Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is making its comeback, thanks to Disney’s new live-action series. But how does this once classic YA novel hold up in 2024 – especially with the new series?
In short – really well, actually. This book (and the entire series, to be fair) will always be near and dear to my heart, even in the modern day.
The Good Reads summary –
“Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he goes to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.”
Okay, so in truth, I read this book for the first time in my first year at Uni. A little late in life I know, but the first few pages of this book drew me in immediately and kept me so enthralled that I read through the night. It was the first time I picked up a book for pleasure in a while, and I loved it.
When I reread it in preparation for the Disney+ live-action series, the experience was much the same.
Riordan’s unique take on Greek mythology pulls readers in immediately, but the incredible characters and overarching storyline keep you flipping through those pages. Like Harry Potter, these books, filled with Greek gods, monsters, and sassy 12-year-old is great entertainment for the entire family.
The book is written in Percy’s POV, so we get to experience the full brunt of his feelings as he takes on this journey. It details ADHD perfectly and still provides a great relatable experience to modern children.
While older readers might immediately pick up on the enemies-to-friends-to-lovers, younger readers will enjoy the budding friendship between the three main characters in The Lightning Thief. And, despite this being targeted at a younger audience, the book still tackles bigger issues that kids should be exposed to.
For example, Grover and his insights and feelings towards humans and their impact on the environment. A hot-button topic (kind of) done in a far more palatable way for the youth.
Additionally, the angst young teens feel when discovering who they are. Being a demigod might not be universal, but self-discovery is.
What about the TV show?
Yes, the new Disney+ live action does a relatively decent job of bringing these characters to life. More so than the movies. However, there are several differences in the source material that might disappoint fans coming from the show and picking the book up for the first time.
Regardless though, readers will enjoy the show, and vice versa, if they remember the differences between the two mediums.
In short, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is an incredible read that sets the stage for an incredible 5-book journey. Everyone will enjoy this book – so parents, you’ve got something for your tweens to read. For older readers, this might be a YA book, but it’s an incredibly fun reading experience.
Grab your swords, some ambrosia, a bag of blue candy and a copy of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan at Exclusive Books for R250 for the adventure of a lifetime.
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