My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Guest Review by Daisy Dad
When I started the third installment of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Titan’s Curse – I really didn’t want to like it. I read and reviewed the first two and you may remember that I was hung up over the similarities to the Harry Potter series. The characters, the situations, even the games that they play (I still enjoyed the Quidditch matches of HP over Capture the Flag and/or Chariot Races of PJ). But then I was talking to another father about the two series and he is a HUGH Percy fan and said that Harry was “just o.k”. JUST O.K.???? I almost fell over. I bit my tongue and allowed him to explain. He felt that while the Potter books were extremely entertaining, he really appreciated the teaching of Greek Mythology in a new, interesting and original way. I mentioned in my first review of The Lightning Thief that I wanted to go back and read D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths or maybe Homer’s The Odyssey, but have I? I’m not going to answer that, but I will let you know that I did finish The Titan’s Curse reading it differently.
Did I like it? Yes. Was it great? No. Unfortunately, I think Mr. Riordan missed a couple of opportunities to make his work stand above the critics (like me) that his books are subtle knock-offs of another series that “will not be named”. The best example of this is when the di Angelo siblings are introduced as the newest half-bloods in the story. An opportunity to explore these character’s feelings as they learn of their new identities as a daughter and son of a god was lost. I thought it would be interesting to see a different perspective than that of Percy’s, but that was not to be so. This installment is also basically the same as the first – a journey across the United States to save the world from the return of the Titan Kronos.
But the true craft that I have finally appreciated is the way Riordan weaves Greek myth into a modern day adventure. The Lightning Thief was the myth of Odysseus, The Sea of Monsters was the myth of Jason & the Argonauts, and now The Titan’s Curse is the myth of Hercules. And not a glossing over of those myths – a full telling with many of the side stories and details of the mythology that I would doubt would be learned in any elementary school or junior high. I lost myself in the adventure and spent less time making comparisons. I am a sucker for young love and the author does a nice job with the awkwardness of it, and I look forward to see how it develops further in the next two books. Knowing his audience, I also appreciated how death and the loss of a loved one were handled in this book.
I may have to read something else now and let some anticipation build for The Battle of the Labyrinth. What new Greek myths will I learn next?