Monday, February 27, 2012

The Sea of Monsters
by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson returns to Camp Half-blood after narrowly escaping some cannibal giants. His second summer is shaping up to be as exciting as his first, since the magical barrier protecting Camp Half-blood from all the monsters of the mythological world has been badly damaged. Not to mention the fact that Chiron has been replaced as camp director by Tantalus, a doomed soul from Tartarus who seems to have it in for Percy. To top it all off, Percy starts dreaming that Grover has been kidnapped by a cyclops who has matrimonial leanings. Teamed up with Annabeth and the newest member of Camp Half-blood, Tyson, Percy has a lot to get done in a short time.

There're no surprises in the The Sea of Monsters, the second book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Percy Jackson is still a spunky kid with a lot of pluck who has to save the day once again. This book reminds me of The Chamber of Secrets in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, because it's indirectly carrying on the main plot-line (Percy vs. Kronos), but without Kronos taking a direct hand in matters as he did in The Lightning Thief. Just as Harry Potter ends up duelling a partly-reincarnated Voldemort, Percy butts heads with his rival, Luke, who's in the process of reincarnating Kronos aboard an enchanted cruise ship.

The teen-angst-inspiring-problem Rick Riordan appears to be tackling in this book is being ashamed of a family member. I'm not sure if Riordan is trying to peg Tyson as the Camp Half-blood version of a disabled person, but Percy is not happy to be related to him. Sticking up for him at school and at camp is not fun; Percy doesn't like being associated with someone so different, when in the past he was considered a hero for travelling to the underworld. And like many people who are related to someone with a disability, Percy struggles to find a balance between protecting and supporting Tyson. For the most part, I like the way Riordan handled Percy and Tyson's relationship: it was a realistic portrayal of the process of acceptance. But I didn't like how Tyson gets shipped off to Poseidon at the end, rather than staying in the place that he's earned at camp.

Not that you're interested, but I finished this book in a single day. Partly because it's short, and partly because there's no convenient place in the story to set it down for a while. I'm sure Riordan does this on purpose, and I can't blame him. I recommend this book to readers of YA fantasy, and look forward to the next book in the series.

Copy source: library
Genre: young adult fantasy
Format: hardcopy

View my suggested books by Rick Riordan

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