Percy knew there was trouble when he, Thalia, Annabeth and Grover find two half-bloods during winter vacation. Things get worse when a manticore claiming to serve “the General” attacks the two siblings, Bianca and Nico di Angelo. Percy manages to save the siblings, but Annabeth is taken, and Artemis appears with her hunters, leaving them at Camp Half Blood while she hunts the most dangerous monster.
However, news comes to Camp that Artemis has been captured, and a quest is issued to the goddess’s lieutenant, Zoe Nightshade who decides to take newly made Hunter Bianca, Grover and Thalia with her. With a promise to Nico to protect his sister, and a goal of saving Annabeth, Percy sneaks out of camp to follow them.
But the Titans are building strength. What is the monster Artemis is hunting? Who is the General? Did Grover really hear the call of the wild? Why does Bianca think the last president was FDR? Why does Bessie the cow serpent keep popping up everywhere?
And prophecy still looms over all. After all, Thalia, a daughter of Zeus, is about to turn sixteen.
Plot Points That Worked
The Story Really Begins. A lot of people believe that The Titan’s Curse is really the beginning of the action of the Percy Jackson Series, and I tend to agree. Not only does the story start right with the action (which I personally appreciate), but the danger of the Great Prophecy really has weight in this novel. Thalia, eldest of the children of the Big Three, is the most likely candidate for the prophecy, her birthday merely a few days from the beginning of the book, meanwhile Percy is still in line, and not to mention the unsuspecting di Angelo siblings. (And, spoilers, but this book gives perfect motivation for Percy to complete the Prophecy.)
The Labours of Hercules. It’s easy to notice that Riordan follows patterns in the mythology with each book he writes. The Lightning Thief is a hodgepodge of Perseus and really any story of heroes travelling to the Underworld, and The Sea of Monsters is clearly the modernized Odyssey. This book draws on the dragon bone men from Jason and the Argonauts and the Labours of Hercules, which was a smart choice given that the quest ends in the Garden of Hesperides.
Butting heads. The inter-character conflict is very good in this book. The Campers don’t like the Hunters, and Percy and Thalia vie for the position of leader. I especially like the latter, since it adds tension to the looming Prophecy.
Plot Points That Failed
I really don’t have much to say here. If I had to nitpick, I’d say that revelations about men were a little…vague? Zoe is betrayed by Hercules in a fairly quick scene that isn’t fully explained, and Thalia’s betrayal from Luke could definitely have had a bigger impact if the relationship between the two of them was better explored. And yet both betrayals are what turn both girls off to men and heroes forever. Fleshing out the events that result in such important decisions would definitely have made their justification much stronger. Especially since both girls become good friends with Percy and Grover in the end.
So that’s my take on the plot! Thoughts on the characters to follow soon!
Other PJO Reviews
“Can’t you tell us what the prophecy means?”
Apollo sighed. “You might as well ask an artist to explain his art, or ask a poet to explain his poem. It defeats the purpose. The meaning is only clear through the search.”
― Rick Riordan, The Titan’s Curse