Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2009 Book #1

I finished my first book of the new year (only 39 to go to make my resolution!) This book was not one that I would have picked up on my own, but was one that I had to read for my 4th grade book club discussion. The book is The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan.

The jist of the book is that the main character, Percy Jackson, is labeled a troublemaker in school & has ADHD. Any school he has ever attended, he has been kicked out of & he is now in the 6th grade. He has some strange things that keep happening to him-he sees faces where there shouldn't be faces, he watches one of his teachers turn into a monster & then he vaporizes her, etc. He soon learns that this is all because he is a half-blood meaning that he is half Greek god & half human. His mom sends him to Camp Half Blood, where he meets other kids who are also the sons & daughters of Greek gods & godesses. He befriends a satyr & a daughter of Athena. They accompany him on a quest across the U.S., into the Underworld & back out again to help solve a problem that is causing turmoil amongst the gods, which could lead to WWIII for the rest of the world.

I thought this book was okay. It never really drew me in to the point where I couldn't put it down & Percy wasn't a character who made me really feel for him. He struck me as a bit conceited & I may have enjoyed it more if one of the other 2 main characters was telling the story from their perspective instead. I did like the whole Greek mythology aspect of the book, which was something that I was always interested in learning. I did wonder about using it for a 4th grade book club though, since many of those kids haven't really been exposed to Greek mythology yet, I figured that many parts of this story would be hard for them to grasp (& I was right!) It would serve better as an early middle school book. I thought the play on Greek gods & monsters living in the U.S. was kind of a fun twist on the mythology part of the book. This book is the first in a series & I can easily say that this book did not make me want to read the next book, but the excerpt from the 2nd book in the back of the book did interest me in it more. I also kind of felt like the author was playing off of the whole Harry Potter thing too (main character finds out this secret about himself in junior high-he is actually a very powerful person, doesn't "get" all of the common knowledge things in his new world, befriends a 'weaker' male character & a 'stronger' girl character, together they have a mystery to solve with an older mentor/teacher looking out for them, etc.) although I don't know if it was intentional-it was just a connection that I made between the two series. Overall, I liked the book, but I just wasn't excited about it.

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