Book Review: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I expect most young people have already heard of, if not read, the first Percy Jackson book.  Rick Riordan should be justifiably proud of his rip-roaring tale with lots of twists and turns, brilliant imagery and nicely developing characters.  I’ll come to what he shouldn’t be proud of in a minute.

It’s a thoroughly enjoyable book.  I don’t know whether it helps or hinders to have a basic understanding of Greek Gods so you can follow some of the characters and their relationships with each other.  I suspect not.  On the other hand, it may give younger people an incentive to go and visit the old Greek Myths and Legends.  Coming from the old school, I twigged very early on who Percy’s dad was, but other aspects were way beyond my memory of anything I’d read in my youth. So apart from recognising names, I can’t use my inside knowledge to judge how well Mr Riordan transfers the spirit of the Greek Myths to his world.  I think it’s a wonderful invention though, and his explanation for just why the Gods live where they do is delightfully obvious when you think about it!  I wish I’d thought of it first.  Do not let my waffling on about Greek Gods put you off.  Percy Jackson is a wonderful fantasy adventure for kids of all ages.

But here’s the rub.  We are continually told how indie authors produce shoddy products, how professional editing is needed and how only professional publishers can really produce the goods.  Well, my copy of the ebook, bought from Amazon, “First published in the USA by Hyperion Books for Children 2005… First published in Great Britain in Puffin Books 2005.  Published in this edition 2006, reissued 2008,9” (Kindle Edition 1 May 2008) needs a darn good proof-reading and correction.  I can’t begin to count the number of missing inverted commas around speech or apostrophes in contractions (which left a space where they should go, very confusingly).  There are also some spurious paragraph endings in the middle of paragraphs.

Does it spoil the story?  Well, since some of the missing inverted commas were in the most exciting part of the book, which means you have to read it twice when you realise it doesn’t make sense because you’ve got a change of speaker… yes!!  Shame on you, Penguin books (of which Puffin is an imprint). You may have fallen foul of the famous Text to Mobi or EPUB formatting problems that every Indie eBook Author has to struggle with.  BUT SORT IT OUT.  We do.

I’ll probably read some more of the series though, which suggests that yes, people will put up with bad editing if the story is good enough.  Just don’t use this one as a good example of a well-edited ebook.

Rick Riordan: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

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