Reading For Pleasure – Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief
The book that I have chosen to write about today is ‘Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief’ by Rick Riordan. The Lightning Thief’ is a middle-grade (meant for children aged between 10 to 13) fantasy novel that is primarily based on classical Greek mythology. It is one of those novels which belong to the category of books that hold value and entertain readers of all ages, even though it does not necessarily seem complicated.
It is the story of a 11 year old boy named Percy Jackson. Not only does he suffer from dyslexia, but he cannot seem to keep himself out of trouble. He has been kicked out of six schools in six years and attends Yancy Academy in New York at the beginning of the book. Strange things always happen around him, like the fact that his algebra teacher turned into a winged mythological creature named Fury, and tried to kill him on a school field trip.
He comes to discover that the source of all these troubles is because he is a demigod, he is the son of Poseidon, the ancient Greek god of the sea. He goes to a camp to learn how to save himself and comes to learn that the ancient Greek gods are still alive and well. He also meets many other demigods like him and finally tries to fit into a place where he feels like he belongs. From there he goes on an adventure to save his mother and stop the gods from waging a war among themselves, that would result in the destruction of the world.
Rick Riordan seamlessly blends mythology with the modern world and makes mythology an interesting subject for the modern reader. What were once complicated tales written in Greek and Latin of great heroes and gods is essentially retold in a way that would spark interest among any reader, especially children. In fact, this book can serve as the gateway or a diluted introduction to the world of classical mythology. Riordan knows how to hold the interest of the audience from the start to the finish.
One of the main points to be noted with regard to this book, is the way that Riordan creates awareness about dyslexic children. Percy is the much needed representation of dyslexic children who are either never diagnosed and thus never receive the help that they need or the children who are diagnosed but whom the society still writes of as ‘too lazy to put effort’ despite clinical evidence.
Another detail that makes the story that much more interesting is the great characterisation and world-building. Even though this is in essence, Percy’s story, the character of Annabeth, who becomes his friend after much fighting and dislike, is a delight to read about. Annabeth refuses to stay inside the stereotypical vision of the female friend who is only just a love-interest and does not have any other role to play. She is the exact opposite. A strong, independent and insanely smart girl (given that she is the daughter of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and battle strategy) without whom (and also their friend Grover) it would have been impossible for Percy to achieve his goal. Riordan does not compromise on any of his characters, all of them are well written and all of the plot points are well established and explored.
In conclusion, this was a well established first book to a series that explores Greek mythology and I am looking forward to continuing this series.