Published by Hyperion Books on April 1st 2006
The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan's amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a "half blood" whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan's series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that results in true page-turners that get better with each installment. In this episode, The Sea of Monsters, Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book's drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come.
As Percy Jackson books go, these first two books aren’t really top of the list of the best in the world. Where book one has the excuse of spending most of the time introducing the world and the characters, book two spends all of its time chasing characters around the Bremuda Triangle for plot filler.
I always call this book “Plot Device, The Novel” because that’s basically what it is to the over all story of PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS. Ok, sure, it’s actually a decent story when you don’t consider its overall place in the bigger story but when you put it all together it’s mostly just the villain maneuvering everything into place for the rest of the series. If you take out all of the traveling filler you can see where the weaknesses sit with glaring clarity.
Percy does very little in the way of changing as a character. He doesn’t have a character arc in this story, and other than discovering her fatal flaw (which doesn’t come up again in this book) neither does Annabeth. Percy gets a brother. Percy feels weird about the brother. All of this doesn’t do very much for him other than being kind of convenient at various times in the plot.
The biggest problem I have with the early Percy Jackson stories is that they are more concerned with the overarching plot of the series as a whole and the individual stories tend to suffer a bit. This is a problem Riordan remedies as the series progresses and something I wouldn’t have recognized as a younger reader but now I can’t help but pay attention to it.
The Sea of Monsters is mostly important as a novel for what the quest gains everyone as a result. Not the intended result but the side benefit, or maybe the detriment depending how you look at it. The consequences are more important than the rest of the story, making the entire journey seem a little bit swept aside.
I do still recommend this book to young readers and those who want to read the entire story before moving onto later books. I think a few key details would be all many older readers would need before moving on but it’s still fun from the stand point of all Riordan’s usual mythology references. It still has the humor I love so much about Riordan’s books and is cleverly written in dialogue. Still, if you’ve already read it or can live with just a few details, it wouldn’t hurt to skip this one.
How do you feel about THE SEA OF MONSTERS? Agree or disagree? Share in the comments.
From my shelf to yours,