Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jenn's Review: The Sea of Monsters

Summary:  After a summer spent trying to prevent a catastrophic war among the Greek gods, Percy Jackson finds his seventh-grade school year unnervingly quiet. His biggest problem is dealing with his new friend, Tyson—a six-foot-three, mentally challenged homeless kid who follows Percy everywhere, making it hard for Percy to have any “normal” friends. But things don’t stay quiet for long. Percy soon discovers there is trouble at Camp Half-Blood: the magical borders which protect Half-Blood Hill have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and the only safe haven for demigods is on the verge of being overrun by mythological monsters. To save the camp, Percy needs the help of his best friend, Grover, who has been taken prisoner by the Cyclops Polyphemus on an island somewhere in the Sea of Monsters, the dangerous waters Greek heroes have sailed for millennia—only today, the Sea of Monsters goes by a new name…the Bermuda Triangle. Now Percy and his friends—Grover, Annabeth, and Tyson—must retrieve the Golden Fleece from the Island of the Cyclopes by the end of the summer or Camp Half-Blood will be destroyed. But first, Percy will learn 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.

Review:  Well, Rick Riordan did it!  As much as I tried to read something else, I couldn't seem to walk away from Percy Jackson.  I love these books! While Riordan's series certainly starts off as a middle grade read, it's so entertaining and well written that I don't think it should be limited by it's label. The writing combines  fantastic action sequences with enthralling tales.

I love how the gods pop in and out of Percy's life.  But the question always lingers about their motives for helping him.  Do they want to see him succeed, or are they manipulating him for their own gain?  Will history repeat itself?  Or can Percy learn lessons from the original myths and use them to his advantage?

Though I liked the The Lightning Thief better, there are still plenty of captivating plot twists most of which I didn't see coming.  I love the addition of Tyson to this story, I think it let us see a side of Percy we hadn't seen before...  not to mention it is a test of his moral compass. For a while, Percy struggles with having Tyson in his life as he finds it difficult to see beyond his own embarrassment.  It takes a Sea of Monsters for Percy to learn that popular opinion is not as important as your own good judgement and in the end your friends are the ones who have your back.  He also learns some empathy for the plights of others, a lesson that many middle schoolers struggle with.

I also love to see his friendship with Annabeth deepening.  They are learning to count on one another and put aside their parent's differences (another  important lesson for every generation to learn, be they heroes or mortals).  They don't always see eye to eye, but they both have their strengths and they balance each other out nicely.

There is a huge twist at the end that I did not see coming but it was left with enough closure that I think I will be able to visit a few other books in my TBR pile before jumping back in to the Percy Jackson series. I don't want to rush it. This is a series to savor.

Final Take:  3.75/5


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