Book Review: The Sea Of Monsters

This is the second in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series – I reviewed the first here. I’ve been getting through the series (and now the sequel series) a chapter a night since last summer, so it’s about time I caught up with my reviews!

The Sea Of Monsters

It’s a year since the events of the first book, and after getting attacked by monsters at (and then expelled from) yet another school, Percy returns to Camp Half-Blood for another summer. The magical tree guarding the camp has been poisoned, and the only thing that can cure it is the Golden Fleece. However, this time it’s not Percy who’s granted the quest to find the Fleece, but instead his camp arch-enemy Clarisse. Of course, Percy follows her and gets himself involved anyway, because he’s certain that it’s the only way he’ll find his missing satyr friend Grover.

It’s another good adventure story, probably with a slightly tighter narrative and faster pace than the first one, and the tale is livened up by the introduction of Percy’s Cyclops half-brother Tyson, who at first is a target of mockery but gains the demigods’ approval and Percy’s affection over the course of the story. There are also a lot of fun sideplots with evil goddesses who turn humans into guinea pigs and the like, and more of the background plot by the Titan Kronos to vanquish the gods is revealed.

Overall, I’d say this one has the edge over the first entry in the series for me – if for no other reason than the pirate ship that shows up in the second half. I love a pirate ship!

Book Review: The Lightning Thief

I’ve been rereading Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series lately, as I’ve never managed to finish the Heroes of Olympus sequel series (despite them all sitting on my shelves for years) and wanted to read the whole thing again from the start.

The Lightning Thief

I didn’t get into this series until about 2011/2012, by which time the whole of the first series had already been released and were ready on Amazon in a handy boxset for me to devour in one go. The reason, I think, why I hadn’t been interested in reading them – despite being a fan of well-written ‘middle grade’ children’s literature – was the advertising for the film version, which made it look very similar to Harry Potter. This did the books a disservice, I feel, because they have a very different feel and a very different writing style (Riordan’s voice, which is personable and humorous, has become one of my favourites in this genre).

The Lightning Thief does a great job of introducing a world of teenage demigods and fantasy creatures. The story kicks right into action and doesn’t let up till the end, with Percy and his new friends Annabeth and Grover embarking on a desperate mission to find Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt before it causes a war among the Greek gods.

The story is actually very educational – I studied classics at university and yet there are Greek myths I remember better due to this series than due to my studies – but never in a dry or po-faced manner. The way the myths are translated into a modern context is always very fun, and the classic mythical figures are characterised really nicely.

I’m already several books down in this series, so I’ll be reviewing the others soon!