Review: The Sea of Monsters

Review: The Sea of Monsters

The Sea of MonstersAs promised… The second, and shorter, book in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. In this one, Percy is coming to terms with his parentage and his abilities… and gets another curveball thrown his direction in his family relationships. As it says on the back cover:

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.

The pace doesn’t let up from the first book, though the reader gets to skip the entire tedium of 7th grade, jumping into the story on the last day of school. Percy is immediately jolted out of a nightmare, despite the fact that he hasn’t seen any monsters or had unusual experiences the whole year–unusually enough.

As they say, the plot thickens from there. Percy learns that one of the perks of being Poseidon’s son is an amazing set of abilities while on (or in) the water:

I’d finally found something I was really good at.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge responded to my every command. I knew which ropes to hoist, which sails to raise, which direction to steer. We plowed through the waves at what I figured was about ten knots. I even understood how fast that was. For a sailing ship, pretty darn fast.

It all felt perfect–the wind in my faces, the waves breaking over the prow.

With that kind of descriptive language and vivid scene-building, even the non-action-driven scenes in the book hook you in and keep you riveted. And the action scenes? More adventures out of Odysseus, turned on their heads with great hilarity and self-deprecation–after all, these are not-even-full-grown heros, so things Odysseus would be able to accomplish on his own now require teamwork and creative problem-solving.

All of this to say: If anything, the follow-on to The Lightning Thief makes the series more compelling and addictive–and is definitely a must-read for anyone with a penchant for the classics, recast; an appreciation for strong characters who grow through an engaging story arc; or an interest in a well-told fantasy with plenty of well-developed themes to keep you thinking long after you’ve finished the book.

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