Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan, caught my eye mainly because it was yet another young adult Fantasy novel being made into a movie. The trailers for the movie looked exciting and the premise of the book seemed intriguing.
Perseus “Percy” Jackson has always known that he was different from other kids. Struggling through another school, he suddenly becomes aware of cosmic forces that are taking sides to help or to harm him. Percy learns not only that the Greek gods and their creations are real, but also that he is actually the son of one of the Gods — Poseidon. As a demigod, Percy is forced into a life of mystical powers and dangerous quests, and his first quest is nothing more than saving the world from the destruction of feuding gods. The good forces manage to get him to the only safe place on Earth, a summer camp named Camp Half-blood. There he meets other children of Greek gods — those that haven’t already been killed by the evil forces at play in the world. After a brief time, however, he discovers that he is the only one capable of accomplishing a very dangerous quest to save the Earth.
The book itself started off very well. It sucked me into the story, and I thought I was well on my way to a great Fantasy novel. Unfortunately, things started to take a turn from what I was expecting and hoping.
From the previews of the movie, I had to admit that I was expecting something a little more thrilling and serious than the novel I ended up reading. Many of the gods could only be described as silly. The quest itself and they ways that Percy and his friends managed to overcome obstacles were equally childish. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed with the book, especially considering the fact that the premise of the book and its exciting beginning seemed so promising.
I can’t really say that I’d recommend this book for anyone other than its target demographic — young teenagers and pre-teens. Whereas some novels written for young adults are equally good for adults and teenagers, this one is really only a worthwhile read for youth between the ages of ten and fifteen.
It does make me curious about the movie. Did they take some liberties with the movie to make it more serious and exciting, or did they stay true to the book and make it into a movie that will cause parents to quickly lose interest?