Kelly's Reviews > The Sea of Monsters

The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
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's review
Apr 28, 2011

it was amazing

"Families are messy. Immortal families are eternally messy. Sometimes the best we can do is to remind each other that we're related for better or for worse...and try to keep the maiming and killing to a minimum."

*Truth be told, it’s no surprise that I wasn't hugely impressed with the first Percy Jackson book: The Lightning Thief but I did see its potential. It was entertaining, yes, but somewhat drawn-out, unoriginal and predictable. Well, with "Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters," I take it all back. With a much more rewarding plot, stronger characterization, and smoother pacing, the second book in the five-part series is an improvement in every respect and well deserves the 5 stars I gave it!

*One of the things I love most about this series is how covertly educational it is! Percy interacts with many characters from Greek mythology and Percy often recalls a quick line or two about the story behind those characters. I recall learning about mythology in grade school and its fun to revisit those tales. The story also teaches some good moral lessons, and it's interesting to watch Percy mature through the trials he faces. There is a tremendous twist at the end that had me grappling for the next book. I also appreciate the fact that even though the books are independent stories, there is a larger tale at work that is continued with each book.

* I was pleasantly surprised to find that this entire book seemed like a modern day version of the classic Odyssey. From beginning to end you feel as though you are on the journey with Percy, Annabeth, Tyson and Grover. From tricking Cyclops to adventuring through the Sea of Monsters and avoiding the sirens deadly songs, specific chapters are taken right out of the Odyssey and placed into the newest book about Percy Jackson. This isn't necessarily a bad thing since it brings the old myths and revamps them for a new generation. It was interesting to see how Riordan used the Bermuda Triangle to explain where the Sea of Monsters is currently located, explaining any weird occurrences there to strange creatures that inhabit it, in search of a piece of legend, the Golden Fleece. The book continues to teach not only the mythology of the Greeks, but also the things they valued, such as not giving up, and brains can win against strength. The scenes of Percy and his brother Tyson were my personal favorites, as their relationship grew over time from embarrassment to love.


Lastly I want to make a Harry Potter comparison. The world of Percy Jackson and the Olympians is fun but still unmatched in comparison to Harry Potter in that the Greek world Riordan has created is not nearly as rich and full of detail as the world that J.K. Rowling so skillfully created. The Percy Jackson books are very plot/quest focused, so there's not a lot of camp games and activities we get to partake in or other campers that we get to know outside of the main ones. So these books do not have that extra charm that Harry Potter and Hogwarts presented to the reader. These books are still enjoyable although a little more dire and action focused, which is a good thing too. It’s fast paced and enjoyable. With all the HP similarities in the Percy Jackson books, though, you notice the contrasts between the two series. Though we do get a taste of chariot racing which was fun! For future books though, I keep hoping for more delving into Greek god life as well as demigod life and their environment. Riordin does a good job, but I left wanting more elements about the world Percy lives in with the other demigods. That is why people love books like this one, to get wrapped up in a world more magical than our own.
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