Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #81: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #81: The Sea of Monsters by Rick RiordanThe Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 1, 2007
Genres: Fantasy, Humor, Mythology, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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three-half-stars

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 Percy’s 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 hugely anticipated follow up to The Lightning Thief, Percy and his friends must journey into the Sea of Monsters to save their beloved 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.

Recommended by: Debby (Snuggly Oranges)

I am now officially caught up with how far I made it into this series the first time. Woo! Progress. I can totally see where, reading this some time after The Lightning Thief without a bond formed to the characters, I would have been underwhelmed by The Sea of Monsters and not kept reading. The Sea of Monsters is fun, but continues to be a bit smaller in scale, primarily consisting of humorous adventures and action sequences, not the soul crushing pain that tends to draw me in. So yeah, The Sea of Monsters is a good read, but I’m guessing it’s probably the weakest one in the series, which means I ought to like the rest quite a bit if I’m right about that.

In my review of book one, I made some Harry Potter comparisons. What’s just occurred to me is that they’re reversed, though, with Percy’s adventures occurring during the summer and normal life resuming during the school year. Not that Percy’s school life is particularly normal either, since he’s been kicked out of at least a school per year. Things have a tendency to explode around Percy that even the helpful Mist cannot explain away without some damage to his reputation with principals.

Also, for as much as he loves his mom, he really looks forward to Camp Halfblood. I’d say it’s truly becoming his home in a way that it didn’t in The Lightning Thief. The time away made him realize how much he loved the place. He doesn’t have an easy time making friends, partially because he attracts trouble and partially because of his hero tendencies which include befriending the unpopular kid, Tyson. At Camp Halfblood, his life may be more stressful, but it’s also more fulfilling, because he’s around people who understand him, even if some of them don’t accept him.

In The Sea of Monsters, one of my favorite things is watching the kids grow up a bit. They’re still young, but they’re just a bit more mature than they were last year. There’s more cooperation, even with people who were enemies before. Stereotypes are being challenged and grudging respect is being found. There’s a long way to go, but I like the way the network is expanding. Plus, I absolutely love the trope where two people who don’t get along are forced to work together, so watching Percy have to deal with Clarisse made me happy.

The plot continues in a similar vein to that of The Lightning Thief. It’s high energy with constant new attacks, both sneaky and overtly dangerous. These are books to satisfy a desire for action. They are for the most part more towards the silly and humorous than the scary. However, as with book one, the twists on mythology are delightful. My favorite part may have been Circe and her guinea pigs.

The overarching plot of The Sea of Monsters centers on the need to rescue Grover, who has been captured by Polyphemus (aka the cyclops that Odysseus faced and eye-poked) and will be made into the cyclops’ bride-to-be. The crew has to get together on a quest to save Grover and the camp, no longer protected by Thalia’s tree, which is dying of poison. Conveniently though explained well enough I’ll let that slide, what’s needed to save the camp is where Grover is. The image of Grover in a wedding dress is indeed a funny one, but I also missed him getting to have a real role in this one.

The one thing I can point to that did make me narrow my eyes was Tyson’s love of horses. Percy loves horses and has an affinity through them thanks to Poseidon being his father and the creator of horses. Tyson, on the other hand, scares horses, which is why Percy has to calm them down before the chariot race. However, shortly thereafter, Tyson befriends another kind of horse very easily and is even able to talk to it. This seemed inconsistent; it could have been explained perhaps, but it wasn’t. Also, sort of related, I’m a little puzzled that the chariot races continued after the mission ended successfully View Spoiler ».

After the dramatic ending and with an increased cast, I’m looking forward to the group dynamics in the third book. The Lightning Thief and The Sea of Monsters have both been great, but I’m hoping that the feels are coming and the stakes will be getting much higher. So far, there’s no sense of peril in any of the adventure, which keeps my emotions low. However, the big bad is pretty intense and I have hope for the future. On to book three!

Favorite Quote:

“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.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif percy jackson smiling
Me whenever I picture Grover in a wedding dress

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6 responses to “Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #81: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan”

  1. Oh Clarisse. She is great and the rivalry is hilarious, but yeah, I love how they manage to set things aside and work together 🙂

    Haha, CIRCE and the cyclops and Grover in a dress omg this book was super fun, but yeah I could see it being the weakest in the series. STAKES WILL GET HIGHER SOON. ALSO YOU GET BLACKJACK SOON. SOOOOOOOOOOOOON. ♥
    Debby (Snuggly Oranges) recently posted…Book Review: The Swift Boys & Me by Kody KeplingerMy Profile

  2. Sea of Monsters wasn’t my favorite in the series either. Otherwise, I think the series got better as it progressed. The Last Olympian was my favorite because the conflict and the action was at its peak, the stakes were higher than ever, and I’d gotten to know the characters so well by then. My favorite thing about the series — other than the humorous narration, of course — was getting to know the characters and seeing them gradually grow and change.
    Dana @ The Nerdy Journalist recently posted…TGIF Weekly Recap | Aug. 29, 2014My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      From what I hear, this one gets terrifying and Riordan will totally do horrible things to his protagonists, but so far everything feels really safe. I’m looking forward to the higher stakes. The narration’s fabulous and I can already see the growing up happening. Plus, the older they get, the more romance I can enjoy. WEEEE.

  3. I felt the same way you did about this one. Just so-so. I think I’d like it better if I was younger.

  4. book says:

    This book is the best book I’ve ever read in my life mainly because I love to read fiction books exactly like this. The Sea of Monsters is like a roller coaster you never know what’s next. I would suggest this book to anybody in the world to read this book but if you just hate fiction, books do not read this. I would give the book five thumbs up if I had that many any were any time, or any place. If you are looking for a book with action, adventure, and surprises then you should totally get The Sea of Monsters.
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