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What Is the Tone and Mood of "Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief"?


"Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief" is a young adult fantasy novel published by Rick Riordan in 2005 and is the first book in the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series. It's about 12-year-old demigod Percy Jackson and his quests to defeat the evil powers that oppose him. The overriding tone is cynical, yet the high-energy scenes, endearing characters and direct ties to Greek mythology also support its upbeat and suspenseful tone.

Sarcastic but Friendly

Riordan uses Percy's dry wit and casual adolescent-inspired conversations to create a sarcastic and humorous tone. The mocking and teasing nature of Percy's interactions balance out darker themes associated with evilness. Even the gods have some witty and amusing views of humanity. "The sardonic tone of the narrator’s voice lends a refreshing air of realism to this riotously paced quest tale of heroism that questions the realities of our world, family, friendship and loyalty," according to Kirkus Reviews.

Energetic and Suspenseful

The lively and suspenseful tone helps establish a mood of expectation. Riordan uses the tone to captivate readers as Percy vaporizes his pre-algebra teacher with a magic sword, fights a Minotaur and resolves conflicts between Zeus and Poseidon. Riordan's highly charged tone stems from his modern twist on Greek mythology. Greek gods now rule from Mt. Olympus on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building, and their offspring must survive in the present world, according to Publishers Weekly.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

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