Part 1: The Lightning Thief
I, in my 26 years of existence on this cursed planet, never deigned to pick up Percy Jackson and the Olympians even once. Why, you ask? I was otherwise occupied with the magic school series that should not be named.
I am embarrassed.
Anyway, some of my closest friends are PJO fans and because I do not like them having inside jokes and conversations that do not involve me (I’m in therapy leave me alone), I decided to jump on the bandwagon as well.
It’s definitely not because Charvi is scary when she wants me to read a book or anything HAHAHAHAHhelpHAHAH.
Not only did my friends (Charvi, along with Nandini and Mathangi)
threaten to cut ties with me gently nudge me towards picking up this series, but they also got me the whole boxset as a birthday gift so I’d read the series with them. I love them, your honour.
Without further ado, here’s a stream of consciousness post on my thoughts as a grownass woman reading The Lightning Thief for the first time. I’ve pretty much raved along to the entire story, so spoilers ahead! Proceed with caution!
Listen, if I had known the book literally started with “I Accidentally Vaporize my Pre-algebra Teacher”, I would have picked it up in 2006. Instead, I spent 5th grade being called a “rascal” by darling Rosaline ma’am who taught us algebra. I wish I were kidding. I am still discussing the trauma in therapy, yes.
“Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.”
And I didn’t want to be born, what’s your point?
Anyway, our story begins with Percy, a 12-year-old kid who has ADHD and dyslexia who’s on a school field trip to MOMA to “look at ancient Greek and Roman stuff.”
While Percy hates field trips because they always lead to mishaps that get him kicked out of school, he does have a bit of hope for this one because it’s led by Mr. Brunner, a Latin teacher he likes. Since Percy is a Good Boi with just two brain cells, he jumps to defend his scrawny little friend Grover when the school bully targets him. Also can we take a moment to talk about Nancy Bobofit? How does she even have the confidence to bully with a last name like Bobofit? Sigh.
Anyway, Bobo-whatever bullies Grover, who I already love don’t @ me, and apparently so does Percy because he gets so angry, Bobo lands ass first in a fountain! Go Percy! We don’t tolerate bullying in this house.
This summons Mrs. Dodds, the Algebra teacher, who apparently looks at Percy like he’s devil spawn when actually it is Algebra teachers who are usually devil spawn. Anyway, Mrs. Dodds drags him into the museum — to the Greek and Roman section again, *wink wink* — and surprise! She actually is a monster
like most algebra teachers. Well, a shrivelled hag, but I’m not going to hold it against her because that’s also me in quarantine.
Mr. Brunner immediately appears because this is a fantasy — in real life, no one can be saved from Algebra teachers. He tosses Percy a ballpoint pen that turns into a sword that helps him vaporize the teacher. You know, general stuff you want to do to an Algebra teacher.
Anyway, once they go back to school, everyone pretends that Mrs. Dodds never existed except for Grover who refuses to talk about her. Now, while I do condone pretending an Algebra teacher never existed, I still think this is is highly sus.
At the end of term, Percy and Grover ride a Greyhound (of the bus kind, might I add. Wheels, not woof-woof.) home when it breaks down. Percy also notices three old ladies knitting which freaks Grover out. Rightfully so might I add, because when I meet old aunties who are knitting, they ask scary questions like when I’m getting married and if I “have any life plans at all”.
Once Percy gets home, his mother Sally surprises him with a trip to a beach house in Montauk where they discuss, amongst other things, Percy’s dad who left her when she was pregnant with Percy. It looks like a normal vacation, but we still have more than 300 pages to go so of course a hurricane happens.
Percy wakes up from a vivid dream to the storm and Grover suddenly appears warning them to leave. Sally drives the two kids to Camp Half-Blood when a Minotaur appears. While Percy and Grover manage to escape, his mom disappears with a flash when the monster grabs her. Oh and Percy kills the Minotaur and promptly passes out.
Once Percy wakes up in the camp infirmary, Grover takes him to meet the camp director Mr. D, and Mr. Brunner who is really a centaur named Chiron. Oh and Mr. D is actually Dionysus, the Greek gods are real, Mount Olympus is in NYC, and all the campers in Camp Half-Blood are demigods.
Talk about surprises, geez.
Over the next few pages, Annabeth, daughter of Athena, shows Percy around camp and he also vibes with Luke, son of Hermes. This camp has its own Nancy Bobofit in Clarisse, daughter of Ares — of course bullies are descended from the God of war, geez. She tries to shove Percy down a toilet but water shoots up right up in her face.
I’d really, really like Percy to notice that all these “accidents” are water-related but he hasn’t become friends enough with Annabeth for her to tell him that. This boy sure wouldn’t figure it out himself, I swear. Also, I love Annabeth, that’s all.
Back to the story.
The more time Percy spends at camp, the more he learns. Grover tells him how after WWII, the big three Gods, Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon made a pact to not have children.
