Author: Rick Riordan
Illustrator : John Rocco (cover art)
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Audience: High school – Adult
Summary: Percy Jackson (a 12-year-old boy with dyslexia and attention deficit disorder) finds his way to a special summer camp for “half blood” children – half human/half god. When it is discovered that his father is Poseidon, he is sent on a quest to retrieve Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt and avert a war between the gods. This is the story of Percy’s quest and the two friends from the camp who accompany him, his encounters with monsters, Greek gods, and a mysterious power bent on destruction.
Literary elements at work in the story: The story is fantasy science fiction set in the United States, particularly New York and Los Angeles. The Greek gods – and the story itself – are presented in a tongue-in-cheek fashion and uses comedic quips often and well.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic/ability: Each “half blood” has some unique gift inherited from the immortal who was their parent. This book makes no significant distinction between genders in their talents, strengths, or intelligence. There are no ethnic descriptors and diversity is achieved by virtue of the different magical creatures that abound in the book (satyrs, harpies, centaurs, etc.)
Scripture: Deuteronomy 10:17, Mark 12:31, Luke 6:29
Theology: There is no explicit theological message in this book other than the predictable tale of good versus evil. However, theological concepts could be explored using a compare and contrast format.
As the protagonist learns that the Greek gods do exist, he asks about the existence of God. The issue is sidestepped (though significantly not scoffed at) by saying “God – capital G, God. That’s a different matter altogether.” The gods of Olympus are referred to as “a smaller matter.”
Faith Talk Questions:
- What are some words or phrases that could be used to describe the Greek gods as presented in the book – not just magically but also physically, temperamentally, and behaviorally?
- How does this compare to what you believe about God – capital G, God?
- Think about the conflicts and bad things that happened in the book. What do you think were reasons behind those actions? Why do you suppose the characters (Gabe, Clarisse, Luke, as well as the gods and magical creatures) did what they did?
- What motivated our heroes (Percy, Annabeth, and Grover) in the story? In what actions of theirs (and others) did you see Christian traits reflected?
Review prepared by Kelly Hames, MACE, Entering cohort Fall 2008
The Lightning Thief by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.