I've been meaning to read this book for ages, and I wish I had done it sooner. I was actually quite disappointed when a coworker told me that the newest book in the series (the fifth) is the last. This is because I'd love to see Percy Jackson take off the way Harry Potter did, but if the series is already done, I don't think it will. I think part of the HP success was that the movies started before the book series was complete. And, yes, Riordan is a hundredfold more brilliant than the current author-du-jour -- over whom I'm sure Vlad III is rolling in his grave. Rick Riordan is brilliant. I want his babies to burst from my forehead. (Yes, my friend Kat has spoiled aspects of the further books for me, but I cannot complain, as it makes me look on Annabeth's father in a more sympathetic light.) Percy (Perceus) Jackson, has always been a "troubled" child. Labeled as dyslexic and ADHD, he constantly seems to get into trouble. But then he discovers there is a reason for this: not dyslexic but hardwired for ancient Greek, not AHDH but hardwired for battle, not getting into trouble but trouble finding him in the form of Furies and Minotaurs. Percy is a demigod. His mother sacrifices herself to the Underworld to see him safely to Camp Half-Blood, where Percy learns not only his own identity, but that of his father, and finds himself the cause of a war between the Greek gods, who are far from releasing their hold on Western civilization. My only negative thought is that Riordan took a little too much time in the denouement of the story. But since this was also the verdict of the last mid-grade novel I read, I'm starting to wonder if it's just me. I'm looking forward to the film adaptation of The Lightening Thief, but rather more to the book sequels.