Reviews for Lightning Thief : Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Book 1


Booklist Reviews 2010 December #2
How could it have taken five years to see a graphic-novel adaptation of such a successful property as the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and one that, with its heroic destinies and epic action, seems tailor-made to the format? Riordan's original, like Harry Potter as if reimagined by Neil Gaiman, hits all the straightforward archetypes, with young Percy Jackson clued into the secret that he's actually the son of Greek god Poseidon, then educated at Camp Half-Blood with the other illegitimate demigods before embarking on a hero's journey to stop a war of the Olympians. But Riordan also injected a sense of thorny reality with twists like Percy's good-for-nothing stepfather and the entrance to Hades residing in a soulless Los Angeles. Where the slick and flashy movie version failed, Venditti's sharp-edged writing and Futaki's gritty and unprecious art capture the same sense of grunge amid the wonder. A timely release that can be recommended with George O'Connor's recent Olympians graphic novels, proving that while five years may seem too long, at least the wait was worth it. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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Booklist Reviews 2005 September #2
Gr. 6-9. The escapades of the Greek gods and heroes get a fresh spin in the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, about a contemporary 12-year-old New Yorker who learns he's a demigod. Perseus, aka Percy Jackson, thinks he has big problems. His father left before he was born, he's been kicked out of six schools in six years, he's dyslexic, and he has ADHD. What a surprise when he finds out that that's only the tip of the iceberg: he vaporizes his pre-algebra teacher, learns his best friend is a satyr, and is almost killed by a minotaur before his mother manages to get him to the safety of Camp Half-Blood--where he discovers that Poseidon is his father. But that's a problem, too. Poseidon has been accused of stealing Zeus' lightning bolt, and unless Percy can return the bolt, humankind is doomed. Riordan's fast-paced adventure is fresh, dangerous, and funny. Percy is an appealing, but reluctant hero, the modernized gods are hilarious, and the parallels to Harry Potter are frequent and obvious. Because Riordan is faithful to the original myths, librarians should be prepared for a rush of readers wanting the classic stories. ((Reviewed September 15, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
This graphic novel introduces Percy, half-human son of Poseidon, and Camp Half-Blood, a haven for young demi-gods. Jackson devotees may lament the absence of some scenes, but the spirit of the novel holds up well. The precise timing of panels lends extra oomph to punch lines and action scenes, while settings spanning multiple panels or full pages suggest the epic scale of Percy's quest. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Spring
Percy Jackson, living with ADHD, finds meaning behind his difficulties at last--he's really a half-blood offspring of Poseidon. It's not long before he's sent on a quest to retrieve Zeus's thunderbolt from Hades (located, naturally, in L.A.). The book is packed with humorous allusions to Greek mythology and clever updates of the old stories, along with rip-snorting action sequences. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2005 #4
Percy Jackson, living with ADHD and expelled from many a private school, finds meaning behind his difficulties at last -- he's really a half-blood offspring of Poseidon. His nerves are wired for hero-monster combat, not for sitting in a classroom; his dyslexic eyes are attuned to ancient Greek instead of English. His Latin teacher is the centaur Chiron in disguise, and Furies are out for his blood. After a dramatic midnight flight, Percy finds sanctuary at Half-Blood Hill, a summer camp on eastern Long Island for children of the gods, but it isn't long before he's sent on a quest to retrieve Zeus's thunderbolt from Hades (located, naturally, in L.A.). Accompanied by Annabeth, half-blood daughter of Athena, and Grover, his satyr friend and protector, Percy soon discovers some funny business about who really has the bolt. Packed with humorous allusions to Greek mythology and clever updates of the old stories, along with rip-snorting action sequences, the book really shines in the depiction of Percy -- wry, impatient, academically hopeless, with the sort of cut-to-the-chase bluntness one would wish for in a hero of old. Will Percy's next adventure be welcomed by readers? Copyright 2005 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2005 June #2
Edgar Award-winning Riordan leaves the adult world of mystery to begin a fantasy series for younger readers. Twelve-year-old Percy (full name, Perseus) Jackson has attended six schools in six years. Officially diagnosed with ADHD, his lack of self-control gets him in trouble again and again. What if it isn't his fault? What if all the outrageous incidents that get him kicked out of school are the result of his being a "half-blood," the product of a relationship between a human and a Greek god? Could it be true that his math teacher Mrs. Dodds transformed into a shriveled hag with bat wings, a Fury, and was trying to kill him? Did he really vanquish her with a pen that turned into a sword? One need not be an expert in Greek mythology to enjoy Percy's journey to retrieve Zeus's master bolt from the Underworld, but those who are familiar with the deities and demi-gods will have many an ah-ha moment. Along the way, Percy and his cohort run into Medusa, Cerberus and Pan, among others. The sardonic tone of the narrator's voice lends a refreshing air of realism to this riotously paced quest tale of heroism that questions the realities of our world, family, friendship and loyalty. (Fantasy. 12-15) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 August #1
For this fast-paced adventure that zaps characters from Greek mythology into modern times, Bernstein gets the reading rhythm just right. He conveys Riordan's notes of humor, sarcasm and downright amazement in the voice of 12-year-old Percy Jackson, a smart kid who seems to be a magnet for trouble. But one day Percy discovers that being kicked out of a different school every year and dealing with learning challenges like ADHD is nothing compared to the truth of his life: he's a demigod, the son of Poseidon. Of course, among other things, that means an action-packed mission to the Underworld to find Zeus's stolen lightning bolt and return it to Mount Olympus (specially accessed as the 600th floor in the Empire State Building). Listeners will be hanging on every zippy chapter here and will be eager to find out where Percy heads next in this planned series. Ages 10-up. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 July #3
A clever concept drives Riordan's highly charged children's book debut (the first in a series): the Greek Gods still rule, though now from a Mt. Olympus on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building, and their offspring, demigods, live among human beings. Narrator Percy Jackson thinks he's just another troubled 12-year-old, until he vaporizes his math teacher, learns his best friend, Grover, is a satyr and narrowly escapes a minotaur to arrive at Camp Half-Blood. After a humorous stint at camp, Percy learns he's the son of Poseidon and embarks on a quest to the Underworld with Grover and Annabeth (a daughter of Athena) to resolve a battle between Zeus and Poseidon over Zeus's stolen "master" lightning bolt. Without sacrificing plot or pacing, Riordan integrates a great deal of mythology into the tale and believably places mythical characters into modern times, often with hilarious results (such as Hades ranting about the problem of "sprawl," or population explosion). However, on emotional notes the novel proves less strong (for example, Percy's grief for his mother rings hollow; readers will likely spot the "friend" who betrays the hero, as foretold by the Oracle of Delphi, before Percy does) and their ultimate confrontation proves a bit anticlimactic. Still, this swift and humorous adventure will leave many readers eager for the next installment. Ages 10-up. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 October #1

