Thursday, 16 January 2014

Review: The Sea of Monsters

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2) by Rick Riordan
Title: The Sea of Monsters
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: Thorndike Press; 2006
361 pages, hardback (large print edition)
Source: Borrowed from the library
 Description (from Goodreads):

After a summer spent trying to prevent a catastrophic war among the Greek gods, Percy Jackson is finding seventh grade unnervingly quiet. His biggest problem is dealing with his new best friend Tyson, a six-foot-three, mentally challenged homeless kid who follows Percy everywhere. But things don't stay quiet for long. Percy soon discovers that there is trouble at Camp Half-Blood: the magical borders that protect Half-Blood Hill have been poisoned, and the only safe haven for demigods is on the verge of being overrun by monsters.

My Thoughts:
My hands are still in the air with The Sea of Monsters. I have started this review about five times and every time I fail to say what I need to say so that you can understand why I gave it a low rating when I quite enjoyed it. Let me start at the very beginning (a very good place to start, ahaha!)...

The Sea of Monsters, Camp Half-Blood is no more a safe place. Thalia's tree has been mysteriously poisoned and the borders that keep the monsters out aren't functioning. To save the camp - and Percy's best friend, Grover, who has run into trouble on his quest to find the god, Pan - Annabeth, Percy and their new friend, Tyson, have to brave the Sea of Monsters and recover a long-lost magical item whose magical restoring powers are the only way to turn everything right. But it isn't that easy... old enemies return, new monsters set out to kill them and with ever turn they face a greater danger. Will Percy save the camp... or will they play right into enemy hands?
Rick Riordan is great at writing mysteries filled with great twists and intrigue but is simply terrible when it comes to plotting action scenes. The action scenes written in The Sea of Monsters are rushed and well clumsy, for lack of a better word. They lack detailed descriptions and the character rely on last minutes saves from the friends, or even strangers, to get them out of all their problems. I find that this really retracts from the plotline. Not only because the action is an essential part of the general storyline but because it simply annoys me. Not only are the scenes doggedly written but they seem to be all written from the same formula: go to location. Bad guy or monster there. Get trapped, captured, close to dying in fight. Friend comes to rescue at the last second. Are saved. Go to location. Bad guy or monster there. Get trapped, captured, close to dying in fight. Friend comes to rescue at the last second. Are saved. Rinse and repeat. Two books into the series and its already bugging me.

The writing for the rest of the book is rather simplistic. Not dull by any means, just nothing too wowing. Yet, while this may seem to be a negative thing, I found it perfect. Percy's voice isn't one that needs to be written with excessive attention to detail nor with beautiful prose and imagery, they casual but simply descriptive tone the novel takes is exactly the tone I would imagine Percy narrating with. It works wonders.

While I am talking about Percy I have to say how much I appreciated his growth since
The Lightning Thief. Percy had always seemed immature and a little "young" in my eyes but within this book he grew. He gained some maturity and I had to appreciate that. I also enjoyed the developing friendship between Percy and Annabeth - not in the romantic sense, of course - but now they seem to appreciate each other, and we are almost over the childish squabbling that constantly annoys me. Tyson was hands down a greatly written character. I loved how he bought out different sides in almost every character. Good sides, bad sides. It was fascinating to see how everyone reacted to... well, I leave it for you to find out why and how!

I will admit how much of a disappointment Luke is for me. I just cannot take him serious. I mean look at his face:

He's so cute! I love him and his actor. I cannot see him destroying the world. I laugh every time he acts all serious. I mean just look at him. Ahh! I just have troubles believing his evil intentions and all.

I have to praise the detailed level of research Rick Riordan has obvious taken to include within The Sea of Monsters. I won't say too much about what is included for future readers but I have to say how impressed I am with how much detail is included. I loved getting to meet some of the gods themselves and, my God, how I loved those snakes! I want a Martha and George phone!

Overall, I found
The Sea of Monsters to be somewhat flat in plotline but engaging and delightful in general. I will eagerly proceed to read The Titan's Curse now. I mean that cliff-hanger!


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