"You must become so free that your very existence is an act of rebellion." -Albert Camus
This book was adorable. I don't know why I've waited so long to read the Percy Jackson books. Nearly everyone I know who has read them has loved them - or at least thought they were cute. Finally, on a whim, I picked it up and, while I don't know if I love it, I definitely found it worth the read and will be diving into the second one as soon as I finish this review.
The story of The Lightning Thief is as follows: 12-year-old Percy Jackson has always had a problem fitting it. He suffers from dyslexia and ADHD, making school hell to get through and, on top of that, weird things always seem to happen to him to the point where he has been to six different schools in six different years. It turns out that he is a demigod, the child of a god and a human. His eyes are made to read Ancient Greek (hence the dyslexia for English) and his ADHD helps him stay alert in battle. Life is tough being a demigod, though, when your godly father is accused of stealing another god's possession and now the world is on the bring of WW III. And it's up to Percy Jackson and his friends to save it.
So, it's cute. It's a typical middle-school fantasy. Who doesn't feel like the weird-o in middle school and who wouldn't love to find out they're a demigod? Heck, at 23 I would still love for someone to tell me I was a demigod and that I had special powers, too. Much in the same way that Harry Potter fulfilled kids' dreams with wizardry, Percy Jackson fulfills them with demigod status. And there's nothing wrong with that. The book is fast paced, easy to read and full of adventure. I very much recommend this to anyone in middle school, anyone in high school and a good deal of people I know who are adults, too.
My gripe with this is that it is so middle-school-oriented in its simplicity, that I could never foresee it becoming something like the Harry Potter series did. My best example is the description of nearly all the bad guys vs. the good guys. The bad guys were fat, ugly, had rotting teeth, smelled, etc. The good guys were all very attractive and kind hearted. If that's not amateur writing at its finest, I'm not sure what is. And it also really bothers me because bad guys are so much more ugly or smelly and good guys are so much more than pretty or smart. (Granted, that's if you even want to acknowledge the existence of "good" guys or "bad" guys.) The issue I have is that it's almost a sort of brainwashing, don't you think? Maybe I'm reading into it too much, but it always bothers me when multiple villians are described as "fat" or "ugly." It just gives kids a reason to think that being fat or ugly is something bad, possibly even evil. On the same note, I also hate how heroes are "beautiful." For me, it tries to tell kids that they should aspire to be beautiful, when there are so many better and more important things to be. This book fell prey to those techniques and I was very, very sad. Had he made his villians a bit less stereotypical and his heroes a bit more interesting, this book could have been a 5* read.
I know that some readers are going to throw at me two "villians" who weren't ugly or fat, and to that I say:(show spoiler)
Overall, I enjoyed the ride this book took me on and am very eager to see what new adventure awaits Percy Jackson and his friends.