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The Lightning Thief (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) Paperback – January 5, 2010


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Meet Percy Jackson
Read the first chapter of The Lightning Thief, the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, by Rick Riordan [PDF].

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 6
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 142313494X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423134947
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 7.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,888 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #809,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Book Description
Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.
 

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.
 

This first installment of Rick Riordan's best-selling series is a non-stop thrill-ride and a classic of mythic proportions.



Amazon Interview: Rick Riordan on The Lightning Thief

In our exclusive Q&A with Rick Riordan, bestselling author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, learn about his inspiration for the character Percy Jackson, his long-time interest in Greek mythology, and more.

Amazon.com: Since The Lightning Thief was published in 2005 it’s sold more than a million copies, and the four subsequent books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series have been blockbuster bestsellers among kids and adult readers alike. When you were writing the first story starring Percy Jackson, did you ever imagine it would become such a phenomenon? How has the success of the series affected your life?

Rick Riordan: I had no expectations other than to make a good story for my older son, Haley. I had no idea it would become a book, much less a series, until he encouraged me to write down the story.

I hoped the stories would get kids reading, but I never anticipated such exponential growth. It was not an overnight success, nor was it heavily marketed at the beginning. The Lightning Thief was passed around from kid to kid, teacher to teacher, parent to parent, and the series got bigger with each book. It really was a grassroots phenomenon. Still, I have trouble thinking in terms of millions. I measure success by anecdotes--the kid who told me he never liked books until he found The Lightning Thief, the parent who thanked me for turning her daughter into a reader, the teacher who said I turned her class around because they bonded over reading Percy Jackson every day. That's what it's all about for me.

It hasn't changed our life much other than making me busier, but doing something I love! I still drive the same car. My kids go to the same schools. We try our best to keep things simple at home.

Amazon.com: You’ve said that you wrote this series for your son, Haley, who, like the book’s hero Percy, has been diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. How does Haley feel about being the inspiration for a bestselling series?

Riordan: Both my sons are always my first audience. I read the manuscripts to them aloud to make sure they work for young readers. Both are proud, though being teenagers they are also embarrassed by the attention they get sometimes. They don’t like it when classmates ask them to get my autograph. Haley likes to play down his importance in the genesis of the series, but I think he's enjoyed growing up with Percy, and I know it has increased his interest in writing. Recently he came into my office and announced the manuscript he is working on now has a bigger word count than mine!

Amazon.com: Percy’s stories are based on Greek mythology--classic tales that have been passed down for thousands of years. What lessons can kids today learn from the ancient myths?

Riordan: The stories have everything--romance, magic, mystery, action, and great characters. The Greek gods are our first superheroes. They have amazing powers, but they are also very human and subject to jealousy, envy, anger, etc. Kids especially respond to them because they are both powerful and accessible. Who wouldn't want to be the son or daughter of a Greek god? By reading about the struggles of gods and heroes, we learn a lot about being human, and that's something that hasn't changed over the millennia.

Amazon.com: Have you ever visited Greece? What was it like?

Riordan: I’ve been to both Italy and Greece, but only after I finished the Percy Jackson series, which is ironic. One doesn’t need to travel there, however, to appreciate the stories from mythology. Those are quite universal. Greece actually reminded me quite a bit of my home in Texas--hot, green, hilly, somewhat arid, except the ocean is much better in Greece.

Amazon.com: Percy’s guardian satyr, Grover, is strongly connected to the Earth, the well-being of animals, and humans’ emotions. Moreover, Percy’s life is relatively free of technology, in contrast to many people today. Is there a message about the natural world that you’re hoping to convey through Percy and Grover?

Riordan: I don’t consciously put messages in the books, because my job is telling a good story, not preaching. However, I do pick up on themes from Greek mythology that still resonate in the modern world, and certainly man’s relationship to nature is one of those. I’ve always been fascinated by the god Pan, and his reported death in ancient times. It seemed a very relevant theme for modern readers.

Amazon.com: Percy encounters many dangers throughout his adventures--some that could be considered beyond the abilities of a normal 12-year-old. Though we know Percy is no normal kid, where does he find the find the strength to overcome all the challenges that he encounters?

