Once in awhile a perfect book crosses my circulation desk and I get pushy in telling kids and parents, saying, "you have to read this book. It's awesome." Well Rick Riordan's series falls into that category. The story moves in a world much like ours except all the mythical gods we learned about are real and they really do fall in love with mortals. Percy Jackson is a teen who struggles in school, has a slow, gangling friend Grover, and a mom who is just about perfect. Life should be fine, yet strange things continue to happen to him, like teachers turning into monsters who want him dead and another teacher determined he learn everything about the Greek gods.
His world turns upside down when he is sent to a summer camp for half-bloods. His mom said it was the safest place for him, but tragedy strikes before he reaches the borders of camp. His mom is pulverized by a giant and his best friend is really a satyr. His Greek teacher is the headmaster at camp and believes his mom may not be dead, but being held by one of the gods. Percy is determined to find his mom; the gods have other ideas and chaos has full reign.
Dealing with the gods is no easy task and Percy's quest takes him from New York to Los Angeles, fighting monsters and gods along the way. His absentee father, Poseidon, doesn't seem to care if Percy lives or dies. Percy tells himself he doesn't care, he may be a pawn in the dispute between the gods, but his goal is to save his mom.
This is a story full of adventure, suspense and a revival of family values. It would be a great read for any book club because one of Percy's friends is a girl named Annabeth, daughter of the god Athena, and she really kicks butt to save Percy from disaster. The Lightning Thief series is a fast-paced story, full of gods bickering, humans wondering what has happened and a fight against time before war breaks out.
I have yet to see the movie and am looking forward to seeing it this weekend. Right now I've moved on and am reading Book 2 of the series, The Sea of Monsters. It is just as exciting as the first with Percy in the center of trouble, his buddy Grover in peril and his friend Annabeth already saving his life.
I love girl heroes! I'm also learning more about the Greek gods and have to say what a great teaching tool this could be for those interested in mythology.
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Til next time ~
PS: the librarian in me has to mention Rick Riordan's other awesome series
39 Bones! It too is fast paced with kids not knowing their families past and discovering a bit of history. Great read!