The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

(Cover picture courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Percy Jackson’s seventh-grade year has been surprisingly quiet.  Not a single monster has set foot on his Yew York prep-school campus.  But when an innocent game of dodgeball among Percy and his classmates turns into a death match against an ugly gang of cannibal giants, things get…well, ugly.  And the unexpected arrival of his friend Annabeth brings more bad news: the magical borders that protect Camp Half-Blood have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and unless a cure is found, the only safe haven for demigods will be destroyed.

In this fresh, funny and wildly popular follow-up to The Lightning Thief, Percy and his friends must journey into the Sea of Monsters to save their camp.  But first, Percy will discover a stunning new secret about his family—one that makes him question whether being claimed as Poseidon’s son is an honor or simply a cruel joke.

Filled with more plot twists than the first book, Percy Jackson fans will love The Sea of Monsters.  To me, it was even better than The Lightning Thief because we see the relationships between Percy, Annabeth and Grover develop much more.  And we also learn that Percy isn’t the only living son of Poseidon, which was one of the better surprises.

One of the things I love most about Rick Riordan’s writing is how he seamlessly blends the Greek myths into his novel without achieving an obnoxious level of beating-you-over-the-head-with-a-stick ‘hinting’.  It gives readers who know nothing about Greek myths some background information, but it also has more subtle allusions to Greek myths.  One of these is when Grover his weaving but unraveling his day’s work every night to avoid the cyclops finding out he is really a man.  This is an allusion to the myth of Penelope, Odysseus’ wife who wove a burial shroud for her father-in-law, the elderly Laertes, and unraveled it every night.  She had told her suitors she would choose one when she finished, but she had no intention of marrying again and chose to stay faithful to Odysseus.  So there really is something in here for everyone, whether you know a lot or next to nothing about the Greek myths.

With a fast-paced plot and believable characters, I can’t find much to complain about in The Sea of Monsters.  It doesn’t quite live up to all of the hype surrounding the series, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good book.  And since it helps get kids and teenagers interested in reading, I’m all for it.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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