Venditti's adaptation of the critically acclaimed first installment of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series faces a daunting challenge: to present a beloved, contemporary, young adult fantasy novel as a 128-page visual narrative. But the team succeeds in spectacular fashion. Venditti (The Surrogates) takes the story of the half-blood Percy--who discovers that he is both the son of a god and the prime suspect in a theft of cosmic implications--and forges an adaptation that does justice not simply to Riordan's story but works perfectly as a graphic novel. The book retains the excellent pacing of the original and gives a face to Riordan's vision of the mythological made modern. Futaki's artwork is exemplary, but what leaves such a lasting impression is Villarrubia's coloring, which reveals both subtlety and spectacle when needed. The graphic novel compression must, of necessity, sacrifice something, namely some of the humor of the original. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 April #4
"Without sacrificing plot or pacing, Riordan integrates a great deal of mythology into this tale and believably places mythical characters into modern times, often with hilarious results," said PW. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 March

Gr 4 Up--Riordan's highly popular "Olympians" series (Hyperion/Disney) is now a graphic novel. Half-Blood Percy Jackson is the son of a mortal mother and the Greek god Poseidon, which explains why he has always felt out of place among his schoolmates. After learning of his paternity, he is charged with the dangerous mission of locating his Uncle Zeus's missing lightning bolt and returning this symbol of power to its rightful owner. Expert editing keeps the salient parts of the story intact while showcasing the additional storytelling capabilities that the graphic format allows. Excellent panel layout makes the story line easy to follow. The use of angled panels in highly dramatic action scenes is particularly effective. As readers follow Percy's adventures, they are also keenly aware of his personal struggles, as facial expressions help readers to relate to this boy "who doesn't fit in." Illustrations brilliantly illuminate the story, portraying seamless world-blending, from typical school drama and well-known U.S. landmarks to mythological elements. A man seated in one panel casually stands to reveal his true identity as a centaur, the eerie woman seated in the attic is an Oracle, and the Nereid of the undersea kingdom seems a natural part of Percy's world. This blend of mythology and magic with realistic action and adventure brings an added dimension and delightful nuances to this adaptation of the well-known novel. Both ardent followers of Riordan's books and those new to the series will not be disappointed.--Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

