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