Riordan: None of us knows what we're capable of until we are called to action. Percy may have demigod abilities, but he's a very normal kid in a lot of ways. He goes from a 12-year-old who is unsure of himself and his relationship with his friends and family, to a 16-year-old young man who steps up and leads a war to save Olympus. Most heroes are born out of dire circumstances, and Percy is no exception. He's afraid, unsure, doubtful, angry--all the things we would be if we were called to deal with a crisis. But he does the job anyway, and that is the definition of courage.

Amazon.com: It’s often said that writers write about what they know. Were you interested in the ancient world when you were Percy’s age? What kinds of books were your favorites when you were a kid?

Riordan: I've always loved mythology. I had a great English teacher who showed me that The Lord of the Rings (the only series I would read at age thirteen) was based on Norse myths, and from then on, I was a mythology buff. I taught mythology in my own classroom when I became a teacher, and it was consistently my students' favorite unit.

Amazon.com: If you discovered, like Percy, that you were the son of a Greek god, who would you want your immortal parent to be?

Riordan: I'd like Poseidon or Athena, but with my luck, I'd end up with Dionysus.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5-9–An adventure-quest with a hip edge. At first glance, Perseus Jackson seems like a loser (readers meet him at a boarding school for troubled youth), but he's really the son of Poseidon and a mortal woman. As he discovers his heritage, he also loses that mother and falls into mortal danger. The gods (still very active in the 21st-century world) are about to go to war over a lost thunderbolt, so Percy and sidekicks Grover (a young satyr) and Annabeth (daughter of Athena) set out to retrieve it. Many close calls and monster-attacks later, they enter Hades's realm (via L.A.). A virtuoso description of the Underworld is matched by a later account of Olympus (hovering 600 floors above Manhattan). There's lots of zippy review of Greek myth and legend, and characters like Medusa, Procrustes, Charon, and the Eumenides get updates. Some of the Labors of Heracles or Odysseus's adventures are recycled, but nothing seems stale, and the breakneck pace keeps the action from being too predictable. Percy is an ADHD, wise-cracking, first-person narrator. Naturally, his real quest is for his own identity. Along the way, such topics as family, trust, war, the environment, dreams, and perceptions are raised. There is subtle social critique for sophisticated readers who can see it. Although the novel ends with a satisfying conclusion (and at least one surprise), it is clear that the story isn't over. The 12-year-old has matured and is ready for another quest, and the villain is at large. Readers will be eager to follow the young protagonist's next move.–Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Rick Riordan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the Kane Chronicles, and the Heroes of Olympus. He is also the author of the multi-award-winning Tres Navarre mystery series for adults.

For fifteen years, Rick taught English and history at public and private middle schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Texas. In 2002, Saint Mary's Hall honored him with the school's first Master Teacher Award.

While teaching full time, Riordan began writing mystery novels for grownups. His Tres Navarre series went on to win the top three national awards in the mystery genre - the Edgar, the Anthony and the Shamus. Riordan turned to children's fiction when he started The Lightning Thief as a bedtime story for his oldest son.

Today over 35 million copies of his Percy Jackson, Kane Chronicles, and Heroes of Olympus books are in print in the United States, and rights have been sold into more than 35 countries. Rick is also the author of The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones, another #1 New York Times bestseller.

Rick Riordan now writes full-time. He lives in Boston with his wife and two sons.


Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#10 Overall (See top 100 authors)
#10 in Books
#52 in Kindle eBooks
#10 in Books
#52 in Kindle eBooks

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Customer Reviews

The book is a fun and quick read with lots of action.
LonestarReader
I really wanted to read the book after I watched the movie.
Arianna
I highly recommend that all kids my age read this book.
Jorge Muniz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

260 of 275 people found the following review helpful By Mel Odom VINE VOICE on April 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I held off buying THE LIGHTNING THIEF for a couple years. The market seems glutted with YA fantasy at the moment, and I read quite a bit of it with my 9-year-old. We've discovered several good series, but THE LIGHTNING THIEF seemed too long to hold his attention when it first came out.

