Monday, July 05, 2010

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters - Rick Riordan

This is the second book in the Percy Jackson series. Another well-written book; there is a huge flaw in this one, to which we will come later. First a few words about the book's story.

During the school year, Percy finds a new friend: Tyson. But Tyson is not any mortal child; Tyson is also a son of gods, but of the monstruous persuasion. Tyson is a Cyclops, and half-brother to Percy. But enough, about Tyson; back to our story. Percy arrives to Camp Half-Blood and finds Thalia's tree has been poisoned, and Chiron sacked because all suspicions fell on him. Camp Half-Blood is in danger; with the poisoning of the tree and the land, its magical protections are failing, and monsters attack the camp all the time.

The only thing that can save the tree, and restore the land, is the Golden Fleece. But where is it located? And what does the Golden Fleece have to do with Grover? Percy is going on another adventure, to find the Golden Fleece, rescue Grover, restore Camp Half-Blood and find out who poisoned Thalia's tree. This adventure will take him right in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle, or as the half-bloods and gods and assorted monsters call it, the Sea of Monsters. A number of mythological monsters will parade from the pages of the book; we will follow Percy into an ancient Greek adventure, set into modern times.

Now, however, as someone who has been raised in Greece, and always loved the Ancient Greek mythology, I must point out one particular flaw in this children's book: when Annabeth explains about the Golden Fleece, she says that the Golden Ram had carried Cadmus and his sister Europa, who fell while carried. But this is wrong, as the ram carried the brother and sister Phrixus and Helle; it was the girl Helle that fell in the sea from the ram, and the part of the sea where Helle fell and drowned in the strait, named Hellespont in her honour, according to mythology. Cadmus in fact, was the brother of Europa and father of Ino. Ino was the jealous stepmother of Phrixus and Helle, and why the two children had to flee carried by the Golden Ram. Europa is the woman abducted by Zeus in bull form, and the woman from which Europe got its name.

The rest of the book, as far as I could tell, did not have any more mistakes, as far as Greek mythology goes. Of course, I am not an expert, and there might be something that escaped me.

Generally, however, the book is enjoyable, and can be read by children and adults alike. What I like in this particular series of books, is the fact that the books may spark interest in Greek mythology, and gently guide children to read more about, not just mythology, but ancient civilizations as well. From the shores of the Nile to Mount Olympus and beyond, there is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to be found and cherished.

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