The Sea of Monsters (paperback)
by Rick Riordan
AR Level 4.6, 9 points
The Sea of Monsters is the second book in the Percy Jackson series. It starts, once again, in a school, and the action begins right off the bat. Percy is faced with a dangerous situation that he must find his way out of, and he is found at fault and kicked out of school. I am assuming this is a pattern I’ll see throughout the series. He finds trouble at Half-Blood Hill, and must go on a dangerous quest with his friends in order to save his camp and the world. This time, he is searching for the Golden Fleece in the Sea of Monsters with a cyclops named Tyson and his gal pal
Rachel Greene Annabeth. A former-friend-turned-enemy makes an appearance, and Percy keeps his regular quick-wit and smart-ass responses. He and his friends return from the quest and all appears fine back at the camp, but there’s a little twist in the last chapter that will lead into the third book, The Titan’s Curse.
What I liked about this book… this is actually a conversation I had with my favorite Barnes & Noble employee (I don’t remember her name, but I see her nearly every time I’m there, and she impresses me with her knowledge of children’s literature, something most adults don’t read or give enough respect to). So we were talking about the difference between this series and the Heroes of Olympus series. They are two different series, both based on Greek Mythology, and Percy appears in the third book of the latter series. In between these two series is the Kane Chronicles series, which is about Egyptian mythology, but most people skip it and stick with Greek mythology. I came to learn that B&N Friend hasn’t read any of the Rick Riordan books, which I totally get, because I generally don’t read books (or watch movies) when there’s lot of hype. That’s why it took me so long to get into Harry Potter. BUT she LOVED Harry Potter, and this series is basically HP for Dummies or People Who Don’t Want Dark Books But Like Archetypal Characters and Plots. So many parallels between the two! That’s a whole other blog post that I’m sure has been done a million times. I can probably google it and find nice spreadsheets or input charts comparing the two series, down to the syllabication (Har-ry Pot-ter vs. Per-cy Jack-son).
So anyway, if you like smart ass dialogue that will make you giggle (a little, not Lemony Snicket-giggle level), if you like archetypal characters and story plots, if you like Greek mythology… this is your series. It’s action-packed and you’ll be wishing you had a family tree or picture dictionary of the mythological characters.
What I didn’t like about this book is that it isn’t intellectually or linguistically challenging. It is written at a fourth grade level, and there’s nothing that makes you think too hard. It’s relatively predictable since you could probably use the same graphic organizer or plot diagram for each book. This is a series I was not anxious to pick up, and I’m also not dying to finish it. I am alternating, mixing things up, and keeping my options open when it comes to other books. It is worth the read, in my opinion, but I am not staying up 24 hours to finish all of the books, and I wouldn’t camp out for the next book in the series. You’ll learn a lot about mythology and you’ll be rooting for our hero the whole way through.
Book 9 of 40 (year 2)