Rick Riordan is an American author whose first catapult to success was brought about by the first book in his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series i.e. The Lightning Thief. Initially a schoolteacher, Riordan first developed the idea of a book about the adventures of young-adult demigods after he conceived of bedtime stories for his son, who loved Greek myths. The book has been featured in the New York Times Children’s Bestsellers’ list and has even been adapted into a multi-million dollar film.


 If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.

The Lightning Thief describes the adventurous journey of a twelve-year old, who finds himself in the world of Greek gods and monsters after he realizes that he himself is a demigod – half-human & half-god. As he travels to a safe haven for demigods, whose very existence is under a constant threat from the Greek monsters, Camp Half-Blood, he is assigned the mission of clearing his name by finding the legendary lightning bolt of the Zeus, the King of the Gods, which was stolen prior to his arrival.

Although targeted as a young-adult novel, The Lightning Thief is a terrific piece of literary fiction that keeps one engaged and gripped to the very last word. Full of characters with meticulously delineated background arcs encompassing their own journeys, the story doesn’t just revolve around the hero, but rather erects an entire world of magic and monsters to titillate the reader’s interest and imagination. Riordan has beautifully amalgamated a rich and detailed plot-line with brilliant prose to equip the story with everything it needs. Even though the book is not loaded with quotable language or lofty phrases, the skill with which the author has depicted emotion and action through his characters is the hallmark of a writer worth his salt.

Humans see what they want to see.

In just 377 pages, the author takes one across the United States and keeps them on the edge with adventures on every corner with familiar Greek mythological characters and a tinge of the typical twenty-first-century modernity.

Furthermore, many young-adult novels have a protagonist that may come across as wallowing in self-pity and full of angst that, oft times, are nothing but annoying for the readers. However, Percy Jackson, the protagonist of The Lightning Thief, is a breath of fresh air and seems more than content to keep his predicament to himself. Practical and witty, he tackles his problems as best as one would expect a 12-year-old demigod to.

The book also helps one brush up on their knowledge of Greek mythology, which is quite interesting in itself. Riordan has managed to make the plot even more engrossing with a modern twist that is well in consonance with its mythological background.

What is really a frosting on the cake is that Riordan first conceived the idea to create awareness about and normalize ADHD and dyslexia in children. As the author’s own son had been diagnosed with both of them, Riordan was inspired to reflect them in the protagonist. However, these shortcomings paradoxically became the hero’s superpowers, which eventually helped him fight off the monsters through his sharp reflexes and read Greek text whenever he wanted to. This seems to be a step in the right direction as many children who have been diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, can identify with a hero that slays monsters and goes on exhilarating adventures.

The book also possesses strong female characters that many little girls can look up to, not to mention its story arcs, which deal with important issues such as saving the environment.

The book is followed by two equally gripping books in the same universe.

Ameya Rating:

The Lightning Thief is entitled to a score of 4.6 out of 5 for its fascinating story, captivating narration, engaging and diverse characters as well as a compelling plot. While it may seem too simple and child-like to the literary snob, it has the Midas touch to turn an open-minded reader into a life-long fan of its colorful universe and superb characters.

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