The Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning ThiefPercy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is a graphic novel adaptation of Rick Riordan’s bestselling book of the same name. This is a fairly faithful adaptation. If you’re a fan of the book then you’ll enjoy the graphic novel. If you’re not, then this is unlikely to convert you.

The plot is the same as the book with some scenes abridged or cut entirely to save space. Strangely, many of those scenes are from when Percy is on his quest. The effect of this is that the major plot of the book does not start until you’re about halfway through. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it ensures that the protagonist is solidly characterized for first-time readers. But this leads to the adventure part being fairly short, meaning that some plot elements seem to come out of nowhere or are not fully fleshed out (although not to such a degree as to cripple the plot).

The art leaves something to be desired. It’s not particularly bad, but it fails to convey the scale of the adventure. The Underworld doesn’t feel particularly daunting, Ares looks more like a punk then a god and Olympus doesn’t feel particularly grand. I would describe the art as serviceable but no more than.

Like the book on which it’s based, the graphic novel is safe for all ages. There’s some violence, but it’s not bloody or terribly explicit. The thing that’s worst is the implication of an unhealthy relationship between Percy’s mother and step-father, but this only lasts a page and, again, is not in any way explicit and is easy to overlook.

This is a fine book for people looking for a quick, mildly insubstantial read, but it’s unlikely to win any awards.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan; Adapted by Robert Venditti
Art by Attila Futaki
ISBN: 978-142311696
Hyperion Books, 2010
Publisher Age Rating: 10

  • Michael Kahan

    Past Reviewer

    This reviewer is not longer actively working on our site, but we would not be here if not for our many dedicated contributors over the years. We thank all of them for their reviews, features, and support!

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