The Lightning Thief
|The Lightning Thief|
|Series||Percy Jackson & The Olympians|
|Release date||June 28, 2005|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover, paperback), audiobook CD|
|Prequel to||The Sea of Monsters|
The Lightning Thief is a 2005 fantasy/adventure novel based on Greek mythology. It is the first youth book written by author Rick Riordan. It is the first book in the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series. The series is about the adventures of modern 12-year-old Percy Jackson after he discovers he is a demigod (half-human, half-god). Percy is the son of a mortal woman and the Greek god Poseidon. Percy and his friends go on a quest (adventure) so that a war between the Greek gods Zeus, Poseidon and Hades will not happen.
Riordan finished writing his manuscript in 1994. The Lightning Thief was first bought by Bantam Books in 1997, then sold to Miramax Books. They published it on July 28, 2005. The book sold over 1.2 million copies in the next four years. It has appeared on the New York Times children's Best Seller list. Among other awards, it was also one of the Young Adult Library Services Association's Best Books for Young Adults. It was made into a movie named Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. The movie was first shown in the United States on February 12, 2010. The sequel to this book is The Sea of Monsters.
Concept and development[change | change source]
Planning for both The Lightning Thief and the series began when Riordan started making up stories for his son, Haley, who was found to have ADHD and dyslexia a short time before. He had started studying Greek mythology (stories) in second grade and wanted his father to tell him bedtime stories about them. Riordan had a Greek mythology teacher in middle school. He remembered some of the myths, which he then told to his son. Soon, Riordan had told him all the stories. When Haley wanted him to make up stories of his own using the characters from the myths, Riordan created the character of Percy Jackson. He made up the story of how Percy traveled across the United States to search for Zeus' master bolt. After hearing the story, Haley wanted his father to write a book about them.
In June 1994, Riordan had completed the story and started looking for agents to publish it. He went to many local colleges to find an editor before finding an agent. He gave his manuscript to his agent and editor to review. At the same time, he gave the book to some sixth, seventh and eighth graders to read and tell him what was good or bad about it. They named the book and also helped Riordan describe how Percy's sword (Riptide) worked. In June 1997, Riordan signed with Bantam Books to prepare the book for publishing. In 2004, Miramax Books bought the book. The money was enough for Riordan to quit his teaching job to focus on writing. After it was published on July 28, 2005 it sold over 1.2 million copies. The book was sold in hardcover, softcover and audio editions. It has been translated into multiple languages and published all over the world.
Plot[change | change source]
Summary[change | change source]
Percy Jackson is a 12 year old boy. He has ADHD and dyslexia, and has been thrown out of many schools. On a trip with his mother, he meets his friend Grover, a satyr (half-goat, half-human). Grover tells Percy's mother that Percy must go to a camp. As they drive towards the camp, a Minotaur (monster) attacks them and grabs Percy's mother. She dissolves into gold sparkles of light, but Grover and Percy escape.
Percy later wakes up and learns that he is in Camp Half-Blood, which is a secret training camp for demigods. Percy is moved into the Hermes cabin under the care of Luke Castellan, the cabin counselor (leader). During a game, Percy is attacked by the children of the war god Ares. He is healed when he steps into a river. When Poseidon's trident appears above his head, Percy learns that he is Poseidon's son. After World War II, Poseidon, Hades and Zeus had made an oath (promise) not to have any more children because they were too powerful. However, Poseidon had broken the oath.
Percy is then told to find Zeus's master lightning bolt, which Chiron thinks Hades stole. However, Zeus discovers that Poseidon had broken his oath, and thinks Poseidon told Percy to steal the bolt. He tells Percy that he has the ten days until the summer solstice to find it. Before leaving, Luke gives Percy magic shoes, which he gives to Grover. Annabeth (a daughter of Athena) and Grover join Percy in his quest.
