February 5, 2011

The Sea of Monsters

This was a solid sequel.  Riordan reminds me of Joss Whedan in his ability to take time-honored tropes and give them just the right modern twist to amp up the humor and action. There's not a lot of surprises if you have even a passing knowledge of the Greek myths but it's so funny and amazingly well-paced you just go along for the ride.

It begins with Percy finishing up another school year and looking forward to a summer at Camp Half-Blood when some weird kids show up just in time for a free-for-all dodgeball game. And I just knew the kids that liked dodgeball when I was a kid were really cannibals from the underworld.  I just knew it!

The ancients-in-the-modern world jokes are hilarious.  Chiron's satyr family likes to party like Packer fans, double drink holing hats and all! Riordan even adds in some other twists like a confederate ghost ship brought to living-dead life to help in a battle and a three hundred-year-old Blackbeard and his pirate buddies released from a delightful goddesses trap just in time to lend a ship and crew when Percy needs it.

Although Riordan hasn't been watching as many Mythbuster's as my daughter and I have recently.  When one of the ships begins to sink, Percy thinks he has to get his friends off before the sinking vessel pulls them down in a whirlpool. The Mythbuster's have twice-busted that myth, thank you very much.

And I didn't really buy that Percy was quite as thick-headed as he's made out at the beginning. After the first book of adventures he sure took a long time to catch on to the fact that his friend Tyson is a mythical creature himself.  I mean, come on! But Tyson was a great addition to the series and helped Riordan explore the themes of family and loyalty even deeper in this volume.

Favorite joke, though?  That Hermes invented the internet.

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