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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

A Very Commercial Blend Of Greek Myths And Teenage Culture

The Lightning Thief  - Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson has been kicked out of umpteen schools because he's got ADHD, he's dyslexic, he just doesn't fit in. What's more all his life weird things have been happening to him, things that just don't make sense until one day he learns the truth. Though his mother is a down-to-earth, sweet as apple-pie American, his father is the sea-god, Poseidon. What follows from this discovery is a high-speed, full-on action adventure story.

This is a very clever, very commercial book. I loved the idea that because the centre of Western culture has moved to America so have the gods of Olympus. I admired the ease with which Rick Riordan blended stories from Greek mythology with modern teenage culture and I was impressed by the way he'd learned from J K Rowling all the elements that make a best-selling book for young people.

But my heart wasn't completely in this. It's a little bit too cartoon-like in places and a little bit too predicatable for me to give it five stars. Nevertheless, I'm certain it's target audience will love it and I think Rick Riordan has done a great job making the culture of Ancient Greece accessible to the modern pre-teen and teenage world.