They decide to travel west to reach the entrance to the Underworld, which is in Los Angeles. They meet many Greek monsters. They also meet Ares, who tells Percy that his mother is alive. As they come near the pit of Tartarus, Luke’s shoes try to pull Grover into it, but he manages to slip his hooves out of them. Percy meets Hades, who also thinks Percy stole the Master Bolt as well as his Helm of Darkness. Percy now knows that Ares has tricked him when he finds the bolt in his backpack. He runs away from the Underworld and is forced to leave his mother there. Percy then fights and defeats Ares by hurting the god's heel. Ares gives Percy the Helm of Darkness, which Percy gives back to Hades. Percy reaches New York City to give the master bolt to Zeus at the top of the Empire State Building where Olympus is now present.
Percy then goes back to camp after hearing that his mother is alive. He meets Luke, who says that he stole the bolt for the Titan Kronos. He calls out a poisonous scorpion which stings and nearly kills Percy. Chiron cures Percy, who leaves camp. He goes to another school found by his mother.
Important characters[change | change source]
- Percy Jackson – The protagonist (hero, main character); a 12 year old boy who has ADHD and dyslexia. Percy soon finds out that he is the son of Greek god Poseidon and that his disabilities are natural for demigods. Soon he is forced on an adventure to find Zeus's master bolt to prevent a war among the gods.
- Annabeth Chase – Daughter of the goddess Athena who was brought to Camp-Half-Blood by Luke and Thalia. She helps nurse Percy after he is attacked by a Minotaur. She also joins Percy on his quest for Zeus's master bolt.
- Grover Underwood – A satyr disguised as a boy and Percy's best friend. He is a recruiter for Camp Half-Blood. He leads Percy to the Camp after his mother is taken and goes with him on his journey to find Zeus's master bolt.
- Luke Castellan – The leader of the Hermes cabin at Camp Half-Blood. He is the counselor of the Hermes cabin and helps train Percy in the art of battle. Later, he betrays Percy and leaves him half dead. This reveals that he works for the Titan Kronos.
Reception[change | change source]
The Lightning Thief received mostly positive reviews. Common Sense Media said "there are two levels of fun in The Lightning Thief. One is the fast-paced quest of a young hero and his friends to save the world" and added "another level of fun here – laughing at the wicked ways the author has updated the gods and monsters for the 21st century". However, it criticized some parts of the book. They described the prose as "choppy and attitude-filled" and complained that "[t]he characters aren't emotionally involving". Its overall rating was 4 stars out of 5. The New York Times praised The Lightning Thief as "perfectly paced, with electrifying moments chasing each other like heartbeats". School Library Journal said in its starred review that the book was "An adventure-quest with a hip edge" and that "Readers will be eager to follow the young protagonist's next move". Kirkus praised the book and said, "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 a cut-to-the-chase bluntness one would wish for in a hero of old." Eoin Colfer, author of Artemis Fowl, called it "A fantastic blend (mix) of mythology and modern". Publishers Weekly also praised the book, regarding it as "swift and humorous" and added that the book would "leave many readers eager for the next installment." On April 8, 2007, The Lightning Thief was ranked ninth on The New York Times Best Seller list for children's books. When speaking about the various awards, Rick Riordan said:
"The ultimate compliment for a children's writer is when the kids like it."
Awards[change | change source]
The Lightning Thief was the winner of the School Library Journal Best Book of 2005. It was also one of the books in Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books List, 2005. It was also in the VOYA Top Shelf Fiction List, and was the Red House Children's Book Award Winner (UK), 2006, Askews Torchlight Award (UK), 2006, and the Mark Twain Award (Missouri Association of School Librarians), 2008. It was an ALA Notable Book, 2006 and a New York Times Notable Book (2005). It received the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award in 2009.
Adaptations[change | change source]
Film adaptation[change | change source]
In June 2007, 20th Century Fox acquired feature movie rights to the book. In April 2007, director Chris Columbus was hired to helm the project. Logan Lerman acted as Percy Jackson, Brandon T. Jackson as Grover Underwood, the satyr. Alexandra Daddario played the role of Annabeth while Jake Abel was cast as Luke Castellan. Pierce Brosnan played Chiron. The movie is titled Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and was first shown in the United States on February 12, 2010.
Audiobook[change | change source]
Kirkus said in their review, "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". AudioFile Magazine praised the audiobook, saying both adults and children will be "spellbound" when they listen to "this deeply imaginative tale unfold." School Library Journal both praised and criticized the audio book saying "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 character's tones and accents distinguishable".
