Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Book Jacket

Percy Jackson's seventh-grade year has been surprisingly quiet.  Not a single monster has set food on his New York prep-school campus.  But when an innocent game of dodgeball among Percy and his classmates turns into a death match against an ugly gang of cannibal giants, things get...well, ugly.  And the unexpected arrival of Percy's friend Annabeth brings more bad news: The magical borders that protect Camp Half-Blood have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and unless a cure is found, the only safe haven for demigods will be destroyed.

In this fresh, funny follow-up to The Lightning Thief, Percy and his friends must journey into the Sea of Monsters to save their beloved camp.  But first, Percy will discover a stunning new secret about his family--one that makes him wonder whether being claimed as Poseidon's son is an honor, or simply a cruel joke.


This is my least favorite of Percy Jackson's adventures, so I'll divide this review up into things I like and things I don't.

Things I Like

The theme of differences, and accepting people who are different, and the need to avoid stereotyping are all excellent, and done well.  I like that Percy is not immune to social pressures, and that he too is upset when Tyson turns out to be his cyclopes half-brother.  But he overcomes that prejudice by seeing how awesome Tyson can be.  Which is how prejudice is overcome--by interacting with, seeing, and understanding people who are different from us.

Things I Don't Like

I'm pretty sure I enjoyed the story of Odysseus when we read it in high school, but Percy's modern journey?  Falls a little flat.  And I think the reason is their motivations for their journeys.  Odysseus just wants to get home, so every monster and obstacle that crops up is truly horrible, and you feel for the struggle he is going through.  But Percy chose to go on the quest.  Yes, to save his friend, so what choice did he have?  Point is, he knew there would be dangers, and we are expecting them.  With Odysseus, I mostly just thought, "Another monster?!  This poor man!  Just let him go home!"

Three out of five satyr brides.

Release Date: March 2006
Reading Level: Grade 5+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: YPL RIO

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