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

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Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book One: Lightning Thief, The
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The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #1)

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Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book One: Lightning Thief, The
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  • Rick Riordan on Summer Reading
    Rick Riordan on Summer Reading  

Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
"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

  • ISBN-13: 9780786838653
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 4/1/2006
  • Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series , #1
  • Pages: 377
  • Sales rank: 403
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan is the author of the first five books in the New York Times best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series: The Lightning Thief; The Sea of Monsters; The Titan's Curse; The Battle of the Labyrinth; and The Last Olympian. His previous novels for adults include the hugely popular Tres Navarre series, winner of the top three awards in the mystery genre. He lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife and two sons.


Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a terrific YA series by former middle school teacher and mystery writer Rick Riordan that revamps Greek mythology in a fun, fresh way kids find enthralling. A trouble-prone teen with attention deficit disorder and dyslexia, Percy is the half-blood son of Poseidon, one of 12 Olympian gods making mischief right here in 21st-century America. Praised by critics, librarians, and teachers, the Percy Jackson books have been honored with numerous awards and appear consistently on The New York Times bestseller list.

The series grew out of a sequence of bedtime stories Riordan invented for his son Haley -- who, at eight, had just been diagnosed with learning disabilities. Although Haley was having trouble in school, he loved the Greek myths and asked his dad to tell him some stories about the gods and heroes. Riordan ran through the standards from mythology, then began to invent new tales featuring some of the same characters and introducing a brave boy hero enough like Haley to make things interesting!

Haley begged his father to write the stories down, and in 2005, The Lightning Thief was published to excellent reviews. It was an instant hit with preteens, who loved the concept of a kid much like themselves -- i.e., embroiled in the everyday problems of school, family, and relationships -- embarking on heroic quests, soothing vengeful gods, and battling monsters.

In addition to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Riordan also writes books for adults, most notably a series of high-octane Tex-Mex thrillers featuring private investigator Jackson "Tres" Navarre, a complicated loner with an offbeat pedigree. (Tres -- pronounced "Trace" -- is a tai chi master with a Ph.D. in medieval literature who turns to detective work when he is unable to find a teaching job!) The first novel in the series, 1997's Big Red Tequila, scooped the Anthony and Shamus Awards, two of the three most prestigious prizes for Mystery & Crime fiction. Riordan completed the trifecta when his sequel, The Widower's Two-Step, won the coveted Edgar Award in 1999.

Between the two series, Riordan remains incredibly busy. For several years, he balanced writing with teaching English to middle school students. Reluctantly, he has left teaching (a career he thoroughly enjoyed) in order to write full-time, but he still harbors hopes that someday he'll return to the classroom. Meanwhile, he makes frequent visits to schools and enjoys meeting young readers on his book tours.

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

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10617 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 10707 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2005

    Don't let the mythology scare you off

    My 9-year-old son chose this book mainly for the cool 'scary' cover. I had scanned through it and warned him that it had a lot of mythology in it and might be tough to follow. What do I know? He devoured the book in two days and loved it. He's eagerly awaiting the next in the series.

    350 out of 397 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    The whole series should be a movie

    Great story with colorful characters. Liked it a lot and days later I still hadn't forgotten it. Have recommended it to everyone.

    227 out of 293 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 18, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    good read

    This is one of my favourite books by Rick Riordan. So hard to put down.

    176 out of 227 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2010

    Brings Greek Mythology to Life

    I picked up this series because every once in a while I enjoy the child's fantasy instead of adult fiction. Also, I enjoy helping my friends who are teachers find new material to help keep students interesting in reading. I did not know what to expect, although I knew the book was brought to life on film. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The inventive aspect of bringing greek mythology to modern day living is ingenious. Having taken a year of mythology in school, it was wonderful to see a new way of getting young people interested a type of history that does not seem to be explored much. Not only will these books excite young readers to keep with the books, but also the books might just interest the reader enough to look into ancient history. My only drawback is there are ancient stories mentioned in the books and sometimes not explained. (Meaning outside reading will need to occur). Although these stories are not central in any way to the books, it is nice to know the history. I had to refresh my memory on a few points. Great to read with your children if you read chapter books. Overall, great reading for old and young alike.

    166 out of 199 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    An epic adventure!

    A story filled with plenty of Greek mythology. The story moves along at a great pace and does explain itself well enough for younger readers who may not know who "Chiron" or "Poseidon" but has enough humor for the adult that may be reading this book too. Although the book is nearly 400 pages it moves fast and leaves you ready for the second book.

