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

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

4.6 10331
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


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)

Product Details

Publication date:
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Rick Riordan, dubbed "storyteller of the gods" by Publishers Weekly, is the author of five #1 New York Times best-selling middle grade series with millions of copies sold throughout the world: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, and the Trials of Apollo, based on Greek and Roman mythology; the Kane Chronicles, based on Ancient Egyptian mythology; and Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, based on Norse mythology. Rick collaborated with illustrator John Rocco on two #1 New York Times best-selling collections of Greek myths for the whole family: Percy Jackson's Greek Gods and Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes. 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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The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #1) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10331 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Julie_Price More than 1 year ago
Great story with colorful characters. Liked it a lot and days later I still hadn't forgotten it. Have recommended it to everyone.
btn-sdsn More than 1 year ago
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.
Balina More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favourite books by Rick Riordan. So hard to put down.
SphinxFeathers More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
nikibi More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
HarryvsTwilight More than 1 year ago
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!!!!
Thrill_Seeker More than 1 year ago
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.
wordscrafter More than 1 year ago
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.
surrealtraversity More than 1 year ago
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.
Emily Rachal More than 1 year ago
if you like greek mythology, then this is the book for you. completly diffrent from the movie but a ton of suspense.
I_read_books More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Cougar_H More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
lspell960 More than 1 year ago
The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series is amazing. I love these books, especially the first one, although The Battle of the Labryinth is my personal favorite. I was so surprised at how hillarious and creative these books were. They are absolutely amazing. They are not very long and they are pretty easy reads. Read this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this book is the best! There is even a movie for it! Sense im in fourth grade i am reading it were on chapter maybe 16 or 17!!! Anyway best book i ever readthats my opinion! Tap YES IF U LIKED or LOVED IT. Tap NO IF U DIDN'T LIKE IT . You'll love it!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gggggggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr my device won't let me say 5 stars! Anyways, best book ever made/written. You will get through it I know it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic book, but I'd suggest brushing up on your mythology first. I really, really, REALLY loved it and read them all in a week. It's really fast paced and keeps moving.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is the first of my favorite series ever!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Percy Jackson series is the best series in the world,Rick Roardan is the best kids writer ever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The movie was terrible.......the book was way bettr