Percy Jackson - The Lightning Thief
Rick Riordan (audio book)
A two part review as this is an audio book and part of the experience is the narrator.Percy Jackson is a normal 11 year old who keeps getting expelled from schools but this time things are a little different. For Percy has been expelled for clashing with a mythological monster that unfortunately only he can see. While Percy thinks he is alone, he soon discovers he is not. His friend Grover is not all that he seems and his mother knows more than she telling. It all culminates for Percy when a family get away turns into a disaster. Percy’s mother takes charge of the situation and she rushes Percy and Grover to a place where they will be safe, Camp Half Blood. At Camp Half Blood, Percy Jackson learns who he is a demi god. From here the adventure keeps rolling along at cracking pace.
Riordan has created a world that works; it is easy to believe that gods of Ancient Greece are still in cohabitation with modern society. Percy is a strong character, has a sense of adventure, the action man (or should I say boy), the fish out of water (no pun intended) and has to struggle to find his place in this new world. All good heroes need a bunch of friends to accompany him on the journey. Annabeth is the smart one, who knows her history and is the voice of reason. Grover is your comic relief and moral support.The adventure does not stop, the characterisations are well realised and it is a fun. I wish I had read the book not listened to it on audio as I found the experience a letdown.
You see the problem for me was Jesse Bernstein’s voice and I cannot explain why. If I was going to make one comparison with the Harry Potter series it is here. Stephen Fry and Jim Dale do not try and project an 11 year olds voice, they read the book, they give voice where needed and keep you engaged. I do not know what Jesse sounds like in real life but I felt in this reading it came across as he was trying to project a child’s voice. I know this book is written in the first person yet the voice acting just seemed to distract. I felt that his characterisations were also clichéd and he really needs to work on his female voices. Clarice sounds nasal, always angry and Annabeth is squeaky with no light and shade.The story is fantastic but I was let down by the audio reading.