Thursday, 8 April 2010

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

April 2007 (this edition 2008) Puffin,

268 pages, Paperback

Review copy

Children's, Fantasy, 9+

Cushions: 5

Daggers: 3

Smiles: 5

Tissues: 3

Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Summary from Puffin

Percy Jackson has had an unnervingly quiet school year. But then he discovers that the magical borders protecting Half Blood Hill are failing. Unless something is done, the camp will be attacked by demons and monsters. The only way to restore power to the camp's borders is to find the mythical Golden Fleece. And the only person who can undertake this dangerous quest is Percy...

Percy is back! Just as in the first book, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, from the first chapter the story is fast paced. Percy's uneventful year comes to a dramatic closure, when a dodge-ball game takes a dangerous turn. It seems like Percy can't trust people to be who they say they are.

Having learnt that his father is none other than Poseidon, Percy spends a good deal of this adventure wishing that Poseidon would show he cared. That he would do something to help, instead of leaving him to cope with terrifying scenarios. He eventually learns that help doesn't necessarily mean a present will hurtle from the sky and drop in his lap. Unlike the dodge-ball, which upon transformation does more damage than picking a person off a team.

It is in this dodge-ball game that Percy makes a firm friend in Tyson, a mis-fit at the school. I was relieved about this because away from the camp Percy doesn't have a lot of friends. Not like Annabeth and Grover. Annabeth does appear back in Percy's second adventure early on. As does Grover...but not in the physical sense. Poor Grover is off pretending to be something he isn't, all because of the quest he felt he had to take on. It was a big trap, and he walked into it. He uses his brains and does all he can to help himself, but he needs Percy's help too. It is fortunate that in helping Grover, Percy will be able to help save the camp at the same time. If he succeeds.

With stronger opponents, and rivals from his own kind, Percy's life can't be called dull. I liked how the world gets explored, how there are more interactions with the creatures of from the myths of Ancient Greece. I remember sitting in Ancient Greek class at university, learning the story behind the Golden Fleece. I probably can't translate it now, but I remember the story well enough, and I liked how Grover, Percy, Annabeth and Tyson use the myth to their advantage, and re-enact some of it to gain the Golden Fleece.

As ever this humourous tale had me laughing more than a little bit. A lot of the time I did wonder how Percy and his friends would escape from their predicament: they aren't as strong as their opponents and they are sometimes overwhelmed by the enemy's number. However, they all have tricks up their sleaves, including ones the reading hasn't seen before. I still like Percy's weapon Riptide - I'm eager for watching him fight stronger enemies with it in future books. His mother makes an appearance, which gives Percy a sense of normality. He may be half-god and half-human, but he is still a child. Not that the enemies take any notice of his age when pursuing him. Old characters are back, including the Fates. New characters add both suspense and entertainment to the story.

One feature I did like was that at the back of the book, there was a fact file about the gods, and also a camp report for Percy, with some funny remarks.

Be sure to check out Percy the dedicated website.

Make sure you've read book one, Percy and the Lightning Thief


Book Monster said...

I just saw the movie of the first one, for a third time today :) I really love it. I still haven't read the series, though it's on my tbr pile.

Krispy said...

The 3rd and 5th books are my favorites. I liked the way the book incorporated the Odyssey; it was very recognizable as that journey, but there were very creative twists thrown in, making the old challenges seem new. I love the Odyssey, so I really enjoyed that aspect in this book. :)

Excited to hear what you think of the rest!

Kimber An said...

My daughter loves this series and we're planning on going to the movie. Great review!

What I noticed about it is that the book seems Middle Grade while the movie seems Young Adult. Maybe they had to 'age' the story to appeal to a wider audience as a movie. Me dunno.

Nayuleska said...

Book Monster - please read it! I haven't seen the movie but the book is ace.

Krispy - I like how its making ancient history for readers.

Kimber An - possibly. Which is a shame really.