Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Lightning Thief: I Get it Now

The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan
Hyperion, 2005
Review copy purchased for my classroom to replace the copy that is in tatters

I'm glad I took time to read this. I get it now. I understand the popularity. If I had more time, I'd read them all.

1.  The perfect anti-hero hero: a dyslexic hyperactive teenage boy.  Dyslexic, "That's because your mind is hardwired for ancient Greek. And the ADHD -- you're impulsive, can't sit still in the classroom. That's your battlefield reflexes. In a real fight, they'd keep you alive. As for the attention problems, that's because you see too much, Percy, not too little. Your senses are better than a regular mortal's. Of course the teachers want you medicated. Most of them are monsters. They don't want you seeing them for what they are."

2.  Plenty of humor. As Percy and his friends enter Hades, they see the Fields of Punishment, "which glowed and smoked in the distance, a vast, cracked wasteland with rivers of lava and minefields and miles of barbed wire separating the different torture areas. Even from far away, I could see people being chased by hellhounds, burned at the stake, forced to run naked through cactus patches or listen to opera music."

3.  Loads of action. Fight scenes with his evil math teacher, Medusa, The Furies, and Ares, just to name a few.



  1. The other three are great as well though after reading those I went back and re-read some of the Greek is so easy to get drawn in to those tales via Riordan's books!

  2. We started reading this as a class book last year and the kids can't put it down (and then, they zip through the other books in the series, too).
    It's amazing.
    This year, after The Lightning Thief, we read a graphic novel version of The Odyssey and talked about how Riordan built the story on the classic tale.
    And then, we did this incredible Heroic Journey project: (using google maps)

  3. i really do love this book. and i love the fact that generally stigmatized conditions like dyslexia and adhd are viewed through another lens and treated as advantages--the idea that ways of being that don't fit into the school mode of expectations can still add to one's life in a positive way is an important message.

  4. After the guys read it for book club they started acting out thier own story of Percy during lunch recess. It is very easy to be drawn onto the life of Percy Jackson.
    Thanks for a great blog!

  5. I have many students reading this series, and I have never read one. Thanks for the review -- a good kickstart for me to pick this up and read it soon so that I, too, will understand its appeal.

  6. Anonymous10:19 PM

    I picked this up at NCTE after hearing good buzz about all over the place. It's in the stack!


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