    100 out of 122 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2009

    Lightening Thief Review

    This is my favorite book right now and I like especially how it has an exhilarating twist every chapter. This book makes you anticipate, exited, happy, nervous , and even learn about ancient Greeks. When I was reading this book I was immediately sucked in from the first paragraph I read. I thought that the author of this book did a really good job keeping the reader wanting to know how Percy (the main character) was going to get out of the situation that he was in. The solutions to all the problems the face are usually crazy which makes you extremely excited and amazed with what they do. Then after every situation the characters fix they run into another one right away. When I was reading this book I was never bored for a second. The story line is very cool and I loved all the characters. The author does a great job of makeing you feal all the pain and happieness that all of the characters have to go through. I am very picky with what books I think are good and this one was absolutely perfect for me in every way and now I am defiantly going to read the whole series.

    93 out of 111 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    keeps my son reading

    i have such a hard time getting my 13 year old son to read books, he loved this book and begged for the rest of the series, he read 3 of the books in a week. any book that keeps my son interested is rated a 10 by me.

    75 out of 88 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    This series is amazing

    I first started reading this because my libarian recommmended it to me. I completely feel in love with the book and characters. It's funny, exciting and very thirilling. I have fininshed the third book and starting on the fourth. I recommend this series to everyone.

    64 out of 78 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    One Amazing Book!!!

    I love The Lightning Theif! I read it for school and it was so spectacular. You can't put it down. It's histarical and thrill after thrill. A must read! Spectacular book. Percy is awesome, if he was real i would be in love with him. =](but i love him anyway) This book is spectacular!!!!

    58 out of 74 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Best Book Ever!!!!

    The adventure starts from page one where your picked up for an adventurous ride through the stories. Fun for all ages. The mystery unravels as you read through the series.

    55 out of 68 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2011


    if you like greek mythology, then this is the book for you. completly diffrent from the movie but a ton of suspense.

    37 out of 53 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2008

    Best Book Ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    it is ... awesome

    37 out of 71 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2010

    And I thought the movie was good!

    I saw the movie first, mostly because I wasn't aware there was a book. When I finally decided to read the book.... All I can say is WOW. The book makes the movie seem absolutely pathetic, and I'm actually glad I saw the movie first. If I'd seen the movie first, I would have HATED it. The book is completely different and it is infinitely better. I'd HIGHLY recommend it.

    33 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Percy Jackson Series

    I read Harry Potter and the Twilight series and was looking for something new. A parent suggested this series. I absolutely loved it. It's fast paced, action packed, and the characters are very likable. As soon as I finished this one, I had to go out and buy all the rest. I am waiting for the last installment which comes out in May.

    28 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2009

    Great adventure for both young and not so young.

    I have enjoyed reading this along with my son who is 12yrs old. He has gone through the complete set with out putting it down. The adventure that Percy goes on and the life changes he faces are wonderful. My son feels connected to him. This would be a great book for any tween who needs some adventure in thier lives.

    22 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I loved this book!

    I'd been looking at this book for a while, and just hadn't gotten around to reading it, and then one day I finally picked it up...I got through it in two days. I really, really liked this book, and plan on reading the rest of the series. The characters in the story and funny and original, and the author has come up with a story that is new and exciting. You learn a lot from the book, it's interesting, and it introduces Greek Mythology is a way that is both fun and entertaining. A great read. I highly recommend.

    21 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2012

    Best book in the world.

    BEST BOOK IN THE WORLD. WHO EVER DOESN'T BUY THIS IS MISSING OUT BIG TIME. =D if you guys agree,or have heard of my cousin, The Nook Book Rater press yes. XD Happy Reading people!

    19 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012


    The movie was terrible.......the book was way bettr

    17 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    I enjoyed this book very much and the fact that it used Greek mythology. I learned many things from reading this book such as the fact that names CAN be powerful. Very powerful. Percy learned that while he was batting the Minotaur, which he defeated. And as a momento of that he got part of one of the Minotaur's horn. I also learned that danger can be lurking around every corner. I also learned from this book that you never know if someone is actually who they say they are. I learned that you don't want to make really important people mad. They can do things that can hurt you. Severely. I also learned that flying in an airplane is SERIOUSLY dangerous. I mean, I already knew that flying was dangerous, but when you have lightning flashing and striking the plane, that is the dangerous part. I also learned that the friends you have, you should keep close to you, because you never know if you may need their help later on in life. The bigger the crowd, the stronger you are. Unless your friends are bad in "arguments". I also learned that some friends can betray you if you have your back is turned. I also learned that everything is not as it seems meaning humans can't see everything, we can only see what our eyes let us see. I also learned that you never know who your allies are and who your enemies are. So choose them wisely. I also learned that even though you might have family members that you rarely see, they still care about you, and you should care about them back. That's how family works. Percy Jackson also learned these things in the book.

    17 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2008

    Great! Comming from someone you ist the 'Biggest Reader'!

    best book ever loved it so much that i read it all day non stop and my mom had to take it away from me! I am obssesd with this book YOU MUST READ IT

    17 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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