The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson #2)
by Rick Riordan
Percy’s excited. He’s almost made it to the end of the school year, and he hasn’t gotten expelled. But when a group of Laistrygonians impersonate students and hurl fireballs at Percy, he’s blamed for the damage. Annabeth appears and whisks Percy and his friend Tyson, a homeless kid, off to Camp Half-Blood for their protection. Unfortunately, camp is no longer safe – Thalia’s tree, which has protected Camp Half-Blood for years, has been poisoned, and only the legendary Golden Fleece can heal it. Percy is shocked again when he learns Tyson is a Cyclops, and another son of Poseidon. The two half-brothers, along with Annabeth, secretly set off to find the Golden Fleece and save the satyr Grover, who will become the bride of the monster Polyphemus if his friends don’t find him quickly enough.
While the first book in this series, The Lightning Thief, depended on fairly well-known monsters like Medusa to oppose Percy, many of the monsters here were more obscure. I didn't always remember their origin. For example, the Laestrygonians? I had to look them up; on my own, I would have never figured out where they came from. The Bear brothers? (Their names escape me at the moment.) I still have no idea what myth they appear in. But there are plenty of big name monsters, like Polyphemus the Cyclops and Circe, pulled from The Odyssey to fight Percy in the Sea of Monsters.
Just as the location of Mt. Olympus has shifted over time, as the center of Western civilization has moved from one country to the next, the Sea of Monsters has also changed locations. It’s no longer in the Mediterranean Sea, but Riordan has found a fitting place for it in the Bermuda Triangle. It just works so well.
I liked Sea of Monsters even more than The Lightning Thief; although the focus is still on action, action, action Riordan did manage to flesh out his main characters a little more. We learn a lot more about Annabeth, and Percy’s realization that he has a half-brother really forces him to grow up a little. The story did end on a major cliffhanger, and I just hate that. Since I’m reading these books several years after they were published, it’s not so bad. I can just go out and get the next book right away. But I would have been so mad if I was reading Sea of Monsters back in 2006.
4 out of 5 stars