The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)
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That said, Mr. Riordan clearly has done his research into the lives of the gods and goddesses and all of the associated monsters, creatures, and peoples of legend and history. He brings them to life in the 21st Century with believable characters and situations that are well-developed and that allow the stories to flow from one exciting adventure or quest to another without confusion or frustration on the part of the reader. Face it, how many of us remember the hierarchy, attributes, and tales of even the top 12, nevermind all the minor deities and various creatures from our high school classes and mandatory reading of Homer, The Odyssey, and even Shakespeare? Probably not many, mainly because most of us had no real frame of reference to hang all that ancient stuff in. As older teen now, and an avid reader, and hopefully future author I have deep admiration of Mr. Riordan's word crafting, ability to challenge YA readers with expansive vocabulary without overwhelming, his characters to whom we can all relate in a variety of aspects, and his creativity in bringing ancient mythology alive for this generation of readers. I also appreciate his highlighting some of the positives of two common learning difficulties, ADHD and dyslexia, that plague so many people in our inactive, word-oriented society. Many of our greatest minds and most creative inventors dealt or deal with one or both of these alternate ways of viewing the world, yet instead of embracing and developing these special thinkers and their skills we call them "learning disabled" and make them feel stupid when in reality these particular "disabilities" tend to be accompanied by higher than normal intelligence!
Many reviewers have synopsized this and other books in the series so I have deliberately avoided doing so and have instead focused on WHY young readers should be encouraged to read this book and the entire series. It's fun, imaginative, exciting, interesting, has male and female heroes who are well-developed characters, teaches without the reader feeling taught, shows that good and bad aren't always black and white, and has good values such as loyalty, honesty, and the value of friends, family, and community without preaching. Besides, it's just plain a darn good read all ages!
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