Wow, what a quick read that was, I read it within 24 hours.
Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Sea of Monsters is the second book in the five part series about a demigod (half-god, half-human) named Percy, the title character.
In The Sea of Monsters, Percy is finishing up grade 7 and getting into more trouble (and, alas, it is so often not even his fault). He and his new friend, Tyson, escape back to Camp Half-Blood where there is more trouble. The camp’s defenses are weakening and the favourite teacher, Chiron, is on the way out and being replaced by a new meaner teacher and Grover, Percy’s satyr friend, is probably in trouble. To top it off, Kronos and his minions seem to be gaining some traction and power.
The only way to save the day is to find the Golden Fleece, which Polythemus, the cyclops in the Odyssey, has possession of. Off Percy goes with the help of Annabeth, his friend, and Tyson. Now, *spoiler alert*, Tyson is actually Percy’s brother, their father and god, Poseidon claimed Tyson as his.
It’s kind of a big deal because Tyson is a cyclops; his mom isn’t human. This is a problem for Percy at first because, even though Tyson is his friend, Tyson is also very big and perceived as being stupid. The other kids bully him and use Tyson as a reason to bully Percy. Percy feels embarassed. But Tyson is really good at making things and fixing machines and he loves animals; it comes in handy.
It’s a bit of a race; Percy, Annabeth and Tyson don’t just get to show up at the island that Polythemus lives on without encountering conflict. That would be far to easy, right?
And, of course, they do come through their trials successful. I’ll leave the big “ooooh what’s going to happen now?!” details to the book because I don’t wish to ruin all the fun.
I loved The Sea of Monsters. Along the way Percy learns a lot of life lessons, which is true to most YA books, especially the fantasy ones, and is also much like the first book, The Lightning Thief. In this case, Percy has to overcome feeling embarrassed by his brother, Tyson. Other people are prejudiced toward Tyson and act like Percy must be like him in a negative way. While more immature, Tyson is kind and protective. As time goes on, Percy learns to realize that Tyson also other traits that are valuable; he is a talented craftsman, he is a good fighter, and much more. He learns to feel proud to have Tyson for a brother and others recognize Tyson’s talents too.
You see other characters learning to grow too. Annabeth has to move beyond her prejudices that all cyclopes are bad, evil monsters as she learns to embrace Tyson as the good person that he is. Clarisse has to learn how to accept help and friendship in order to succeed. That just names two lessons for two characters. A big part of YA novels is that coming of age process and I am really going to have to write a blog post about that so keep a look out for that. One think I love is how Rick Riordan really touches on important lessons that the characters learn (see what I already touched on) and it’s not complicated or anything. The things that Rick touches on I feel like are things that are super practical and that we learn and evolve in all the time, even as adults (hence YA appeal).
Also, much like The Lightning Thief, I love how Rick Riordan wove in the history of the ancient Greek gods and mythology into The Sea of Monsters. Set in modern times, Rick has found lovely ways to include bits of mythology. I could see a lot of young people taking a much greater interest in Greek mythology through these books. I don’t include myself here because I studied Classics in university; I still own my ancient Greece textbook and a copy of the Odyssey. It’s really interesting and I like that authors are providing books that could spark a life long interest.
Now, onto book three….
Title: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Sea of Monsters, book 2
Author: Rick Riordan
Date of publication: April 1, 2006
Publisher: Miramax Books / Hyperion Books for Children
Genre: Fantasy, Greek Mythology, Young adult
Page count: 279