The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
Publication: Miramax (March 20, 2007), Paperback, 304 pages / ISBN 1423103343
Genre: Adventure, Urban Fantasy, YA
Find @ Amazon or IndieBound
Challenges: 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge (#9)
First sentence: My nightmare started like this: I was standing in the middle of the street in some deserted beach town.
Note: There’s some possible spoilers in here, mostly just character related.
The second book of a series that has such a kick-ass beginning will inevitably never be quite as awesome as the first, and that’s unfortunately true here. It’s not as bad as some other second books, but the repetition of themes from the first book and weird plot points that go nowhere were disappointing. Overall, though, I had fun reading it, and despite my disappointments it’s nowhere near bad.
Summary from Amazon:
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.
My main problem with the book was that it didn’t seem as tightly-woven as the first book. Tantalus, who briefly replaces Chiron as activities director, is mean and evil and I don’t get the point of him being there. He doesn’t do anything except cause hurt feelings, and it’s never really explained if he’s actually a spy for the baddies or just a grouch. He’s pointless.
Little things like that, things that seem to have no point and are just there to take up space, seriously annoy me and unless they pop up again in a later book, I don’t want to see them in this one. Bah.
Other things, instead of showing up only once, are repeated from the first book: Percy at new school, Percy getting into trouble for something a monster caused, Percy’s new friend actually being a monster, Percy going on a quest to fight a thing that can’t be beat, etc. etc. The repetition isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just frustrated me that there wasn’t anything new except the situations surrounding them.
But there’s a lot of things I liked, too! Like I said, even though the structure is the same as the first book, the details are different and it turned out to be just as exciting as the first book. I really do like the new character introduced, Tyson-the-nice-cyclops. He’s so cute! The contrast between him and the evil cyclops was interesting, especially considering how everyone except Percy considered cyclopses to all be evil and eat people, etc. Tyson doesn’t have a mean bone in his body, and it was quite refreshing to see a monster not actually act monster-like.
I also liked that we got a closer look at Clarisse, Ares’ daughter who previously bullied Percy (and isn’t all that nice in this book, either). She’s mean, but I kinda like her and I think there’s more to her than just “bully.”
And there’s new mythological creatures whose names I can’t pronounce, ghosts, sword fights! Lots of danger! More prophecies that don’t make sense until after everything’s done! Lots of fun, yay! And like the first book, this one really moved. I think I read it in an afternoon, it went by so quick.
To sum up: less tight than the first book, but still a lot of fun to read.