Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Confused as to why I'm reviewing an old book? Click THE LINK OF ALMOST DETAILED EXPLANATION

I feel like it's almost traditional for me to be lazy at this point, so I'm going to give it an amazon summary. However, Amazon had problems just giving me the first book in the series, so I had to swipe the summary from some weird box set that was going on. WHATEVER. HAVE SOME SUMMARY.

"Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. When his mom tells him the truth about where he came from, she takes him to the one place he’ll be safe—Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island). There, Percy learns that the father he never knew is actually Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon Percy finds himself caught up in a mystery that could lead to disastrous consequences. Together with his friends—a satyr and other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods." AMAZON LINK THAT WAS STUPID HARD TO FIND

Alright, that summary is crap. I'm going to metaphorically take your reading hands and lead you through some summary the good old way, with ridiculous commentary and remarks that might not make sense.

So the book starts off with Percy giving us a weird greeting where he talks directly to the readers. It lasts for less than a couple pages, and really, I just kind of laughed at it with the thought of, "Oh book, you think it'll take me more than two hours to read you. Ha, ha, haaaa."

It starts with Percy delivering us this sob story of being a troubled, misunderstood kid (everyone who's twelve, you're probably very emotional right now and tend to think the world is against you. Don't worry, a lot of people who are older than you probably understand that. If you listen to some Linkin Park, Evanessence, or Good Charlotte's album The Young and The Hopeless, your angst might make a little more sense. PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT OVER).

So Percy was moved around to a lot of different schools because he gets into trouble inevitably. It just seems to be attracted to him. He also has this knack of standing up to bullies, so that plays into it I'm sure. We're introduced to two important characters right now, and one semi-important character. Grover is his best friend (with a weird name, Grover? It reminds me of RED ROVER RED ROVER except that only one kid is playing, and desperately shouting his name over and over...uh...yeah about that), who Percy tends to stick up for a lot as Percy sees him as weak and timid. Mr. Brunner who is a latin teacher and very adamant that Percy learns latin, greek history, and basically does well in his class. The semi-important character is Mrs. Dodds. In the first chapter, we see Mrs. Dodds turn into some weird monster thing, Mr. Brunner toss Percy a sword (and then disappears), and Percy kills Mrs. Dodds only to find out that no one else remembers her.

Um, what?

So the story moves at a good clip where Percy is suddenly and pretty much harshly thrust into this world where everyone knows what he is but him. His mother knows, Grover knows, Mr. Brunner knows, and even Mrs. Dodds! But she's dead. Maybe.

There's a chase scene where Percy's mom is trying to be all sweet and let him have a little vacation, only to have it ruined by monsters. Grover finds them, and they all try to flee to camp half-blood, but Percy and Grover make it while Percy's Mom disappears into some golden light. This is the end of chapter four.

At this point, anyone who knows anything about Greek mythology has probably figured out that Percy is the son of Poisedon. No, I'm not counting that as a spoiler.

There's a couple weird things that happen at camp but I'll be brief to make this more bearable. It turns out that Grover is a satyr (think Mr. Tummus from The Chronicles of Narnia), Mr. Brummer is actually Chiron (who is a centaur), and the book explodes with explanations about how keeping all this greek stuff is a tricky secret. There are a few fun scenes where Percy inevitably does something ridiculous and gets a little shame faced, but is mostly in awe of himself (adorable right?).

Now technically, this is a third of the way through the book.

OFF TO SPOILER LAND WE GO. Seriously, there's a reason it only takes me about two hours per book to read this. Quick, easy to comprehend, and the only thing that slows me is the little nuggets that crop up that have the elements of foreshadowing about them. This book does a tremendous job of setting up for the later books.

We're going to fast forward through some camp stuff because it's a little tedious. Basic facts, the god Dionysus runs the camp with Chiron to keep him in line. A bunch of demi-gods or 'half-bloods' reside there to escape the pursuit of monsters. Satyrs, nymphs, and driads (dryads?) hang out as well, and the woods there are full of monsters (allegedly). The camp is set up with a lot of traditional greek stuff, blah blah blah. Percy meets some key people such as Annabeth, Jake, and Clarisse. Annabeth will be a future companion and watched over him while he was ill from the Minotaur ordeal, Jake will befriend him and show him around, and Clarisse takes over as being his bully for his camp experience. YAY.

