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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Audiobook Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book One: The Lightning Thief

Author: Rick Riordan
Narrator: Jesse Bernstein
Title:Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book One: The Lightning Thief
Publication: June 28, 2005
Publisher: Listening Library
Genre: Middle-Grade, Mythology
Pages: 416
Length: 10 hours and 1 minute
Audience: 10 and up
Rating: 3 out of 5
Source: Public Library

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school . . . again. No matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to stay out of trouble. But can he really be expected to stand by and watch while a bully picks on his scrawny best friend? Or not defend himself against his pre-algebra teacher when she turns into a monster and tries to kill him? Of course, no one believes Percy about the monster incident; he's not even sure he believes himself. Until the Minotaur chases him to summer camp. Suddenly, mythical creatures seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. The gods of Mount Olympus, he's coming to realize, are very much alive in the twenty-first century. And worse, he's angered a few of them: Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now Percy has just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property, and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. On a daring road trip from their summer camp in New York to the gates of the Underworld in Los Angeles, Percy and his friends-one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena-will face a host of enemies determined to stop them. To succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of failure and betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

My thoughts:
 I know, I know. This book has been out for almost 10 years. It was something I always meant to pick up, but I always had something else to read. So now I'm making up for lost time. My husband and I went on a road trip a couple of weeks ago, and we now have a tradition of having an audiobook to listen to on the trip. He had tried to read The Lightning Thief a couple of times, but he always turned it off. I thought, AH HA! We are stuck in a car and I will not allow him to turn it off. The book started out slow for me, and I was able to figure every single thing out a chapter or in some cases many chapters ahead. However, the audience for this book isn't adult it is for middle-school aged kids. I think this book is perfect for middle schoolers and they might learn something in the process. I learned a few things even!
The characters were straight out of mythology, so nothing too new. Annabeth is the annoying little sister type character. Grover was the traditional best friend. Percy was the confused, main hero. It is like Harry Potter, but he isn't orphaned and it is mythology not magic. 
I listened to the audiobook and Jesse Bernstein did a great job. He did different voices for every single character. He is a talented narrator, and if you have a middle schooler, you should make them listen to this book. He only had one tic that kind of annoyed me. Every time he said "Grover" it was more like, "Grover?", but in a mom type voice. You know, when you get into trouble and your mom says, "Susie? What did you do?" He seemed to do that a lot, but it is nothing major, just something I noticed.
So if you're bored, this is a great listen. I'm not sure I'll listen to the others because I'm older, but if I had read them when they came out, I probably would have loved them more.


  1. Thanks for the review. We have to travel several hours for doctor's appointments and always must take the children. It would really help if we had audiobooks that were age-appropriate for them to listen to. They love the Percy Jackson movies, so I had wondered about the books. I think they'd like the book and would listen. The tic you mentioned would probably drive me bonkers, but I could live with it, if it would keep my children calm for 8 or 9 hours on the road.

  2. My husband loves to listen to audio books. His favorite is the Harry Potter series. He has also listened to this entire series as well. Personally I liked the Heroes of Olympus were better books then the first five books.

  3. I too haven't read this series. I'm not sure if I ever will. Maybe if/when my kids are old enough we'll revisit the topic.

  4. I agree with your opinions on the book itself (middle school me would have been OBSESSED, but adult me is just "this is cute, but not quite my thing anymore"), but I TOTALLY disagree with your opinion on the audiobook narrator. I absolutely hated it. Granted, most of this disdain is coming from my impression of the later books- the first wasn't actually that bad. He has a great Percy voice, and his Annabeth and Grover voices are pretty ok too. But other characters that become important later? Especially if those characters are female or supposed to have an accent? Completely horrid, I had to stop listening halfway through #3, and need to track down a physical/e-copy now.

  5. I have never read this series either, and I am not entirely sure why. After reading your review, I am not entirely sure if I would enjoy it very much. Not because it isn't a great story, because I have no doubt that it is, but I am also 31 years old and while I mostly read YA and I do love a lot of MG stories, this one may just be too young. But I think I will probably at least give it a chance one day. It is too iconic to not at least try!

  6. I've been meaning to read this and I may very soon. I'm 28 years old and I just recently became open minded about trying mg books . I've only read one The Iron Jawed boy (The sky guardians #1) It was just okay but maybe I will find a MG that I love. I read a mixture of YA and Adult.