percy jackson and the sea of monsters by rick riordan

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Posted October 22, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

The Sea of Monsters

The Sea of Monsters

by Rick Riordan

Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2
Publisher: Disney Hyperion on April 1, 2006
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Urban Fantasy
Target Age Group: Middle Grade, Young Adult
Rating: ★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

Percy Jackson’s seventh-grade year has been surprisingly quiet. Not a single monster has set foot on his New York prep-school campus. But when an innocent game of dodgeball among Percy and his classmates turns into a death match against an ugly gang of cannibal giants, things get... well, ugly. And the unexpected arrival of Percy’s friend Annabeth brings more bad news: the magical borders that protect Camp Half-Blood have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and unless a cure is found, the only safe haven for demigods will be destroyed.


Although I am well aware that it is a crime to speak ill of Percy Jackson (or any Rick Riordan, really), I just wasn’t digging Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters.  It just didn’t hit that wow factor for me like The Lightning Thief.

I think this came in two parts for me.  First of all, I never felt the stakes were as high as The Lightning Thief.  Sure, there were stakes to be had and they were important, but I never felt the pressure on them like I did in the first book.  Maybe that’s because this isn’t really Percy’s quest.  Where the three-part quest and adventure in The Lightning Thief felt fresh and exciting to me, in Sea of Monsters, it felt a bit more repetitive.  I felt like, for the most part, I’d read this story before.

The second aspect I didn’t enjoy was the characterization of Tyson.  I think this was amplified by the narrator (and I have to be honest, I wasn’t crazy about Jesse Bernstein’s narration – some of the voices irked me).  As a cyclops, he already had enough to battle with his physical differences and the prejudice of being a child of a god and a nymph.  Both Tyson and Polythemus are portrayed as less intelligent than the non-cyclopes and… I don’t know.  It rubbed me the wrong way, I guess.  It really could have been the voice used for the cyclops characters that engrained this feeling, and I admit to that.  The voice reminded of the Moai head in Night at the Museum.  So you know.  Not the most complementary voice.

There was really nothing that stood out to me as extraordinary in Sea of Monsters.  The plot felt so formulaic, and I didn’t feel the characters grew much.  Even Clarisse I thought had minimal growth, and certainly the most potential for it.  I dunno, folks – Sea of Monsters reeks of the Book Two Blues for me.  I’m sure this is not the experience of others, but it wasn’t as enjoyable for me as The Lightning Thief.  It’s to the point of “meh” for me personally that if not for the incredible hype of the series, I would have considered stopping here.


Objectively, this is still a decent book for its audience.  Sea of Monsters is YA, and unlike many YA books, the characters felt like they fell appropriately in their age groups and made decisions based on appropriate experience levels.  Percy’s voice is still good, still with that slight edge of snark that I really enjoyed in The Lightning Thief, and it’s something that will bring in readers and keep them – Percy is definitely a flawed, likable character and in that way, he’s written well.

I also appreciate the slow development of Annabeth and Percy’s relationship. I have shielded myself from spoilers in this area, but their relationship is developing in a normal, healthy way.  This is so, so rare in YA where infatuation runs rampant and you’ll find six relationships for one friendship.  Definitely something worth celebrating.

All in all, I wouldn’t be scrambling back to read Sea of Monsters myself, but I accept that it’s a step on the Percy Jackson journey and I hope I enjoy the next book better.  However, my personal enjoyment definitely doesn’t keep me from recommending it to others!  I still think this series – so far as I have read – is an excellent story with excellent characters and well-deserving of its popularity.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★
Plot: ★★★
Characters: ★★★ 1/2
Writing: ★★★1/2
Pacing: ★★★
Narrator: ★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★

3 Star Rating


If you’ve read the whole series, where does Sea of Monsters rank for you?  Is it one of the more memorable Percy Jackson books?  Do you agree with me that it was a bit underwhelming?  Let me know in the comments!

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