Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters

I am admitting to my own failure: I read this book months ago and never got around to writing about it. I know, I'm horrible, I've had this draft sitting in my posting section for months. It's been staring at me in it's grayish font just asking to be written and I've ignored it, brushed it off, and moved onto better things. But not anymore! I am sorry, Sea of Monsters, I am now devoting all of my attention to you.

I was quite impressed with the first Percy Jackson book. It's a children's book, yes, but it placed a certain sparkle to Greek mythology. It could spark the interest of children and maybe make it a little easier for them to read about the Greek gods they've come to enjoy through these stories. While working as a bookstore I often had children coming in asking for books about the Greek myths because they were fans of Percy Jackson. It was a direct influence. They found the books to be "cool" and the gods to be "awesome" and they had heard that it was all based off of really old stories. Go figure! But any book that gets kids reading, and not just reading but interested in more classic literature and story-telling, is okay in my opinion.

It also helps that Percy Jackson is an adorably funny read. Maybe a little cheesy at times but it's entertaining even as an adult. I think that this would be a series I'd love to share with my children, to read out loud to them, and I'd enjoy it just as much as they.

In the second book of the Percy Jackson series, The Sea of Monsters, we're introduced to a new character who I completely fell in love with: Tyson. He's a huge kid, homeless, and with a lovable if unique personality. This kid adores Percy and follows him about like a devoted pet. It's adorable. I couldn't get enough of this character and would literally 'aww' every time he did something cute. The character's unique appearance and manners made it hard for Percy to make friends, which is unfortunate, but through out the book it became clear that Tyson is the right friend to have.

Camp Half-Blood, the magical area where the demigods are protected and can truly be themselves, is in danger and Percy sets off to save the camp, but there is one big blaring issue: Grover, Percy's best friend, has been taken as a prisoner somewhere near the Sea of Monsters. The Sea of Monsters have swallowed many a Greek hero whole but in this day and age we know of the area as the Bermuda Triangle. That's something I love about Percy Jackson, that it takes modern day locations and turns them into something unique and mythical. (Not that the Bermuda Triangle wasn't already unique).

Things are never easy for Percy and there is an assortment of problems that he runs into while on his quest. There's also appearances of other gods, visits of others who you've seen in the first book of the series, and the introduction of other mythical characters and beings. It's such a great learning tool for children, this series, and it's all so wildly entertaining. I really can't get enough of it (even if it's taken me a century to write this review). I fully intend on continuing with the series and reading other books written by Rick Riordan.

The books have a Harry Potter twist in that there are the three good friends; two being boys, one being a smart girl, while all are coming up against obstacles that no mere mortal could handle. It's a great recipe for entertainment for a child/preteen/teenager/adult of any gender and doesn't need to be specified to "Great for girls!" or "awesome for boys!". I love that it doesn't have to be categorized, necessarily, into an age group either. And that comes as a rarity in the pre-teen world: to find a book that can appeal to all ages. But Percy Jackson has achieved that.

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