Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book Two: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Friday, March 5, 2010

I haven’t read a book that screams ‘sequel’ louder than The Sea of Monsters, the second installment in the famous Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.

Author: Rick Riordan
Released: May 2006
New York Times #1 Best selling series
A Child Magazine Best Book of the Year

Synopsis
All is well for Percy Jackson, the demigod son of Poseidon, and his mother. His school year was supposed to end pleasantly, until a seemingly prophesied grand battle of dodgeball jumpstarted another mythological adventure.

Camp Half-blood, the only safe place for demigods, is under siege. Thalia’s tree, a daughter of Zeus who sacrificed herself to ensure the safety of her fellow demigods, that provides the camp’s protective boundaries has been poisoned, and monsters have begun attacking the summer campers. Whether it is considered as good or bad luck, Percy’s satyr bestfriend, Grover, accidentally found the Golden Fleece and at the same time unwillingly prepped for marriage to Polyphemus, the Cyclops who devoured Odysseus’ men. The Golden Fleece was the exact antidote that Camp Half-Blood needs to cure Thalia’s tree and restore safety.

With his friend’s life threatened, and his favorite place on Earth doomed to be conquered, Percy finds himself traversing the Sea of Monsters in quest for the Golden Fleece. The Sea of Monsters is the same sea inhabited by dangerous creatures and treacherous obstacles that Odysseus crossed after the Trojan War, spending ten years in the process, just to return to his home in Thessaly. And Jason navigated through this ominous seascape chasing after the same Fleece that Percy and Annabeth, daughter of Athena, was desperate in acquiring.

Aside from worrying about the huge, one-eyed cannibal who has taken possession of the Fleece, Percy races against two more demigods: Clarisse, daughter of Ares, aboard her daddy-gift war ship, CSS Birmingham, and Luke, son of Hermes, aboard the ship Princess Andromeda, where the scheming Titan, Kronos, is pulling the strings.

As the waves crash on each other, a plan within a plan is slowly unveiled. And Percy learns more about a prophecy which menaces the peace in Mount Olympus.

Reading Experience
Rick Riordan’s well-paced storytelling aptitude remains intact. Humorous allusions and funny lines, delivered with a matter-of-fact tone, ease the reading flow. The accuracy in fitting Greek mythology with the plot is, as usual, ambivalent. The pieces of Greek mythology aptly provide a reliable underpinning for the story. In effect, this feat also causes predictability, especially if the reader is well-acquainted with such allusions. Yet knowing only a tad bit of Greek mythology diminishes the distinct delights offered by the Percy Jackson series.

This second installment reeks of sequel and an awfully strong scent of a not-so-'under'lying plot. Though it is very much expected that there is a third installment, too much spotlight on the saga's storyline deters a more satisfying use of foreshadowing. Before the reader even picks up the book from its commercial shelf, he already looks forward to the next title in the series. And this feeling does not lessen, on the contrary, the sensation intensifies as the book draws to a close. This is actually a good marketing strategy, but it might throw off seasoned readers.

To put it simply, it felt like a halftime break during basketball. A fun watch, it makes you applaud and gasp as the cheerdancers perform tosses and stunts, enough time to recap what happened during the first half, but you just want to get it over with, eager to start the second half.

In Conclusion
I would still recommend reading The Sea of Monsters because there were a lot of materials here which would probably crop up, more significant, in the succeeding titles. But if you expect this installment to stand on its own, it will not—it’s part of a series anyway.

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About Me

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I'm a young professional working in a call center; a licensed nurse who's not practicing the profession, out of choice; gay, and proud to be; sporty with an active lifestyle filled with badminton and running; a reader who easily gets lost in a well-written story; a wannabe-author and wannabe-successful. But more importantly, I'm a writer with a hunger for life.

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