Flashback Friday: The Lightning Thief

Edna Lopez ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Rick Riordan introduces an enchanting modern mythological world in The Lightning Thief. As the start of the highly renowned children’s fantasy series Percy Jackson & the Olympians, The Lightning Thief introduces readers to the wonderful world of modern Greek gods, goddesses, and demigods. Published by Marimax Books in 2005, The Lightning Thief follows Percy Jackson, a boy from New York, as he discovers he is the son of a Greek god. After some unfortunate run-ins with monsters he finds himself at Camp Half-Blood, a camp dedicated to the protection of the descendants of Greek gods and goddesses.  This adventurous story was originally targeted at younger audiences but manages to appeal to a wide range of readers.

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Photo Credit: Goodreads

Riordan’s connection with readers is strengthened by his vivid writing and Percy’s comical narrative. As a young twelve-year-old protagonist, Percy Jackson is able to connect with readers through his charming and sarcastic tone as well as his bravery. His character grows on fans as they see him develop into a hero worthy of the gods. Still, Percy Jackson is not the only character in The Lightning Thief who forms a strong connection with readers. At Camp Half-Blood Percy meets Annabeth Chase, a daughter of Athena. Annabeth is both intelligent and courageous, and as a daring girl, she becomes a role model for young girls reading the series. Likewise, Percy’s other best friend, Grover Underwood, becomes a role model by demonstrating that second chances are worth pursuing.

Throughout the novel, Riordan successfully combines the heartwarming parts of a children’s story with the challenging aspects of a heroic tale. The Lightning Thief deals with topics such as family, love, and loyalty. Percy and his friends might be young but they are able to tackle the mature topics, making them some of the most relatable characters in children’s literature. Readers have a chance to grow with these inspiring characters by following their journey in the rest of the series.

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Photo Credit: Goodreads

The Lightning Thief’s impact is still evident today. In 2010 The Lightning Thief was adapted into a live action movie, starring Logan Lerman. Rick Riordan also continued to expand the world The Lightning Thief introduced in his sequel series The Heroes of Olympus and most recently The Trials of Apollo. Riordan’s riveting world created an enthusiastic community amongst fans. In 2006 BookPeople, an independent bookstore in Texas, began a real-life Camp Half-Blood where young fans of the series can come enjoy and participate in activities inspired by the series. The series continues to attract readers more than a decade after its original publication due to its unique take on fantasy and mythology. Percy Jackson & the Olympians has been on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 400 weeks as of October 2016, making it the children’s series with the longest time on the bestseller list. This proves no matter what age or generation, Percy Jackson & the Olympians is a thrilling read for all, and The Lightning Thief was the beginning of a timeless era.

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