Book #49: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

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.

I bought the first three books of this series a while back. Probably six years ago when I realized I was pregnant. I know, jumping the ball on that, but I just wanted to introduce my child to the world of reading. Now that he can read, Bug actually wants to read this series with me. I didn’t this time because I wanted to experience it myself first, but I think he’s going to love it.

For one, all of the demi-gods have a “disability” of some sort. I say that with quotations. Personally, as a mother and sister of kids with ADHD and a sufferer of anxiety, I’m not sure I would put those as a disability. People with anxiety, learning problems, and ADHD are fully capable of working. That said, I’m not saying there aren’t degrees where people aren’t able to function in society, but it’s just a personal preference to not use disability.

Like I mentioned before, Bug has ADHD. He has moments where it bothers him that he’s not able to focus and he does get stressed out about it. When I told him that Percy, the main character in this series, is also diagnosed with ADHD, Bug was estatic. He wanted me to read it to him.

I have heard people compare this book to Harry Potter. I honestly don’t see it. Yes, there is a trio of friends and there is magic, but this world is more Greek mythos than a Wizarding world. Also, there is just a different level of darkness between the two. In Harry Potter, you know there is (or was) a great evil. In Percy Jackson, you know there was and you know it will come back, but it feels a little more subtle . . . if that makes sense.

The writing styles are also different, obviously. I feel in maturity level of reading, Harry might be for just the slighter older audience. However, that is the only difference in my opinion.

The book felt like a children’s version of a Greek quest, which is intentional and awesome. It is action packed, the characters do argue, but learn to work together. The story as a whole is a great one for kids. And, with the ADHD element, there is no doubt that Percy and Co are great role models.

Final rating: 3/5 for the adult, but a definite 4/5 for a child

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