Book Review: The Sea of Monsters

The Sea of Monsters

Rick Riordan
Paperback, 304 pages
Miramax Books
April 01, 2007

 

Book 2 of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series opens with our young hero at the end of another school year, this time at a sort of new age, hippy private school where there are no grades and the students sit on yoga balls instead of plastic chairs.  He’s even managed to make it an entire year without setting anything on fire or getting attacked by monsters posing as teachers. 

But he is starting to have nightmares about his satyr friend Grover, who’s on a quest to find Pan, that trouble him deeply.  And even though he doesn’t go looking for trouble, it always seems to find him.  When monsters attack his P.E. class, Annabeth comes to the rescue just in time to save Percy and his new and strange friend (who turns out to be a baby cyclops) Tyson from death by flaming cannon dodgeballs. 

They flee to Camp Half-Blood only to find it under attack, its magical defenses disintegrating, and under a new activities director who’s been yanked out of Hades to fill the position.  It turns out that the someone has poisoned the tree containing Thalia’s spirit that serves as a protective barrier around the camp, preventing monsters from entering. 

After more clues from the Grover dreams Percy and Annabeth realize that they key to saving the camp (and possibly the world) is to undertake another dangerous quest to find the Golden Fleece – which has the power to heal the tree and restore the camp’s defenses. 

The quest leads them to the Sea of Monsters, which now resides in the Bermuda Triangle, where they face enemies both new and old with the help of the god Hermes and Clarisse, Percy’s nemesis. 

I liked this book better than The Lightning Thief, I think because I already knew the characters and the basic premise of the heroes and Camp Half-Blood and the action began right off the bat without much down time or back story. 

It was still a bit too juvenile for my taste, through no fault of the author since these books are aimed at kids.  But seriously, what thirteen year old says things like “It would have flattened me like a Percy pizza with extra olives” or something to that effect?  But it was full of adventure and humor.  I actually laughed out loud at some of Percy’s narrative.  And I love the whole idea of the series, that the Greek gods follow the center of Western Civilization (hence Mt. Olympus being in New York and Hades in Los Angeles) and that there’s a summer camp for all their demigod offspring. 

I’m still not completely sold on the series.  It hasn’t quite set its hooks in me like Harry Potter did.  I’m hoping that as Percy gets older in the next books the writing will reflect that and become more mature.  But I had lots of fun reading this one and was surprised by the cliff-hanger ending.  If you’re looking for some fun, light and fast reading then I recommend this series.  I’ll be interested to see how the movie compares to the first book.

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1 Comment »

  1. Jody Said:

    I actually liked The Lightning Thief a bit better, but otherwise I completely agree with your review. It’s a bit of a young series, but it’s fun.


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