The Lightning Thief

LightningThief2014

Percy Jackson and the Olympians:  The Lightning Thief (paperback)

by Rick Riordan

AR Level 4.7, 13 points

I have learned a similar lesson repeatedly over the last year:  do not judge a book by it’s cover.  I was not planning on reading this series.  Yes, I love Greek mythology.  And yes, Harry Potter turned out to be an epic series, even though magic wasn’t really my “thing.”  I assumed Divergent was overrated, and clearly, it was something I enjoyed.  I should just stop saying no to these books, and assume they’re popular for a reason!

So I decided to read The Lightning Thief, because I’m on an Engage NY kick.  I am going to attempt to teach using this newish curriculum next year, and I find it’s always best to read the books BEFORE reading them with the class.  Otherwise, I find myself scrambling and asking my students, “What do YOU think?” or telling them to “Find evidence in the book to prove your answer” because I have no idea, since I came in unprepared.  I kind of feel like that’s how my entire school year has been, my first official year teaching just common core.  But that’s a different story.

This is the story of Percy Jackson, a sixth grade boy with ADHD and dyslexia.  He attends a boarding school for delinquents.  We learn quickly that he is different and sees creatures that do not exist in the mortal world.  He has a best friend and a supportive teacher, and he discovers they are “in” on a secret that involves him.  I will not spoil the story, but Percy Jackson learns who he is because of who his mysterious father is.  He goes on a hero’s quest to save mankind from World War III.  The story is somewhat predictable (probably because it’s written at a 4.7 grade level), but it is engaging nonetheless.

What I liked loved about this book was that Greek mythology slapped you in the face at least 3 times per page.  I mean this in the most pleasant way possible.  I love Greek mythology and come with some background, but a person doesn’t need to know much at all in the beginning to come out an expert.  There were so many descriptions, from Hades’s clothing to the weapons of the gods, that I wondered what was really from mythology and what was from Riordan’s imagination!  Now I understand why my bookworms schooled ME when I taught a “Greek Mythology: 101” unit back in August.

What I didn’t like about this book was that it was a little too predictable.  At times, I forgot if I was reading Percy Jackson or Harry Potter.  The plot lines are way too similar.  I am not sure if that is such a bad thing, but I am not amped to jump into book 2 today.  I will, however, start book 2 later this week, because it is Spring Break, after all!

Book 44 of 52

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