[Page 190]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2005 August
Gr 5-9-An adventure-quest with a hip edge. At first glance, Perseus Jackson seems like a loser (readers meet him at a boarding school for troubled youth), but he's really the son of Poseidon and a mortal woman. As he discovers his heritage, he also loses that mother and falls into mortal danger. The gods (still very active in the 21st-century world) are about to go to war over a lost thunderbolt, so Percy and sidekicks Grover (a young satyr) and Annabeth (daughter of Athena) set out to retrieve it. Many close calls and monster-attacks later, they enter Hades's realm (via L.A.). A virtuoso description of the Underworld is matched by a later account of Olympus (hovering 600 floors above Manhattan). There's lots of zippy review of Greek myth and legend, and characters like Medusa, Procrustes, Charon, and the Eumenides get updates. Some of the Labors of Heracles or Odysseus's adventures are recycled, but nothing seems stale, and the breakneck pace keeps the action from being too predictable. Percy is an ADHD, wise-cracking, first-person narrator. Naturally, his real quest is for his own identity. Along the way, such topics as family, trust, war, the environment, dreams, and perceptions are raised. There is subtle social critique for sophisticated readers who can see it. Although the novel ends with a satisfying conclusion (and at least one surprise), it is clear that the story isn't over. The 12-year-old has matured and is ready for another quest, and the villain is at large. Readers will be eager to follow the young protagonist's next move.-Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George's School, Newport, RI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2005 October

Gr 5-9 -At the outset of this fast-paced tale by Rick Riordan (Hyperion/Miramax, 2005), it would seem that Percy Jackson is just another New York kid diagnosed with ADHD, who has good intentions, a nasty stepfather, and a long line of schools that have rejected him. The revelation of his status as half-blood offspring of one of the Greek gods is nicely packaged, and it's easy to believe that Mount Olympus, in modern times, has migrated to the 600th floor of the Empire State Building (the center of Western civilization) while the door to Hades can be found at DOA Recording Studio, somewhere in LA. With his new friends, a disguised satyr, and the half-blood daughter of Athena, Percy sets out across the country to rectify a feud between Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon. Along the way they must cope with the Furies, Medusa, motorcycle thug Aires, and various other immortals. Although some of Jesse Bernstein's accents fail (the monster from Georgia, for instance, has no Southern trace in her voice), he does a fine job of keeping the main characters' tones and accents distinguishable. He convincingly portrays Percy, voicing just the right amount of prepubescent confusion, ironic wit, and the ebbing and waning of concern for himself and those around him. Mythology fans will love this take and kids who haven't been inculcated with the Classical canon will learn aspects of it here while having no trouble following a rollicking good-and modern-adventure.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA

[Page 79]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2005 August
Riordan borrows J. K. Rowling's magical formula in this obvious Harry Potter imitation with a nod to Lemony Snicket. Percy Jackson (Riordan's Harry Potter) is a twelve-year-old who knows nothing of his divine heritage and leads a troubled life bouncing from school to school. His life changes when he goes home for the summer after being expelled again. Percy begins to attract monsters, and his mortal mother has no choice but to send him to Camp Half-Blood Hill (Hogwarts) where he will be protected. At camp, Percy learns that the Greek gods still exist and that siring children with mortals is still their favorite hobby. All the children at the camp are half bloods like Percy, who is Poseidon's son. Percy befriends Annabeth (Hermione), a daughter of the goddess Athena. With the help of Annabeth and his protector, the satyr Grover (Hagrid), Percy adjusts to life at camp and foils an evil plot to start a war between the gods One could easily compile a grocery list of Harry Potter likenesses. For instance, Camp Half-Blood Hill is divided into competing cabins just as Hogwarts is divided into House Gryffindor, House Slytherin, and so on. Imitation aside, Riordan is a talented, funny writer with a great knack for naming chapters, such as "I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher." Purchase where fantasy, especially Harry Potter, is popular and look for the sequel in which the characters will no doubt be a year older as Annabeth vows to meet Percy at camp next summer.-David Goodale 3Q 4P M J Copyright 2005 Voya Reviews.

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