Shoshana, December 31, 2009 (view all comments by Shoshana)
This second volume in the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series can be read alone but still suffers some of the flaws of a bridging book. Character development seemed thin despite Percy's growing maturity, and the characters were less dimensional. The plot, though interesting in outline and necessary for the advancement of the larger narrative, came off as picaresque and flimsy. There was more deus ex machina with magical objects and characteristics of this world that were not adequately foreshadowed or integrated, as well as several discrepancies in world rules. For example, Percy asserts again that his magical pen always returns to his pocket, but it certainly did not in the previous book. The tone of the first-person voice was troublingly and self-consciously "teenage," bringing one of the worst elements of much middle reader/young adult literature to the series.
At his best, Riordan is poignant and astute. A speech on pp. 252-253 provides a great illustration of the conjunction of story and philosophy:
"[Y]ou are part god, part human. You live in both worlds. You can be harmed by both, and you can affect both. That's what makes heroes so special. You carry the hopes of humanity into the realm of the eternal. Monsters never die. They are reborn from the chaos and barbarism that is always bubbling underneath civilization.... They must be defeated again and again, kept at bay. Heroes embody that struggle. You fight the battles humanity must win, every generation, in order to stay human."
I hope for continued moral complexity in subsequent installments.
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brookerochelle, August 4, 2009 (view all comments by brookerochelle)
I thought this book was quite good. Better than the first, but not by much. It's definitely, a early-teen book, but I'm alright with that every now and again. It was refreshing to read something... easy and fun. I didn't have to think too hard to read this book and would recommend it to anyone that is looking for a very relaxed book.
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It is really cool when the second book in a series is even better than the first one... In The Sea of Monsters, Percy has to rescue his best friend, Grover, and he has to cross the Sea of Monsters (the Bermuda Triangle) to find the golden fleece. Sound familiar? Wrong-o, it's not. It's fun — get it and enjoy!
by Kathy H,
Percy Jackson is not normal. He's got ADHD and attention deficit, and he's been kicked out of every school he's ever attended. Now he discovers he's a half blood: half human, half Olympian god. But his problems are only beginning. Someone has stolen Zeus's thunderbolt — and Percy's being blamed.
by Kathy H
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"In a feat worthy of his heroic subjects, Riordan crafts a sequel stronger than his compelling debut in this second adventure in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. After a group of Laistrygonians (giant cannibals) infiltrate the dodgeball game at Percy's alternative Manhattan school, and his friend Annabeth (a daughter of Athena, introduced in the first book) comes to the rescue, the two take the homeless scholarship student Tyson with them to Camp Half-Blood, where trouble is brewing. Percy soon realizes that Tyson is a Cyclops (meaning they're half-brothers and possibly enemies — both sons of Poseidon) and learns that someone poisoned the sacred Thalia's tree, which protects the 'magic borders' of the demigod camp. Riordan catches readers up seamlessly on this world in which gods still reign; he builds on existing subplots and rivalries, and introduces harrowing new challenges as Percy and Annabeth set off across the Sea of Monsters on a quest to find the Golden Fleece, which will heal Thalia's tree. Percy's relationship with Tyson and their battle against the Cyclops guarding the Fleece (Polyphemus) brings up probing questions about shame, family and loyalty. With humor, intelligence and expert pacing, the author uses this tale of believable teens and their high-stakes struggle to bring the mythical lore up to date (e.g., Hermes, appropriately, invented the Internet). A cliffhanger imparts new meaning to the prophesy (mentioned in the first book) and leaves no question that Percy's high-stakes battle for Western Civilization will continue to surprise even himself. Ages 10-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Riordan's clever mix of classical mythology, contemporary teen characters, and an action-packed adventure will bring new readers to the series."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Percy's sardonic narration and derring-do will keep the pages turning."
"[A] fast and funny tale, full of action, wisecracks, and superhuman powers. It's an entertaining retelling of Greek myths and a good bet for adventure and fantasy fans as well as reluctant readers."
"Riordan settles into the classical world he's created, introducing new monsters and the Odyssean ruses to defeat them, and balancing intensity with humor throughout the cleverly constructed adventure."
by Dallas Morning News,
"Witty and fun, with unique twists that emanate directly from the world of myths. Best of all for young fans, there's a cliffhanger ending that should whet the appetite for more."
by School Library Journal,
"Adventure follows chaotic adventure at a rapid pace, and readers with even a passing acquaintance with the Odyssey will enjoy this fresh use of familiar stories."
by Children's Literature,
"What extraordinary writing! Young readers may want to keep a guide to gods handy or bone up beforehand. What a great addition to a classroom unit on mythology this would be!...Here's hoping this magical series continues for many, many books."
"Riordan introduces classic Greek myths and characters into the modern world with comical results....Riordan's books are developing into a great series for fantasy fans who enjoy action, quick pacing, and humor."
by Wisconsin State Journal,
"Rick Riordan is at the top of his game as he creates a fresh, funny, reader-friendly fantasy."
In this second installment in the series, Percy, Poseidon's 13-year-old demigod son, is desperate to rescue his friend and retrieve the healing Golden Fleece — the only protection for the children in Camp Half-Blood. Adventure follows chaotic adventure as Percy once again battles mythical monsters in modern-day settings.
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.
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