Title: The Sea of Monsters
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion (2008)
Synopsis from cover: Percy Jackson’s seventh-grade year has been surprisingly quiet. Not a single monster has set foot on his New York prep-school campus. But when an innocent game of dodgeball among Percy and his classmates turns into a death match against an ugly gang of cannibal giants, things get . . . well, ugly. And the unexpected arrival of his friend Annabeth brings more bad news: the magical borders that protect Camp Half-Blood have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and unless a cure is found, the only safe haven for demigods will be destroyed.
In this fresh, funny, and wildly popular follow-up to The Lightning Thief, Percy and his friends must journey into the Sea of Monsters to save their camp. But first, Percy will discover a stunning new secret about his family – one that makes him question whether being claimed as Poseidon’s son is an honor or simply a cruel joke.
My Initial Thoughts/Rambling: It’s not often that I like a sequel better than its predecessor, but Sea of Monsters actually outshone The Lightning Thief, at least in my book. Maybe it’s because it’s focused less on introducing Percy and all of the mythology of the half-bloods and establishing the story, and more on moving forward. I felt like this one had a much clearer intent, and I sped through the whole thing in one sitting.
What did I think about the characters? All of the characters from the first book are still unique and engaging, and as they’ve grown a year older, there’s also a subtle maturation that shows. Plus, there’s a few new characters, and I loved all of them, especially Tyson. Even when four or five characters are in a scene, all with an important voice and perspective to share, they never become jumbled or one drops off the face of the planet. At the end of the book, we’re introduced to a new character in a crazy plot twist. This is when I’m glad I already have the next book on my shelves.
And the plot? Whereas The Lightning Thief had a few bunny trails and turned away from the main story every once in a while, The Sea of Monsters never did that. There was a very clear intent, and it flowed all the way through to the very end. There weren’t any filler scenes; I never forgot what the true purpose of the characters and their actions was. It’s a shorter book as compared to the first, but not at all detrimental.
What about the writing style? Once again, Riordan has thoroughly entertained me. There were several moments that I was laughing (not a chuckle, but a full on guffaw) – even when it was midnight and everyone else was sleeping. He’s witty, and hilarious without trying too hard. There was definitely some honed skills at work here, and it really showed.
Anything else you’d like to add? Read the book! Plus, the movie comes out in a few weeks, so it’s the perfect time to hop on the bandwagon (don’t worry about not being a fan from the beginning)!
FYI: if you plan on purchasing the book, I recommend buying the box set from Amazon. It’s $20 for all five in the series (paperback), and even if you don’t like the series you end up saving oodles of dollars because buying them individually is about $7.50 for each. You can find the boxed set here.