The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
4 stars – it was good; I liked it
This is another book that I’ve read many, many times. It is the second book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and while it wasn’t my favourite, it’s a book that I’ll never get tired of reading. I did a review on the first book, so I figured I’d get to them all in between my current reads.
No read dates available.
A Journey into the Bermuda Triangle
Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, is a child of one of the Big Three, and so he never expected to have any siblings. That all changes when a couple of cannibals interrupt his school’s dodgeball game, and he returns to camp, only to find out that his new friend is his half-brother. Not only that, returning to camp reveals to Percy that things have changed. Thalia’s tree is in danger, and the only thing that can save it and the magical barrier around the camp is the Golden Fleece. The only problem? It’s been lost of millennia—and Chiron isn’t around to help them.
Percy and the gang are back, but unlike the first book, the quest isn’t his. I like this change—how he has to sneak out of the camp to join the quest, which becomes a running theme in the rest of the books. He’s a hero through and through, and his restless nature won’t allow him to sit back and let others try to save the world. This is a trait that I don’t always like in a character, mainly because it’s a method of not letting the one kid be the “chosen one” the whole time, but Percy is the kind of character that just wants to do good without taking all the credit, so the trope is redeemed in my eyes. Not only that, but he wants to go on the quest to save his friend, Grover, whose been out searching for Pan after receiving his Searcher’s license at the end of The Lightning Thief.
Other returning characters include Annabeth, Clarisse, and Mr. D, and unfortunately, we don’t get to see Chiron until the end. Clarisse has grown up from the bully we saw in book one, but she still hates Percy with a passion, and I don’t blame her, given what he did to both her and her father before and during his first quest. I feel like Clarisse is a bit of an underrated character. She’s strong and skilled, and while she does have her lackeys and tends to bully other campers, she’s trying to prove her worth to the gods just like Percy and was dealt a bad hand. I especially like to think about the fact that her last name is La Rue, which is French in origin. Not sure if that makes a difference, but I enjoy the fact that is sounds dainty (everything French does) and that it means street, like she’s at a crossroads—even though she’s not a daughter of Hecate, it really fits her character. Plus, she gets some comedic scenes with Grover in this book; that’s always a win.
This book, like the rest of the series, is told from the first-person perspective of Percy, so we get all of his witty, sarcastic jokes, and we get a deep dive into his thoughts. Uncle Rick really does well in taking us into the mind of the thirteen-year-old Percy which, to be fair, is hard to do.
The pacing, as with all of Uncle Rick’s books, is spectacular, and I loved the twist at the end when everything comes together, and the strings are all tied in place. And (with no spoilers!) the big event right at the end of the book was something I remember I didn’t expect! It really sets up the next book beautifully and gives Percy a whole new character to get used to, building tension for the son of the sea god.
The magic system in this series is one of the best. Each of the gods have specialties which they pass onto their children. One thing I may have liked to see would be for Uncle Rick to have followed the myths more closely, you know, because the kids had a variety of powers in those, but I understand that it’s easier for children to understand if they are all relatively the same.
As for my critiques of the book…there is of course the famous Blackjack inconsistency, but overall, nothing stands out to me. This, as I said before, wasn’t my favourite book in the series. It was also the shortest, I think, and for me really felt like an in-between book because I honestly remember the first and third the most vividly of the series.
Much better than the movie, though. That sucked. Its only redeeming quality was the “Don’t walk on my roof” line.
This is a great adventure that I recommend to all young readers. I’m still super excited for the Disney+ channel’s series to begin, and I can’t wait to see Grover and his wedding dress on the screen!
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