This year we noticed it in the book fair at school, then saw that it was an Accelerated Reader book. So I picked it up and read a couple chapters to try it out. I was 50 pages into it when I realized I needed to be reading this to my son.

I did read it to him. We FLEW through the book (375 pages!) in 6 days because he kept pestering me to read it to him. We finished it up in a 5-hour marathon yesterday, hanging onto every page as Percy and his friends tried to save the world and put things to rights in their own lives.

THE LIGHTNING THIEF is a great book for adults and kids. I've already recommended it to a couple of adult friends who experienced the same kind of can't-put-it-down pull that I did.

Percy Jackson, the hero of the book, comes across as every kid you'd ever meet or ever would. He's no brainiac (he has dyslexia and ADHD) but he has friends who are. But he is courageous and clever, stubborn and loyal. He is the best he can be, and he's getting even better.

Riordan works in many of the Greek myths in the novel. There was a time when knowing Greek mythology was a pre-requisite for having a "classical" education. Many morals and philosophies are presented in the tales.

From the very beginning of the novel, we find out Percy is different when he ends up fighting a harpy in the museum while on a school trip.
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78 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Judy K. Polhemus VINE VOICE on October 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
I am a senior citizen--a librarian--a woman-- who could not possibly be interested in the story of a 12-year-old boy whose ADHD behavior causes him to be moved from private school to private school or that he has momentary lapses when strange behavior takes over or that he finally learns that he is a half-blood (no, not a HP half-blood), but the son of a god. No, I could not possibly be interested in such a far-fetched story, but then again I AM interested in this story because--WOW--what a story!!

Percy Jackson (Perseus at that!) learns in this first installment of The Olympians that he is indeed the son of a god and not some little podunk god, but one of the big three--Poseidon, god of all the seas. As a half-blood, he is given a quest: to find Zeus's thunderbolt. Someone has stolen it, giving rise to the book's title: the Lightning Thief.

If all this seems really strange, then you are normal. After all, we thought Greek mythology was dead. How little we knew, when in reality, it is alive and well and operating in the New West---America. The reader gets so caught up in this new telling of the old myths, ahem, stories of the living gods, that it becomes fresh and vibrant again. In fact, Mt. Olympus is now located on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building and accessible only through a special elevator ticket. You must have an appointment to get there.

Percy Jackson's pursuit of the lightning thief is just plain out fun reading. When I had to stop for any period of time, I couldn't wait to get back to the story. If the reader thinks it unrealistic that a 12-year-old is the hero, then put two and two together. Being a hero does not always take brawn--often thinking, intellect, strategy are required to solve a problem.
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272 of 302 people found the following review helpful By bensmomma on May 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
There's always the "what to read while waiting for the next HP" question for some of us, but...now don't get upset folks - I like Harry Potter as much as you do - "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" has a modern, hip, even urban style that people weary of Harry's earnest heroism may actually PREFER.

Plus, people with an interest in legends and myths will bug their eyes out with excitement, because the premise of "Percy Jackson" is that there are a handful of kids who are in fact the children of Greek gods and goddesses, who had come down to dally with modern Americans. These kids, called "half-bloods" in the book, grow up not knowing their origins, alienated by their disjointed lives and absent parents. (A nice conceit of the book is that many half-bloods have dyslexia, but only because their minds are wired for ancient Greek, and ADHD, but only because their minds are wired for hunting, a notion that should give a lot of comfort to real kids with these real problems.) But there are forces of darkness - monsters - whose aim it is to destroy such kids. They are only protected at a special camp - "Camp Half-Blood." Percy, who turns out to be a son of Poseidon, lands at this camp, but must eventually leave it and risk the monsters, to fulfill a Quest.

Even on the basis of this short description you can see there are a lot of superficial similarities to the Potter books - an orphan, with supernatural powers, who has two friends (one brainy girl and one geeky sidekick), several envious rival students. He goes to a special school and learns he is highly skilled at the school's favorite sport (in this case chariot racing). He is personally charged with a quest that, should he fail, will result in the ruin of the world.
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