Zeus being Zeus, broke the pact to have Thalia but unfortunately, monsters killed her. We do learn later that Zeus took pity on her and turned her into the pine tree at the top of Half-Blood Hill, but seriously, you needn’t have harmed the kid if you could have just kept it in your pants, Z.
The campers then play Capture the Flag where Percy stands by a stream as guard for his team. Clarisse and her cronies try to attack Percy but he falls into the stream and the water makes him strong enough to fight back. He still has no clue why, though. Hmm, the boy really has just two brain cells. Where’s Annabeth to point things out to him?
Percy’s team goes on to win the game and a hellhound from the Fields of Punishment rushes into camp immediately after, putting a bit of a damper on celebrations. The archers immediately kill the beast after which Percy gets claimed with a trident appearing over his head! All hail the son of the Sea God!
Also, I was right. Annabeth did figure it out before the very public claiming. I love her.
The next day, Percy gets granted a quest. He speaks to the Oracle and gets a prophecy that says he must go West. Chiron tells him Zeus and Poseidon are fighting because the former’s thunderbolt is missing and he believes Percy took it.
Siblings fighting over shit that doesn’t matter? Gods, they’re just like us!
Chiron also believes that it is actually Hades who took it to start shit so Percy must travel to the Underworld — which is in LA, of course — and retrieve it.
Percy, who’s been missing his mom throughout and believes she’s stuck in the Underworld, realises he can rescue his mum if he does go to LA. Grover and Annabeth also accompany him because the book would be very boring otherwise.
Oh and gifts!
Percy gets that ballpoint pen which turns into a sword named Riptide from Chiron and Luke gives him a winged pair of shoes (???). Obviously Percy can’t wear it because flying when the God of the Sky hates your guts is a Very Bad Idea. A for effort, I guess.
The trio board a bus to reach the Underworld. The Furies also board the bus because Gods forbid Percy gets to take a breath, GEEZ. They accost Percy asking him where some object is. Like go to the Lost and Found, ladies. Leave the kid alone.
The trio manage to escape by crashing the bus and they run through the woods until they reach a shop called Aunty Em’s Garden Gnome Emporium. Now, I don’t know about you but I once again think entering this business is a Very Bad Idea.
Aunty Em turns up fully covered and veiled and promises there’s food. Despite Grover’s misgivings about the place, the trio enter to silence their growling stomachs. Her food makes them drowsy but Annabeth quickly realises something’s up and they try to leave.
The woman seems very against the idea and suggests taking a picture as a last-ditch effort. Thankfully, all the sculptures around the shop clue the three in and they realise she actually is Medusa. You know, the woman whose one look can turn you into stone. She’s the woman of my dreams, really.
To save other patrons from a similar stony fate, they decide to kill Medusa. Percy chops her head off and does probably the single most badass thing I’ve read in a book. He packs up her head and delivers it to Mount Olympus with the note, “With best wishes, from Percy Jackson.”
Percy, right after:
A lot more mishaps and chaos happen in the trio’s adventures, what with Percy being attacked by Echidna and a Chimera at the Gateway Arch, Luke encouraging them to stay on track via
FaceTime Iris message, and Ares giving them a side quest to retrieve his shield from an amusement park in return for safe passage to LA. Because, of course.
Eventually, they reach LA, escape more roadblocks, and manage to enter Hades’ lair only to find that not only did he not steal Zeus’ lightning bolt but also his Helm of Darkness is missing.
Zeus and Hades when they meet at the Lost and Found:
They manage to escape Hades — he has piss-poor security anyway — and at the beach, they run into Ares who we discover had set up Percy. The bolt was in the backpack Ares gave him back in Denver and he has the Helm of Darkness. Not cool, dude.
Percy manages to injure Ares and police arrive at the scene, giving him his out. The Furies take Hades’ Helm of Darkness back while the trio fly to New York to go to Mount Olympus. Percy returns the bolt to Zeus and also reveals his suspicions that it’s the creature in Tartarus — Kronos — that’s probably causing these problems. Poseidon and Zeus, however, reveal that Kronos is powerless in there.
They’re probably wrong or why would we have 4 more books, huh?
When Percy returns home, Sally is back and she’s alive and well. I’m glad because I honestly started loving her after having known her for exactly two (2) chapters.
He then goes back to camp where he learns that Luke was a double agent all along. Of course. Why else would that dumb bitch give you winged shoes, Percy, huh?
Me to Luke:
Luke sets a pit scorpion on Percy and disappears. Percy, too, manages to escape and Chiron convinces him that there’s not really much he can do about Luke or Kronos.
Percy heads back home to his mom for the summer and I’m sure he’ll be back for more adventures in Sea of Monsters. Goodie!
Sooooo, that’s a wrap.
- What did you think of this rambling recap? Would you like to see more of it?
- Have you read The Lightning Thief?
- Is there a popular book from your childhood that you still haven’t read?
Talk to me in the comments!