Monday, May 31, 2010

Guest Book Review -- Percy Jackson and the Olypmpians: The Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Book 2 – The Sea of Monsters

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2)

3 out of 5 stars

Guest Post by Daisy Dad

I can’t help it. No matter how much I want to like the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series, I am continually nagged by the thought that this is a not so clever, fairly blatant rip off of Harry Potter – but I know it is not. Was Harry Potter a not-so-clever, blatant-rip-off of something that preceded it? C. S. Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe Chronicles? J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy? Maybe a series that I am not as familiar with? Unfortunately, after the second book, The Sea of Monsters, the parallels are unmistakable:

Percy Jackson = Harry Potter
Annabeth = Hermione
Grover = Ron Weasley (maybe a stretch)
Chiron = Dumbledore
Kronos = Lord Voldemort
Luke = Draco Malfoy
Half-Blood Hill = Hogwarts

I could go on…

But on its own merits, I still found The Sea of Monsters very entertaining. A fast paced voyage novel well suited for any young reader with adventure in their hearts. Updating the story of Jason and the Argonauts and the quest for the Golden Fleece, Rick Riordan again makes the world of the gods seem commonplace in the real world of today. Though the beginning of this book is maybe too similar to the way The Lightning Thief began, the introduction of a new character – Tyson – the half brother of Percy who is also a Cyclops – is a tender example of how cruel our world can be to those who are different – and how important it is to rise above first impressions and find the goodness in everyone. It may just surprise you!

Other than my HP comparison issues, the only other criticism I have, and it is really more a hope that the upcoming books don’t fall deeper into this trap, is that the writing verges on the cinematic – as if Mr. Riordan is writing with a screenplay and Hollywood in mind rather than writing a great story, with the depth and care it takes to rise above the lure of the quick and easy success a film franchise can bring. (Tsk, Tsk, Dan Brown and The Lost Symbol!) I guess that will be his “Golden Fleece,” the lure of “Circe”, or the hard to ignore “Siren” song. May Mr. Riordan avoid these human frailties and find his true, original voice in The Titan’s Curse.

Book source:  private purchase