Monday, October 18, 2010
MG Mondays: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan
*MG Mondays is a meme that I created that features reviews of the Middle-Grade books that I read. Feel free to also use the meme, as long as you link back to Lit Castle in the Clouds!*
Loyal Subjects of the Lit Castle:
Before I begin this review, I would like to apologize for my neglect of this blog. I haven't said much about this for fear of being branded TMI, but I think that you should know a bit about why I have been absent from the blogging world, so that you don't think that I am being incompetent. I'll spare you the details, but I have been so sick off and on for the past five or so months that sometimes it's difficult to get out of bed. When those times pass, I am either so busy catching up on the schoolwork that I've missed and completing the latest assignments, or offering constructive criticism for my writer friend's query letter and manuscript (which I am happy to do for my crit partner, of course). So, it has been difficult to restructure my schedule again. But, I plan to commence this new chapter of my life with this review of The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.
Here is the official synopsis:
"Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is on the most dangerous quest of his life. With the help of a satyr and a daughter of Athena, Percy must journey across the United States to catch a thief who has stolen the original weapon of mass destruction – Zeus’ master bolt. Along the way, he must face a host of mythological enemies determined to stop him. Most of all, he must come to terms with a father he has never known, and an Oracle that has warned him of betrayal by a friend."
You have probably been bombarded with the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series over the past couple of years (especially this year, it seems), as I have been. I have been restlessly confronted with comments about this series, from the lovers, from the haters, and from every reader in between. You have probably heard me talking about how much I adore Greek mythology, so this series, a modern twist on Greek mythology, piqued my interest. I initially saw the movie (before I read the book. I know, I committed one of the worst literary sins), which I liked (although most people insisted that the book is better, naturally). But, when I read the book, I liked the book even more. Rick Riordan's writing is sharp and the plot is paced so well that it was hard to wedge in even a sliver of boredom-however, some things came across as cliche to me.
I loved the modern makeovers to the Greek myths, especially for the Fates (I love that they were three knitting-crazy elderly women!) The only thing that I didn't prefer about the modern treatments for the villains was that they all seemed to bear the same personality-cloying, manipulative, etc. I mean, I know that this is the design for a villain, but they all seemed to be the same, just with a different name and style. I loved Camp Half-Blood! I wish that I could go to a camp like that. Camp Half-Blood was specifically designed as a realm of protection for the demi-gods, the children of a god and a mortal, and a place in which they could train. It was often a dangerous place to be, what with the pseudo-battles that they would often have, but it was interesting to see how the demi-gods bore the traits of their immortal parents.
I loved Percy Jackson. Rick Riordan concocted the perfect pitch of a twelve-year-old boy, and he was incredibly entertaining. To talk about the plot, I have to be honest. Since I saw the movie, I saw most things coming. But, even when I did see the movie, everything was a tad bit predictable. I would've liked the twists to be a bit more shocking, but they seemed to fit too much into the standard formula of fantasy fiction stories.
When comparing the book to the movie *spoiler alert*, there were several things that I liked better in the book, and some things that I liked better in the movie. Such as, I liked it better when Luke was the son of Hades in the movie, rather than the son of Hermes in the book; actually, I have mixed feelings about this, because, if we knew that he was the son of Hades in the book, it would have been easy to guess that he was going to betray Percy (although I saw it coming, and I'm sure you did if you read/watched it, too), but it seemed to be a better fit. Also, the part about Persephone's pearls seemed a bit random in the movie, even though I know it is in Greek mythology, and I think that I would have liked for them to stick a little bit more to the original plotline. But, hey, that's just my opinion. : )
Until the next review,
The synopsis and the picture were taken from Rick Riordan's official website.
P.S. I really did like the book, though; I plan to read the next book in the series as well!
Oh, and a question for my readers: Which did you like better, the movie or the book? What would you have changed? I'm curious. : )