A less exciting second instalment in the Percy Jackson series

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #2) by Rick Riordan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve been dwelling over this review for a few days now, I have literally read 2 and a half more books since I finished this one and have reviewed those on the site before coming to review this one. I had read the first Percy Jackson novel in the series earlier in the year and liked it but I hadn’t felt an instant draw to pick up the second and so when I did I hoped it would offer me a huge incentive to keep coming back for more from the half-boy half-god son of Poseidon.

This was quite a quick, light read. I flew through it in just over a day but if I’m honest I could happily have seen this book have another hundred or so pages added to it because at times I felt that it lacked some of the expansive world of the first book. I wanted lots of Camp Half-Blood and instead we spend very little time there. No sooner have we arrived than we are off again on a Quest and so we skim the surface of one of the most enjoyable aspects of the world I liked in Book 1. We also have a very brief glimpse of Percy’s mom but she is mentioned only in passing and we don’t really return to this aspect of Percy’s world again in the book.

All the characters we fell in love with in Book 1 are back, Percy, Annabeth and Grover are the fantastic trio but here we find that one of the three isn’t present having still gone off on his own journey so Grover is absent for much of the book which is a shame. This is offset somewhat by the arrival of a new character, Tyson, a cylops who is another child of Poseidon and therefore Percy’s half-brother. Tyson is almost the saving grace of this book, he is sweet and childlike and innocent and it’s clear he is thrilled at finding not just a friend but family but Percy isn’t always so thrilled and their story is the high point of this book.

As for the adventure our hero goes on, in this book he is in search of The Golden Fleece because the tree that protects Camp Half-Blood is dying and evil seeks to destroy everything they hold dear, so they need to retrieve the Golden Fleece to restore the order and save everyone before it’s too late. To do this they need to cross The Sea of Monsters. This in itself was a good quest but throughout this book I just wanted Riordan to slow everything down just a little, take his time and build the tension a bit more slowly.

Everything seemed to be flying off so quickly, our hero would lurch from one disaster to another and unlike book one there wasn’t so much time to pause and expand the story emotionally as we went along. Instead we are so focused on the action that by the end I wasn’t sure I had invested my heart into the quest as much as I should have. I didn’t feel I’d had enough Annabeth and Percy and Grover moving forward together as friends as I’d expected. I wanted them to grow together and I’m not sure they did.

I liked the book, I’m not sure if this had been the first book in the series I’d have been keen or felt invested enough to return for a second round. The only thing keeping me coming back for more is the glimpses of brilliance I saw in book one. I know Riordan can write great drama and emotion as well as the action and I’m sure that this series would not be so acclaimed unless we could expect more of that as the series goes on. I will be giving book 3 a try but I could only give this one 3 out of 5 stars.

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I eventually read the first book in one of the most beloved Childrens series ever

The Lightning Thief
 (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yes, it’s true, please don’t throw anything at me….I know. I cannot believe I have gotten this far in my book reading life without having read a Rick Riordan novel, not even one of his most famous hero one’s Percy Jackson. It is such a confession and having heard so many people raving about his writing and how all of her series are so eminently enjoyable and such fun I decided that at the grand old age of 40 I really did need to try reading one.

So, in true Sound of Music style, I decided I’d start at the very beginning with the first in The Percy Jackson series, The Lightning Thief. And yes, I am well aware that this book is absolutely not aimed at people of my mature years however if everyone had said that about the Harry Potter novels then I am sure there would be a number of very disappointed adults out there who would feel they’d missed a wonderful experience and why can that not be true of other authors novels too. Yes this is a children’s book but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be read and loved and enjoyed by anyone.

From the very outset, this book is pretty action packed. We meet Percy Jackson, who is on a school field trip with the other kids from his school, they are a school of delinquents and they are visiting the museum of natural history when Percy has a strange run in with his maths teacher Mrs Dodds. He could swear she turned into a monster and tried to kill him but he somehow ended up killing her but when he comes round no one knows who Mrs Dodds is, their maths teacher is someone totally different and she’s been teaching them for months. From there stranger and stranger things begin happening to Percy.

This book is a really fun adventure from start to finish, we quickly learn that Percy is a son of one of the Gods, yes that’s right in Riordan’s world the Greek Gods are very much real and living right here in the Western World. Percy has a target on his back on account of the fact he may be the son of one of the big 3, Zeus, Hades and Poseidon but which one? He finds himself at Camp Half-Blood, a special summer camp for children of the gods where he learns more about his special powers and just what it means to be a demi-god.

He, just like Harry Potter, has his trusty sidekicks, Annabeth and Grover and in the vein of Ron and Hermione, they are there to help our hero on his adventures. This book has a fair bit of back story building in it but not so much that Riordan hasn’t managed to pack in lots of enemies for our trusty trio to face and lots of colourful places for them to visit. I mean who would have imagined that Mount Olympus could be accessed from floor 600th floor of The Empire State Building? Who even knew it had a 600th floor?

I loved this book, it was fun and full of wonderful escapism and great characters. I cannot believe I waited this long to read it. It definitely won’t be so long till I pick up the second in the series and spend more time finding out what adventures await Percy and his friends next summer at Camp Half-Blood as this book is left with somewhat of a cliff hanger with gives us plenty anticipation for the story ahead.