Sequel[change | change source]
The Lightning Thief is followed by The Sea of Monsters. There, Percy and Annabeth rescue Grover, who has been taken prisoner by Polyphemus, the Cyclops. They get the Golden Fleece from Polyphemus' island to save the camp. They are joined by Percy's half brother, Tyson, and Clarisse in this mission.
Foreign language editions[change | change source]
The Lightning Thief was published in many languages. It was published in French, German, Spanish, Finnish, Swedish, Hebrew and Brazilian Portuguese. In 2008, it was published in Serbian. The French edition was known as Le voleur de foudre (OCLC 319924908). The German name of the book was Diebe im Olymp (OCLC 254901802). These two, along with the Spanish version El ladrón del rayo (OCLC 74884882), were published in 2006. The three other translations of the book, Salamavaras (OCLC 231203516), in Finnish, O ladrão de raios, in Brazilian Portuguese (in Portugal it is called Os Ladrões do Olimpo meaning The thieves of Olympus) and פרסי ג׳קסון וגנב הברק or Persi G'eḳson ṿe-ganav ha-baraḳ (OCLC 243824272) in Hebrew were published in 2008.
References[change | change source]
- Oksner, Robert. "The Lightning Thief". Kidsreads. http://www.kidsreads.com/reviews/0786838655.asp. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
- "Review of The Lightning Thief". commonsensemedia.com. pp. 1. http://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews/lightning-thief-percy-jackson-and-olympians-book-1. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
- Riordan, Rick. "Percy Jackson and the Olympians". Rick Riordan. pp. 1. http://www.rickriordan.com/index.php/books-for-children/. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
- Rick Riordan. "Contact Information". http://www.rickriordan.com/index.php/contact/. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
- Riordan, Rick. "Where did you get the idea for Percy Jackson?". pp. 1. http://www.rickriordan.com/index.php/about-the-author/an-interview-with-rick-riordan/where-did-you-get-the-idea-for-percy-jackson/. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
- Riordan, Rick. "What was your experience getting published?". pp. 1. http://www.rickriordan.com/index.php/about-the-author/an-interview-with-rick-riordan/what-was-your-experience-getting-published/. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
- Riordan, Rick. "Did you share the Percy Jackson novel with any of your students before it was published?". pp. 1. http://www.rickriordan.com/index.php/about-the-author/an-interview-with-rick-riordan/did-you-share-the-percy-jackson-novel-with-any-of-your-students/. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
- Rich, Motho (September 1, 2008). "Author of Book Series Sends Kids on a Web Treasure Hunt". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/02/books/02rior.html?scp=7&sq=The%20Lightning%20Thief&st=cse. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
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- Jesse Bernstein at the Internet Movie Database
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- "Past winners from 2000 - 2009". pp. 1. http://www.redhousechildrensbookaward.co.uk/past-winners-2000-2009.html. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
- "Askews Torchlight Award". pp. 1. http://www.librarything.com/bookaward/Askews+Torchlight+Award. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
- "Mark Twain Award 2007–08 Winners". Missouri Association of School Librarians. http://web.archive.org/web/20060304160850/http://www.maslonline.org/awards/books/MarkTwain/CurWin.php. Retrieved 2009-05-27.
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- "Notable Books of 2005". The New York Times. December 4, 2005. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/04/books/review/04notable-childrenbooks.html. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
- Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award winners Retrieved 2010-02-15.
- Claude Brodesser (2004-06-23). "'Lightning Thief' strikes Maverick". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117906944.html?categoryid=1236&cs=1. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
- The Lightning Thief at the Internet Movie Database
- Bernstien, Jesse (2005). "The Lightning Thief". AudioFile. pp. 1. http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/dbsearch/showreview.cfm?Num=23361. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
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- "Le voleur de foudre". WorldCat. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/319924908. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
- "Diebe im Olymp". WorldCat. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/254901802. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
- "El ladrón del rayo". WorldCat. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/74884882. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
- "Salamavaras". WorldCat. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/231203516. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
- "G'eḳson ṿe-ganav ha-baraḳ". WorldCat. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/243824272. Retrieved 2010-09-13.