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.
My daughter received the box set of the first Percy Jackson series from Santa, and spent Christmas vacation zipping through the series. I'm catching up with them now - but she's slowing me down because she just ordered the second series from Amazon and is refreshing herself by reading through the first set of books in anticipation. She enjoyed them that much.
Anyway. Long story short, I can see why so many kids like this series.
Fast paced with well defined characters, and although there are lots of mythological references and names, the author explains them and uses contemporary comparisons to give context. We're introduced to a few new characters, like Tyson, who turns out to be Percy's half-brother and oh, yeah, a cyclops. Returning characters get a little more definition, like the mean girl Clarissa, daughter of Ares, who is the half-blood actually chosen for this particular quest. Percy, Tyson and Annabeth have to sneak out of camp to come to her aid.
Riordan infuses his story with sarcasm and wit, and funny juxtapositions of classical devices in current settings. Some of the jokes were not my cup of tea, but I'm not the target audience, either. You're not going to "learn" mythology by reading this series, but it might make you interested enough to go look for more information. Or you can just read this series and enjoy them for what they are - fast paced adventures that appeal to boys and girls alike.
P.S. My own YA book, SON OF A MERMAID, is featured today at Tara Maya's blog "Best Fantasy Novels" with an excerpt. Come visit and say hi!