Mook Review: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series #1) Written by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Series #1, Mookology

via BN.com

The Lightning Thief is a children’s fantasy novel narrated by the 11-year-old DemiGod, Percy Jackson.  While I found the concept of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series intriguing and clever, this story just fell a little short.  As an adult nearing my mid-twenties, I knew the character of Percy Jackson would not measure up in terms of relatability but, since I do enjoy young adult fantasy, I had high expectations.  However, I was disappointed with the construction of the novel and character development.

While I know young brains do not have the depth to understand complex characters and  plot lines, Riordan’s novel was rushed and anticipated in a bad way.  At several points in the novel I had to ask myself “wait, what just happened?”  It seemed like the main characters of Percy, Annabeth, and Grover had no purpose for their quest and every villain they met along the way was predictable.  The whole Kronos/Ares/Luke connection really lost me and didn’t seem to have any meaning behind it.  There was potential to create a  serious undertone, with Kronos and the Titans planning to overthrow the Gods of Olympus, but it just didn’t get there.  It went kind of overlooked as if the Gods shrugged it off as “Oh we will deal with it when it happens.”

Overall, I can understand the creation of the story and how a younger generation might be attracted to it, but I didn’t get that truly heroic vibe that I wanted.  Percy Jackson is no Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen.  The Lightning Thief was interesting, but often purposeless, and not as enjoyable as I’d anticipated.

“Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”  Directed by Chris Columbus

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief movie, Chris Columbus, Mookology, Movie Review, Rick Riordan

via IMDB.com

After reading The Lightning Thief I was curious to see whether the movie portrayal would succeed the overall success of the novel.  The first thing I noticed was the age difference; Percy Jackson in the novel is a 6th grader, but Percy Jackson in the movie is a teenager.  This was the first sign that Chris Columbus wanted to reach a different audience, perhaps trying to get a grasp on the Harry Potter aged viewers.  This was a great marketing ploy.  The chances of teenagers seeing a movie headlined by children is very slim.  It also helped that actor Logan Lerman is very adorable and a potential tween heartthrob.

But first things first.  This movie was entirely disconnected from the novel and both the purpose and plot lines of the novel were essentially erased.  To be quite honest, I enjoyed the changes.  While the film was not a masterpiece by any means, I felt that it connected the idea of Percy Jackson and the Olympians in a much better way than the novel.  To start, we know immediately that Percy is the son of Poseidon; there is no purposeless dilly-dallying like in the novel.  Second, there is no person responsible for Percy’s mission; he rebels and does what HE wants to do, along with the help of Annabeth and Grover.

To my surprise, the characters were slightly more dense in the movie.  Annabeth isn’t just a name calling know it all like in the novel-she is strong and level headed, not to mention intimidating.  Grover, the character I liked least in the novel, won my heart in the movie.  I though the portrayal of Grover has more of a ‘cool’ guy, rather than the nerdy failure he is in the book, was smart.  In The Lightning Thief there was no moment where I actually felt that I liked the characters, where in the movie there were quite a few of these.  As I stated before, I am not saying this film is incredible, or even very good, but it definitely took the book places it hadn’t gone before.

Strange, huh?  Who would have thought there would ever be a movie that succeeded the novel?  Oh, the things you learn through mookology.
Mook Rating – ★1/2

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6 thoughts on “Mook Review: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

  1. Alyssa, just find mookology, and is a very interesting blog. Your texts are very nice. You have now a brazilian reader.

    About Percy Jackson. As you, I am an adult (much older than you) that likes juvenile books. But, unlike you, I preferred the book instead the moovie. I think that, in the whole, Riordan was sucessfull in bring the mitological universe to our times. The explanations presented are, in almost all cases, convincing, and the book has a interesting complexity (the Kronos/Ares/Luke thing you did not liked, but which will be further developed in the other books of this series). And I think the book brings us a more misteryous universe. That oraculo thing, in which Percy need do go on to have a mission, instead just rebeling and going… There are some situations in which we fell a litlle nedd for more information, but these lacks will be fullfilled along the series. Did you readed the other four books ?

    I guess maybe you did not liked it very much because the book, in my perception, is a bit more boy-ish instead neutral. And, just in case: I agree Katniss have a more intracated personality, but Hunger Games are, definiteley, a bit girl-ish book.

    Returning to Percy, in the movie there are so much carachters missing. Ares, Dioniso, Kronos, the Oraculo, Clarissa… There are less “colors” in the movie. And the removal off Kronos from the screenplay turns impossible the sequels developing, because the entire series is about Kronos against Gods&Demigods

    Well, just my opinion. Despite it, I did liked the movie, I can not say is a Gret Movie, but is fun.

    Congratulations for the blog.

    Celio : > )

    • Thank you for your support all the way from Brazil! I read your review thoroughly, and maybe you are right that it is a “boy-ish” book, but so is Harry Potter, and I felt the actual writing was not as successful as some other YA novels. It is very clear that Riordan has some fantastic intelligence on Greek mythology, but a smart person does not always make the best writer :) I will admit, I did not continue with the series so I’m sure my perspective might have been a little different had I continued to the second novel. For me, the first book didn’t do enough to really hook me in and want to approach the next in the series. But maybe after your response I will give it a try! Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy Mookology!

  2. Hai Alyssa, this is the first time i come to your blog and i like it! I’m Mia from Indonesia, and your point is very interesting. I’ve read and watched the movie and surprisingly we had the same feeling. I don’t like Grover at the book but in the movie, he was such a lovely character, goofy and funny.

    If you like mythology you might give Red Pyramid a chance :) Because i think Percy Jackson began to loose his sparkles at 4 and 5th book, but overall still worth to read. Cheers :)

  3. Hey! Found this one after reading your post on the City of Bones. I’m Shannon from the UK.
    Personally, I prefered reading the books to the movie, but only because I read it first. While I get that it may not be the best book series around (though Riordan’s later books in a spin off series show Percy and Annabeth to be deeper characters than in the Lightening Theif) I was at the right age to read it (about 12). So I read it first; I also really hate movies that cut out a lot from the books! Or change a lot!
    I think that, because the first book is an introduction to this entire new world, it has to be slow-ish, maybe to ease younger readers into it? Also, we are shown this world through Percy’s eyes, so everything we see is at the rate of which he sees it. And he has to come to terms with Greek Gods being real, and monsters and all the rest of it, so he’s easing himself in too.
    I hope I didn’t come across as just contradicting everything you said! I just get a little defensive over my favourite books!
    (Still think the film is runnish though!)

  4. Just saw your blog recently, and it was amazing! I feel the same way about the Percy Jackson Series, Everything is totally different and out of the book. They even jump into conclusions and show bits of the other books content.

    I still prefer the book because, as you have said, there were missing characters in the movie.

    NICE BLOG!!! <3

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