Sunday, September 13, 2009

Book Review: The Lightning Thief

Every month I try to read at least one SF, one Fantasy, and one Horror novel, and even with the amount of books I read a month, I really don't have time to read all of the stuff I'd like to. Luckily for me, one of the benefits of having kids is that sometimes they can recommend some great stuff, and wow - am I glad I listened to my 12-year-old on this one.

The best Fantasy book I read this summer was by far "Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1: The Lightning Thief," by Rick Riordan (pictured, right). This book mixes together the best bits of the Harry Potter Series (kid out of their element, big scary adventure, magic) with Classic Greek myth (Huge powerful gods, searches for amazing artifacts) and a summer camp adventure story (cabins, activities, bullies and summer romances). Reading this book takes me back to my own favourite fantasy book when I was twelve, The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub.

Now I know lots of people are going to say that the Talisman is the superior book, and yes of course it is - it takes elements of Huck Finn and puts them together with one of the most emotional coming-of-age stories I have ever had the pleasure to read.

What I do mean is that the wonder, joy, and sheer "Damn, that's cool"-ness of The Lightning Thief takes me back to the feelings I had reading my favourite fantasy adventure series as a kid.

The book is the first in an ongoing series, and I am limiting myself to reading these books at the rate of one a month because I just really - REALLY - loved them. You get magic power, demigods, centaurs, harpies, Medusa and more in this series, and I haven't even talked about the gods themselves yet.

Basically, this book is just fantastic - I enjoyed it the whole way through and it passes my own personal book-judging test with flying colours:

1) would I buy it? - Yup.
2) would I recommend it to anyone? - definitely.

If you are looking for a great adventure read with a dash of Classical myth involved, look no further. I give this book my top recommendation. But I'd get a copy soon, because I just saw the trailer for the movie - and I think there will be a lot of demand for the book in the next few months.

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