that mother and falls into mortal danger. The gods (still very active in the 21st-century world) are about to go to war over a lost thunderbolt, so Percy and sidekicks Grover (a young satyr) and Annabeth (daughter of Athena) set out to retrieve it. Many close calls and monster-attacks later, they enter Hades's realm (via L.A.). A virtuoso description of the Underworld is matched by a later account of Olympus (hovering 600 floors above Manhattan). There's lots of zippy review of Greek myth and legend, and characters like Medusa, Procrustes, Charon, and the Eumenides get updates. Some of the Labors of Heracles or Odysseus's adventures are recycled, but nothing seems stale, and the breakneck pace keeps the action from being too predictable. Percy is an ADHD, wise-cracking, first-person narrator. Naturally, his real quest is for his own identity. Along the way, such topics as family, trust, war, the environment, dreams, and perceptions are raised. There is subtle social critique for sophisticated readers who can see it. Although the novel ends with a satisfying conclusion (and at least one surprise), it is clear that the story isn't over. The 12-year-old has matured and is ready for another quest, and the villain is at large. Readers will be eager to follow the young protagonist's next move.-Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George's School, Newport, RI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Edgar Award-winning Riordan leaves the adult world of mystery to begin a fantasy series for younger readers. Twelve-year-old Percy (full name, Perseus) Jackson has attended six schools in six years. Officially diagnosed with ADHD, his lack of self-control gets him in trouble again and again. What if it isn't his fault? What if all the outrageous incidents that get him kicked out of school are the result of his being a "half-blood," the product of a relationship between a human and a Greek god? Could it be true that his math teacher Mrs. Dodds transformed into a shriveled hag with bat wings, a Fury, and was trying to kill him? Did he really vanquish her with a pen that turned into a sword? One need not be an expert in Greek mythology to enjoy Percy's journey to retrieve Zeus's master bolt from the Underworld, but those who are familiar with the deities and demi-gods will have many an ah-ha moment. Along the way, Percy and his cohort run into Medusa, Cerberus and Pan, among others. The sardonic tone of the narrator's voice lends a refreshing air of realism to this riotously paced quest tale of heroism that questions the realities of our world, family, friendship and loyalty. (Fantasy. 12-15)

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Product Details

Publication date:
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series, #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years


Meet the Author

Rick Riordan, dubbed "Storyteller of the Gods" by Publishers Weekly, is the author of three #1 New York Times best-selling middle grade series with 45 million copies sold throughout the world: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, based on Greek mythology; the Kane Chronicles, based on Ancient Egyptian mythology; and the Heroes of Olympus, based on Greek and Roman mythology. Rick collaborated with illustrator John Rocco on two best-selling collections of Greek myths for the whole family: Percy Jackson's Greek Gods and Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes. The first book in his Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard trilogy based on Norse mythology, The Sword of Summer, also debuted at #1 on the New York Times list. Rick lives in Boston, Massachusetts with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @camphalfblood.

Brief Biography

San Antonio, TX
Date of Birth:
June 5, 1964
Place of Birth:
San Antonio, TX
B.A. in English and History, University of Texas

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