Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Sea of Monsters

The Sea of Monsters
© 2006 Rick Riordian
279 pages

I continued in the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series this week with book #2, The Sea of Monsters. Percy Jackson is now in seventh grade, but is troubled by bad dreams. After he and a new friend (Tyson) are attacked by pyromanic cannibals and rescued by Annabeth, they head for Camp Half-Blood. Sadly, it seems to be be in trouble: the magic protecting it from being attacked by all sorts of monsters is fading. Percy's bad dreams -- involving his satyr friend Grover being in trouble -- continue. Once at camp, and after Percy and company dispatch a few monsters, Hermes pays a visit to Percy and tells him that he has to help Grover. The attack on the camp's magic and Grover's predicament -- which involves a wedding, for some reason -- seem to be connected, and soon we find that Percy must journey to the Sea of Monsters to rescue Grover and find the solution to their problem. While I won't reveal what the solution is, let's just say that Percy's full name -- Perseus -- is appropriate.

The solution to both lays in the Sea of Monsters, which is the sea that Odysseus spent so much time marooned on. It, like Olympus and Hades, moves with western civilization, and now lies in the Bermuda Triangle. To find Grover, they have to get past some of the same obstacles Odysseus faced, including Circe, who takes "Men are pigs" far too literally. They're also being accompanied by one of Ares' daughters, Clarisse, who is a bit ill-tempered. She actually takes the same journey on a Confederate ironclad, manned by dead Confederate soldiers. This is possibly the weirdest plot development I've ever seen. At journey's end, Percy encounters Polyphemus, the cyclopes who Odysseus fooled. Riordian references this repeatedly, with amusing results.

The second book in the series was another fun little book. The story wasn't as engaging as the first, but the characterization and so forth were done better. I intentionally didn't mention major parts of the book, because one of my readers is actually reading the series, and so I wanted to avoid spoilers. I will continue in the series. On one minor note, on one occasion two characters needed to find an awful noise to scare away a monster. They settled on Dean Martin, which amused me given how much I like Dean Martin. I wonder if the author is a fan, and if he included that part as a bit of self-depreciation -- or maybe he just wants to poison an entire generation of children against Italian crooners.

1 comment:

  1. Ha! It sounds hilarious. I actually can't get the second book right now so who knows when I'll get to read it! :(


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