Title: Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2
Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books
Release Date: April 1st 2007
Percy Jackson’s seventh-grade year has been surprisingly quiet. Not a single monster has set foot on his New York prep-school campus. But when an innocent game of dodgeball among Percy and his classmates turns into a death match against an ugly gang of cannibal giants, things get…well, ugly. And the unexpected arrival of Percy’s friend Annabeth brings more bad news: the magical borders that protect Camp Half-Blood have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and unless a cure is found, the only safe haven for demigods will be destroyed.
In this fresh, funny, and hugely anticipated follow up to The Lightning Thief, Percy and his friends must journey into the Sea of Monsters to save their beloved camp. But first, Percy will discover a stunning new secret about his family—one that makes him question whether being claimed as Poseidon’s son is an honour or simply a cruel joke.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
It’s been a year since everything Percy faced at Camp Half-Blood in the first book. Since then he’s managed to survive another year in school without getting expelled, and without being tracked down by monsters. Until the last day before summer when Laestrygonians attack Percy and his classmates in a game of dodgeball and, of course, the mist makes it seem as if Percy is blamed for the attack. In the confusion, together with Annabeth and Tyson, who is revealed to be a Cyclops, Percy flees to Camp Half-Blood.
However when they get to the camp everything is in chaos, and nothing is safe. The barrier is down and the half-bloods are under attack by two bronze Colchis bulls. Thalia’s tree has been poisoned which means that the protection surrounding the camp is at risk, leaving them vulnerable to whatever monsters decide to attack.
Meanwhile the dreams Percy has been having about Grover reveal that, not only has his friend found the golden fleece, the only object that can heal Thalia’s tree and restore the barrier, but that he is in terrible danger. Grover and the fleece are trapped on an island in the middle of the Sea of Monsters and guarded by a terrifying Cyclops. When a quest is called to retrieve the fleece and bring it back to the camp it is Clarisse, daughter of Ares, who is chosen instead of Percy. Percy, Annabeth and Tyson, revealed to be another son of Poseidon, flee the camp and risk expulsion to go after the fleece and save Grover themselves, with a little help from Hermes along the way.
The deadline for saving Grover, hiding under the guise of being a Cyclops female, and Thalia’s tree, dying a little more each day is fast approaching as Percy, Annabeth and Tyson travel across the sea towards the Bermuda Triangle and the Sea of Monsters.
But their problems begin very quickly; escaping from Luke who seeks the fleece for his own, and Kronos’s, gain, and running into Clarisse who is on her own mission and determined to be the one who retrieves the fleece despite what the oracle has told her. Add into the mix Hydras, Circe, and the Sirens, and that’s all before reaching Polyphemus’ island.
Percy is still much the same as he was in the first book; he still fights to protect the underdog, standing up for Tyson in school like he did for Grover in the first book, but he has more than accepted his half-blood status. He looks forwards to going back to Camp Half-Blood for the summer and seeing his friends. He is still very much brave and reckless at times but he has the markings of a hero and it’s obvious in this book the person he is slowly becoming as he undertakes the quest to find the golden fleece.
Tyson has to deal with a lot of scorn and prejudice, from the students at the school he attends with Percy, from the other monsters, from the half-bloods at camp. But he is unlike any other monster, he has a really pure heart. He loves Percy, loves his father and believes when he prayed to Poseidon for a friend he was led to Percy. He is willing to do anything to prove himself, anything to help Percy, and there are more than a few times that it is only Tyson’s presence which helps keep Percy and his friends safe and out of trouble.
Annabeth deals with a lot in this book, especially regarding her past relationship with both Luke and Thalia. With the tree dying Annabeth is losing Thalia all over again and it, understandably, brings back some hard memories for her, especially while travelling with a Cyclops. I really loved the growing friendship/relationship between Annabeth and Percy. The two’s strengths and weaknesses complement each other and it’s really interesting seeing the way they work together while on their quest.
Family is a very important theme in this book, and not just in the relationship between Percy and Tyson but also in the relationship between Luke and his father. Percy is a little embarrassed that he has gone from the only son of Poseidon and a hero of camp half-blood to the brother of a monster, but in spite that he does care for Tyson. He tries to protects his brother and, in spite of his embarrassment, it’s obviously difficult for him to go from being an only child to having to share his father and his heritage with someone else, be it another half-blood or a monster.
A major theme as well is the relationship all half-bloods have with their parent. Luke feels abandoned by his father, the same way Percy and Annabeth feel a little about their God parents. It was interesting seeing things through Hermes eyes though, getting a little insight to what the Gods feel about their half-blood children and also seeing his belief that Luke can be saved from the path he’s walking down.
In the first book the Greek mythology aspect was a huge draw for me, and this book was no different. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief showed us the parts of Olympus that had moved to America; Mount Olympus itself in the Empire State Building, Hades in Los Angeles, and all the monsters in between. Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters take us to the Bermuda Triangle and the actual Sea of Monsters itself, and we learn more about the myths of all the monsters there; Circe the goddess of magic who turns men into guinea pigs, the sirens who nearly draw Annabeth into their web, before finally arriving at Polyphemus’ island where Percy and Annabeth use his past with Nobody against him. Like before all the Greek mythology the story takes its inspiration from is well-written and well-researched with modern twists added into make it more fitting with the modern day Greek gods.
I enjoyed this second instalment of the Percy Jackson series just as much as the first, but honestly I think I’m going to love the third book even more. The ending to Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, as well as everything that was revealed about Percy and the path he is walking, feels like the start of an epic conclusion to this series, and I think things will really heat up in the third book.
What did you think of Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.