The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan's amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a "half blood" whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan's series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that results in true page-turners that get better with each installment. In this episode, The Sea of Monsters, Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book's drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come.
Percy gets through a whole year without being expelled until the last day of school when he is blamed for a fire caused by a monster attack. He is saved by his strange new friend Tyson and the arrival of Annabeth, who has had her own difficult summer. Camp Half Blood is under attack, Grover is in trouble on his quest and Luke is back.
This book wasn't as good as the first book but I'd give it 2.5 instead of just 2 stars. The reasons for this are firstly, the fact that Grover is absent for a fair portion of the book except in dream sequences. He is my favourite camp character so I missed his humour. Chiron is sacked and accused of poisoning Thalia's tree which reduces the protection around the Camp and puts everyone in danger. This is what leads to the idea of locating the Golden Fleece to restore the tree and save Camp Half Blood. The new man in Chiron's place is the very annoying Tantalus, sent from the Underworld. He seems set on destroying the Camp and Mr D doesn't seem to care, so these scenes I found to be very irritating. Our new main character is Tyson. I liked the idea of a Cyclops kid being claimed by Poseidon but giving him the personality of a toddler was not something I found entertaining and I wasn't greatly keen on him to start with.
Percy and Annabeth aren't much better as they both become whiny and keep fighting. Clarisse again fights constantly with Percy and for someone who is a great warrior, she is just too dumb and smart mouthed to live. She was driving me nuts. Luke does not suit the role of uber bad guy either-I find him very unconvincing, and I get annoyed with Annabeth continually seeming to defend him despite trying to kill Percy and start a war. Get a grip you stupid girl!
The book does improve in the second half when we get into the quest and get into the mythology. I liked Hermes as a character, Tyson stops acting like a big baby and finds some courage and personality. We get a few good scenes with the Sirens trying to catch Annabeth, Percy finding his inner animal, cannibal sheep, Grover's big fat Cyclops wedding...and my favourite bit of the book: The Party Ponies hit Miami! Chiron's centaur relatives are like mad frat boys with hooves and root beer, and they are very funny! I wish these guys were at Camp Half Blood to add some fun to the summer! I can't believe these mad ponies are related to Chiron.
The mythology introduced in this book was really interesting so it was a shame that too much of this book was taken up with petty fights and immature behaviour. Camp Half Blood was no fun and the whole first half of the book dragged for me and was actually quite boring in places. Although the second half was much better, it was not enough to get the book up to 3 stars. I hope the rest of the series picks up or I won't continue much further.
Star Rating: 2.5/5