Monday, December 28, 2009

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

A month or so ago, an upcoming movie was brought to my attention - "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief." The plot sounded interesting and I'm a sucker for anything involving mythology. Although I consider myself a liberal Celtic Reconstructionist and NeoDruid, Greek mythology will always have a special place in my heart. It was what I was first exposed to. Indeed, my favorite Saturday Morning Cartoon was a series of animated Greek myths!

When I found out that the movie was based on a book I decided to find it and read it. I'm a bit out of touch with juvenile fiction. As an English major I was far too busy reading old classics to have time to read anything else! When I had free time to read what I wanted, I found myself reading history and NeoPagan studies. As a college grad with some time on my hands, I decided to give it a try and I'm glad I did.

The first book, which shares the movie title, follows the adventures of Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon, and his friends as they race to recover Zeus' stolen thunder bolt to its rightful owner in order to prevent a massive war. The book, in my opinion, is Harry Potter meets American Gods. There is a world of mortals and a world of Gods, monsters, and Godlings or half-Gods. This classification is the witch/wizard and muggle world of Harry Potter, I suppose. The Godlings even have a special place to go in the summer called "Camp Half-Blood" where they learn to be better heros (because that's what people with divine parents naturally become!). It reminds me of Gaiman's wonderful book because the Gods are very much alive, interacting with the mortal world, and have modern touches. Poseidon, for instance, wears a beach shirt and his throne looks like a fisherman's chair. Whimsical touches like that really make the book enjoyable.

The colloquial first-person narration was, at times, annoying, but that could stem from the fact that I generally don't read juvenile fiction. I did get used to it but there were times when it was a bit jarring. The story was fun but some elements were predictable (or didn't add up to the mythology I studied in college - but most of it was really well done). That said, I can't wait to read the next one! It was a relaxing and enjoyable read. I can definitely see myself reading it to any children I have.

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