Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Sea of Monsters

Wow, I've really been on a YA binge lately. I started the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series last month. The first book, The Lightning Thief, follows Percy Jackson as he finds out that the things that have troubled him his whole life - dyslexia, ADHD, trouble making friends - were all because he was a demigod - half human, half Olympian. Percy arrives at Camp Half-Blood, meets all the other half-bloods, and goes on a cross country quest to find Zeus' missing lightning bolt.

The second book in the series, The Sea of Monsters, has a similar set-up: Percy comes to Camp Half-Blood suddenly and is presented with a quest - this time to save his satyr friend Grover from being eaten by the cyclops Polyphemus. The resulting travels to the Sea of Monsters (aka the Bermuda Triangle) follow Homer's Odyssey fairly closely, complete with trips to Scylla and Charybidis, Circe's island, and Polyphemus' sheep farm.

With this second book, the idea of a prophesy surrounding Percy becomes more clear as well. It was hinted at in the first book, but here, the prophesy is stated outright - but only before it becomes somewhat unclear as to who it pertains to. Very reminiscent of the whole Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom thing...

Speaking of Harry Potter, this series has claimed a little of the Harry Potter hype. Percy, like Harry, is something of an outcast, even once he is among "his own kind." He has few friends, one of whom is a smart girl who knows she's right about everything. And instead of magic, there's plenty of Olympian gods and monsters popping by, showing off exactly what they can do. Oh, and Chris Columbus is apparently directing the first movie, which should be out in about a year and half.

I originally picked up the first book to give to my nephew, but I was too intrigued not to read it myself. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys Classics, as these stories are able to twist the familiar into something new and fresh.

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