Being a big fan of Greek mythology, I was excited to read this series. My younger sister got the box set for Christmas and I got fed up with waiting for her to read them first, so now I've stolen them. :D
Percy Jackson is the son of a Greek god - a demigod, though they are known as half-bloods. This would be a shock to anyone, but an even bigger shock is the fact that Zeus believes that Percy has stolen his master lightning bolt. And you really don't want the God of the Sky angry at you. Percy needs to find the lightning bolt before war erupts between the gods.
First things first, I really enjoyed this book in general. But there were a few problems with it that stopped me from giving it the full five stars.
Firstly, Riordan missed a full stop from a sentence in the same paragraph. Shoddy editing? Guh.
Secondly, am I the only one who thought that Percy beat everything a little too easily? He's twelve, damn it. :/ Especially Ares. I mean, seriously. Okay, so he gets himself into a lot of scrapes, but I was never truly worried about him because he seemed to get out of everything so easily. Sword fighting, for example, came really naturally to him.
Also, the foreshadowing was kind of heavily slapped on. I worked out the Big Bad AND the twist at the end long before Percy and his friends. I understand that this is a young adult book, but I don't think that the age group this is aimed at is that stupid. Maybe it's just me, though.
And the nickname Smelly Gabe made me shudder every time I read it. How puerile.
Aside from those things, though, I really did enjoy this book, and I'm very excited to read the others.
I enjoyed the modern translations of the Greek myths, particularly Medusa and the satyrs. It is interesting how they have been forced to adapt to survive, and how modern society is shaping the way they do things. On a similar note, the fact that World War II (and other such things) was caused by demigods is a very interesting idea.
I also liked the idea of Camp Half-Blood, and the fact you live in different cabins depending on who is your mother/father. Seeing the different traits inherent in all of the children of the gods was interesting too. I hope that we explore more of that in future books, and I also hold out hope that Percy will meet a child of Ares who isn't inherently unpleasant. That'd be nice, though perhaps it is the same futile hope as Harry Potter meeting a Slytherin (ie still at school) who isn't inherently unpleasant (JK Rowling missed a trick, there). We shall see, I suppose.
The thing I enjoyed most about the book, I think, was the narrative voice. Percy's character comes through very strongly, and this makes the book fast-paced and easy to read.
The good thing about this book is that you could (feasibly) read it as a standalone and not need to read any more of the series, but also you are left with the knowledge that something a lot bigger (and darker) is going on. Just what you need for a series, I think.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book (despite some niggling problems) and I'm looking forward to reading the rest!