book reviews · middle grade · rick riordan · the sea of monsters · ya · young adult

The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

This is the second of five mini reviews for the five novels in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.
Read The Lightning Thief mini review here.
Read The Titan’s Curse mini review here.
Read The Battle of the Labyrinth mini review here.
Read The Last Olympian mini review here.

theseaofmonsters

“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.”

The second book in the Percy Jackson is just as enjoyable and charming as the first novel in the series.

The adventure continues as Percy secretly sets out on a quest with Annabeth and Grover in order to find the Golden Fleece to save Thalia’s tree which guards Camp Half-Blood from monsters and mortals. The tree, which contains the soul and dying body of Zeus’ daughter Thalia, has been poisoned by Luke, son of Hermes, who is attempting to resurrect the evil Titan Kronos from his prison in Tartarus.

What stood apart in this novel was an increase in hilarity. I was in fits of laughter for the entirety of The Sea of Monsters, especially the scenes with Polyphemus. Percy’s dry humour and Annabeth’s frequent wit were the perfect combination and the novel progressed naturally through the characters’ interactions.

My favourite character introduced was Tyson, Percy’s (sort-of) half-brother who just so happens to be a Cyclops. Tyson is the sweetest and most precious character I have ever come across in fiction. Each time he was on the page, I just wanted to give him a big hug. I was almost in tears during a scene where he continually giggled and said, “Percy is my brother?” He was so protective of Percy and such a true hero. That little baby Cyclops needs to be defended at all costs. He is too precious for this world.

I loved the inclusion of renowned Greek characters from mythology and in this novel we are introduced to Polyphemus, the infamous Cyclops who Odysseus once blinded on his way home to Ithaca. It is so thrilling to experience beloved characters and real historical people that I have studied in a new and fresh way. I took ancient Greek history for two years in high-school and another three during undergrad. I don’t pretend that I am some sort of expert on classical history, but I recognised almost every character from my studies and couldn’t stop smiling as I read about them once again.

The plot of The Sea of Monsters developed further and focused more on the deadly prophecy which is supposed to be about Percy, as well as the slow reincarnation of Kronos. For those who do not know their Greek history, Kronos was the king of the Titans and the father of many of the Olympian gods. He devoured his children at birth because of a prophecy that stated one of them would kill him and assume control of the world. However, Zeus was spared through the actions of his mother and then sought revenge: he and his siblings (once regurgitated) defeated their father, chopped him into little pieces and imprisoned him in Tartarus. Half-blood Luke, who feels abandoned by his father and the other Greek gods, is attempting to revive Kronos in order to overthrow Olympus and place the half-bloods in power.

Luke is a very complex character who I love to read about. You can’t help but feel for him as he has been completely abandoned by his parent, but you also know that his actions are reprehensible. Riordan is a fantastic writer to have his readers in two opposite frames of mind when it comes to the bad guy.

The Sea of Monsters was a great sequel to The Lightning Thief, increasing the tension and the adventure tenfold. Percy is a fantastic hero, and one we should admire and emulate. The conclusion of the novel promptly gave me a heart attack while simultaneously exciting me.

Favourite quotes: 

“The real story of the Fleece: there were these two children of Zeus, Cadmus and Europa, okay? They were about to get offered up as human sacrifices, when they prayed to Zeus to save them. So Zeus sent this magical flying ram with golden wool, which picked them up in Greece and carried them all the way to Colchis in Asia Minor. Well, actually it carried Cadmus. Europa fell off and died along the way, but that’s not important.”
“It was probably important to her.”

“You weren’t able to talk sense into him?”
“Well, we kind of tried to kill each other in a duel to the death.”
“I see. You tried the diplomatic approach.”

“Powdered donuts,” Tyson said earnestly. “I will look for powdered donuts in the wilderness.” He headed outside and started calling, “Here, donuts!”

Thalia had been turned into a pine tree when she was 12. Me… well, I was doing my best not to follow her example. I had nightmares about what Poseidon might turn me into if i were ever in the verge of death—plankton, maybe. Or a floating patch of kelp.

Fish gathered to look at us – a school of barracudas, some curious marines. SCRAM! I told them. They swam off, but I could tell they went reluctantly. I swear I understood their intentions. They were about to star rumors flying around the sea about the son of Poseidon and some girl at the bottom of Siren Bay.

“Percy, we’re going to Polyphemus’ island! Polyphemus is an S-i-k…a C-y-k…” She stamped her foot in frustration. As smart as she was, Annabeth was dyslexic, too. We could’ve been there all night while she tried to spell Cyclops. “You know what I mean!”

We only came close to dying six or seven times, which I thought was pretty good. Once, I lost my grip and found myself dangling by one hand from a ledge fifty feet above the rocky surf. But I found another handhold and kept climbing. A minute later Annabeth hit a slippery patch of moss and her foot slipped. Fortunately, she found something else to put it against. Unfortunately, that something was mt face.
“Sorry,” she murmured.
“S’okay,” I grunted, though I’d never really wanted to know what Annabeth’s sneaker tasted like.

There was Tyson moving into the Poseidon cabin, giggling to himself every fifteen seconds and saying, “Percy is my brother?” like he’d just won the lottery.

“The Cyclops was about to roll the stone back into place, when from somewhere outside Annabeth shouted, “Hello, ugly!”
Polyphemus stiffened. “Who said that?”
“Nobody!” Annabeth yelled.
That got exactly the reaction she’d been hoping for. The monster’s face turned red with rage.
“Nobody!” Polyphemus yelled back. “I remember you!”

Hermes gazed up at the stars. “My dear young cousin, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the eons, it’s that you can’t give up on your family, no matter how tempting they make it. It doesn’t matter if they hate you, or embarrass you, or simply don’t appreciate your genius for inventing the Internet-“
“You invented the Internet?”
It was my idea, Martha said.
Rats are delicious, George said.
“It was my idea!” Hermes said. “I mean the Internet, not the rats.”

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4.5 stars
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6 thoughts on “The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

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