Friday, January 29, 2010

Book 12: Percy Jackson Book Two: The Sea of Monsters

I'm really liking this series. I know it's a Young Adult series, but why should that stop me from enjoying it?

In Book Two, Percy discovers that he has a half-brother named Tyson who is a Cyclops. He brings his brother to Camp Half-Blood, which is being attacked on a regular basis by monsters that have broken through the mystical barrier that protects the land. Meanwhile, Percy's satyr friend Grover is in trouble and reaching out to him through his dreams.

Clarisse, daughter of Ares, is tasked with the quest of finding the Golden Fleece, a magical fleece that can heal anything, including the tree Thalia (daughter of Zeus who was turned into a pine as she lay dying on the border of the camp) which reinforces the camp's mystical border. It turns out that Grover is being held by the Cyclops who is in possession of the Fleece, so Percy, Annabeth (daugher of Athena and Percy's closest friend at camp) and Tyson find themselves also looking for the Fleece and hoping to rescue Grover at the same time.

Along the way, Percy and his friends run into Luke, son of Hermes, who defected from the camp at the end of the first book. Luke has fallen under the spell of Kronos, King of the Titans and father of Zeus, who has been biding his time in the hopes of returning to power. Percy knows that Luke wants the Fleece as well... but he never imagines what he plans on using it for, and the book ends with a surprise that I didn't see coming.

I know I keep gushing, but I really like this series. The plot unfolds quickly in each book, and the action doesn't let up as the story moves along. And I love trying to guess the identity of the mythological creatures and characters that Percy encounters (most are in disguise at first).

I also know that I shouldn't compare every YA series to Harry Potter, but, well, it's damn hard not to. Both series depict their main characters as struggling with identity and fate versus free will. Harry and Percy are both the subject of major prophecies, and they also have to deal with figuring out who they are versus who everyone else thinks they are - they have reputations that precede them (Harry being the Boy Who Lived, Percy being the Son of Poseidon, one of the "Big Three" Gods, the other two being Zeus and Hades).

I will definitely be looking for the third book next time I hit the library.

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