So, Percy gets sent out on a quest because the gods are full of crap and can't keep their hands off each other's junk. Zeus thinks that Poseidon stole his master lightning bolt, Poseidon is all upset about being accused, and everyone thinks Hades is behind it. Percy gets sent out to find Zeus' lightning bolt. After receiving his prophecy about his quest from the Oracle that lives in the attic of the main house at camp half-blood, he chooses Annabeth and Grover to go with him.

They leave the camp, run into some furies who want something back (Mrs. Dodds is a fury LOL), escape kind of, run into Medusa on accident, barely escape with a few hilarious things from Grover, and run into Echidna and one of her sons, a Chimera at the St. Louis arch. The rest of the mortal world is under the impression that Percy Jackson may be some kind of terrorist as he's wanted for questioning about the disappearance of his mother, blah blah blah. They manage to narrowly get through a quest for Ares (because he's a craptastic god), make their way onward to Los Angeles.

They get to LA, get stuck in some weird casino where times passes faster (THIS SETS UP FOR LATER BOOKS IN THE SERIES PLOT, LOLOLOL), escape, make it to the ocean, receive gifts from Percy's father through the father's messenger to help aid in his quest, and manage to get into the Underworld.

On a sidenote, while in LA, they made a passing note about the streets being unsafe and 'gangbangers' was clumped in with muggers. I'm a little disturbed that twelve year olds allegedly see gangbangers hanging out in alleys. Um, what?

At this point, the big evil villain is alluded to (COUGH KRONOS COUGH) and they confront Hades to find that the Helm of Hades was also stolen. Percy discovers that Zeus' lightning bolt was in a backpack that Ares gave him and basically cusses Ares out a little, and then manages to escape Hades' by using the items his father gave him.

Percy gets back to the shore, Ares finds him, Percy challenges him to a wicked duel, kind of wins, gets to keep the lightning bolt and wins the helm of Hades from Ares before giving up the helm to the furies with the promise the furies will explain everything to Hades. Then Percy heads to Mount Olympus, meets up with Zeus and Poseidon, tells him the story, relinquishes the lightning bolt, chats with his Dad, brings up Kronos and crisis averted kind of. Zeus is like I DUN WANNA TALK ABOUT KRONOS, WAH. Percy does like, "Sheesh, someone get this guy a bottle for his whining" but doesn't say anything really. So Percy heads back to his house, finds out his mom is okay, leaves her with Medusa's head (which we find out that she most likely used on her horrible husband and his friends to turn them into statues and sold them off to make enough money for a better apartment, the first semester's worth of tuition and NYU for her, and a deposit on a school for Percy to go to; THE MOTHER MAY BE QUESTIONABLY EVIL), and heads back to half-blood camp.

At half-blood camp, he sees a lot of folks, gets praised for his quest completion, and then has to decide whether to spend the year with his mom or at camp. While he's trying to make up his mind, he runs into Luke who reveals that he's a bad guy, poisons him with a scorpion, and then flees camp. Turns out Luke is working for Kronos. Percy's like OH GOD, NOT ANOTHER NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE.

Percy wakes up, recounts his experience with Luke to Chiron and Annabeth and Grover before making his decision to go live with his mom for the year and try to attend seventh grade like a normal boy.


Again, I really strongly recommend reading the books; their fast and like James Bond but with Greek myths. Full of action and loosely based on some historical facts about Greek myths.

I would like to say that Rick Riordan has taken the Greek mythology and updated it in a way that almost makes sense; things that are not explained yet, will be explained. He also doesn't offer too much explanation so the details given must be taken as fact within the book's fantasy world or else it's just MADNESS.

Again, they're pretty short, quick reads and written a little young. Just pretend that you're reading the greek version of Harry Potter and it'll all be better. Also, remember that Harry Potter grows up and progresses through all his books, and you should expect the same from Percy Jackson.

I will be going through the series for the next few blog posts so I can read and post about The Mark of Athena in case you didn't click & read the link of almost detailed explanation.

Want me to discuss or talk about a part of the book I didn't cover here? LEAVE A COMMENT. I LIKE TO CONVERSE. :)

Happy reading!

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