Book Review – Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Title: The Lightning Thief

Author: Rick Riordan

Format: Paperback

Published: 2005

 

I had heard things about the Percy Jackson series in the past and I admit I’d been curious for some time particularly when the whole bug-a-boo came down about Christopher Columbus directing the first film just like he did for Harry Potter films.  Why people were upset by this I don’t know but then again the internet is a weird place to be honest.  Anyway it wasn’t too long ago that I took the time to read the book, but failed to review it.  I admit the first time I read the book and I enjoyed it fairly well.

 

Having read the book I stumble upon the movie and decided why not?  Now I will be first to say that I do not ever expect the movie to be the living book I expect changes and tweaks along the road but when I saw the movie I cannot express how many times I was ready to throw my remote across the room, and how many times I stopped the DVD, because I was that frustrated I skipped parts just to see how much they mucked other things and if they could accomplish a few basic facts of the book and by basic facts I’m not meaning Annabeth’s hair is supposed to be blond but was rather brown (I can live with that.)  No I’m talking the actual quest they went on, how the flying shoes were used (which is a major plot point) and what actually happens in the underworld which is where the characters go on their quest.  I will start off with saying that the movie got it wrong to the point that they eliminated the major villain of the entire series in this movie; because of this I don’t know how they managed a second movie.

 

Anyway instead of ranting on the movie I’ll focus on the book which is about a middle school boy in 6th grade who is dyslexic, and has ADHD and is in a school for troubled students because of this and because every school he goes to he gets kicked out.  He is proud of the fact that he was almost to the end of the year and hadn’t been kicked out when he goes on a field trip that is always trouble to a museum with Greek artwork and statues.  From there he gets in trouble with a nasty piece of work teacher Mrs. Dodds who turns into a Fury and attacks him.

 

From there Percy gradually learns that he is in mortal danger and is a half-blood, a demi-god, a hero and he is being blamed for stealing Zues’ master bolt.  He discovered to which god sired him and he is then thrown into a rather dangerous quest to go the underworld where it is believed that the master bolt is being held.

 

I don’t want to give spoilers but the story has a lot of adventure and some rather good twists through out it and it just keeps with a nice even pace.  Over all I thoroughly enjoyed the book even with it being my second read through and I am sure I’ll enjoy re-reading the second in the series and then finishing out the series I find Rick Riordan’s writing to be easy to read and enjoyable and very age appropriate for a middle grade student to read.

 

Over all I would give the book a 4 out of 5 stars simply for the ease of getting lost in the writing style and story that is being presented.  I find the tale to be very well told and I advise to never touch the movie, particularly if you like Greek Mythology.  The story takes place during the summer and the characters go to the underworld, in the movie Persephone is present in the underworld.  If  you know any of your Greek Mythology then you know how wrong and problematic that is!  (Particularly when the book notates her lack of presence and why.)  Long story short, read the book don’t watch the movie.

Writer Wednesday – Ryan OBrien

Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
I live on a sailing catamaran in The Florida Keys and also have a log cabin in Washington State. I plan on writing 3 books a year from this point forward. Visiting middle grade schools and talking to students is an exciting and rewarding activity, and we have met with over 1500 students during this past year doing power points on my book and talking about reading in general. I hope to triple the number of students in the coming year. Check out thelandofwhooseries.com for more information.

Tell us (briefly) about you…
…and a bit about what you’ve written…

I have written The Land of Whoo and the second book in the series, The Land of Coral Seas. I started out in high school writing for the school newspaper. In college I was on the yearbook staff. My major was R/TV Management so this included writing PR releases and news and commercials.

…and what you’re working on right now.
I am currently working on the third book in The Land of Whoo Series. I am also working on another YA book primarily about The Keys called No Limits.

What are your earliest book-related memories?
I was enthralled with reading Robinson Crusoe as my first book love.

What are your three favorite books?
Robinson Crusoe
On Writing, by Stephen King
Treasure Island

How many books to do you read at any given time? What are you reading now?
I have just finished The Alchemist, and before that, 39 Clues, The Emerald Atlas and Hunger Games.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
get ideas for my current projects and make notes and underline passages to review later.

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
We over edit, trying to make the manuscript the best it can possibly be.

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
I read all the Middle Grade books recommended – especially by my many friends that are middle grade teachers – to know what my target audience is looking for.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
Very likely. I believe in sharing any knowledge available –

What do you look for in a good book?
I love honesty, frankness and great adventures. Also after reading Stephen King’s “On Writing,” I have been eager to see another author’s character development and descriptions and compare their plot lines. I am also looking for original story lines and this lets me be aware of what is currently out there.

Why do you write?
I love it!

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
Marketing or Advertising

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
From my family and friends. Also from a group of middle grade students that I talk with about ideas for my next books.

What has writing taught you about yourself?
I have been looking for ideas and many times wake up in the morning with the idea – trust the soup.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
At first they said, “Sure you’re going to write a novel.” I wrote the first 2 chapters of my first book on my iPhone. After finishing the first book in two and a half months, they rethought. My wife has been my biggest supporter and Editor in Chief, as a former court reporter. She is my inspiration and best friend.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
From what I know, everyone is different. There are many paths to success that are not the same for all.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
Dedicating the time to write on a daily basis.

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
On my first book, we sent it off for a second opinion and got an editorial letter from a create space editor. One piece of great advice given was that my main character did not make enough mistakes. To be more believable, I added more predicaments where Michael Henry didn’t choose the easiest “path.” Kids learn from their mistakes and that makes a stronger character.

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?

How do you deal with your fan base?
I have a group of middle grade students that I communicate with on a regular basis to gather ideas about the direction of my book series. Today I gave a presentation to over 100 middle grade students and thanked them for their support and ideas for my second book in the series which was just launched on Amazon and Kindle. After my first book was released, I had a fan search me out to tell me he had read my book three times and loved it. I interviewed him and have used him as a character in my current book. He is Jack Sloan, the cabin boy, and of course the last name is fictitious.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
I live on a cruising catamaran in the Florida Keys and love to sail and scuba dive

Anything else we should know?
This current book has been dedicated to my daughter, who has passed away, to remind me to always put family first.

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