I have to admit that I’m just getting used to audiobooks. I have tried to listen to a few over the years, and have always caught myself daydreaming through the first chapters, then being irritated that I wasn’t able to absorb anything and giving up entirely. I’ve realized that I was listening to the wrong books (or perhaps the wrong readers), because I am beginning to love the experience of having an exciting story read to me.
I just finished Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief in audiobook form, and I really enjoyed it. The reader, Jesse Bernstein, gives each character a unique personality without going over the top. He keeps the fast-paced story moving, and his acting fits perfectly with Riordan’s writing style.
Percy Jackson seems to bring trouble with him wherever he goes. After he is kicked out of another boarding school under very strange circumstances–namely, a battle with a monster–he discovers that he is not just an ordinary kid: he may be the son of a Greek god. This is a coming-of-age story not unlike Harry Potter and its ilk, but Riordan takes Greek mythology and spins it in the present day, which has made the story appealing to a wide range of young readers. The Lightning Thief reinterprets a fascinating cast of Greek gods and goddesses, and uses the very appealing idea that a normal kid (a troublemaker, even) can suddenly find out that he has gifts that defy the imagination.
The Lightning Thief has been made into both a movie and a graphic novel. I’ve had many requests from voracious young readers for the subsequent books in the series. (Yes, I am about 8 years late in talking about this book: we do have much more of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, in audio and print.) Audiobooks may not be for everyone, but if you’re looking for a fun introduction to the format (and a great adventure), I would highly recommend listening to the first in Rick Riordan’s very popular series.