Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters


Percy has spent almost a full school year without anything bad happening. But when three cannibalistic monsters show up at his school for dodgeball, things go down hill quickly.

Within the day, Percy finds himself back at Camp Half-Blood, a camp for demigods children of the Greek Gods. But the camp is dying. The magical barriers that keep the monsters out are failing. And with Kronos on the rise, they can't afford to let the barriers dissolve completely. And the only thing that can save it was lost centuries go.

Now, Percy and Annabeth must navigate the dangerous Sea of Monsters in an attempt to find the Golden Fleece of legend and save their friend Grover.

But, when it comes to the primordial beings of myth and legend, nothing is ever as it truly seems.








It seems that a lot of the time, the Percy Jackson books kind of follow the story lines of a famous Greek Hero or person. The Sea of Monsters is no exception. It is very clearly a retelling the story of  Odyssey just in a different order. In the original Odyssey, Scylla and Charybdis, Circe, laistrygonians, Polyphemus, and the sirens are all encountered by Odysseus as they are encountered by Percy and Annabeth.

Now onto the storyline...


We get to meet a new character in this book. Tyson the Cyclops. According to Annabeth Cyclops's grow up on the streets homeless, like Tyson. Except, Tyson got picked up by a school thanks to Poseidon. There he befriends Percy and it ends up they are related. Tyson has an immunity to fire (which seems weird considering Percy kind of has an immunity to water) and is an accomplished blacksmith, as all Cyclops all.


We learn of his immunity to fire when Percy gets to meet his first monster of the book: the laistrygonians. They appear as giant kids (albeit with odd names)  and the morph into giants when they start playing dodge ball (because that normal right). Percy, or course, does not have Riptide on him, and so when the giants start throwing flaming dodge balls of death at him, its Tyson, and later Annabeth that get him out of trouble. Eventually the giants are defeated, but the mist tells everyone that, once again, Percy was blowing up the school (hasn't he blown up a lot of schools).


With the laistrygonians dead, Percy, Annabeth, and Tyson all climb into a Greek cab and are off to Camp half blood. Except the drivers of the cab (there are three) have a single eye between the three of them. I don't remember what they are called in Greek Myth, but that one eye thing sure is a nuisance. Like when heroes steal it and threaten to destroy it unless they get information. Percy isn't the first one to try that trick. The sisters really need to get some more eyes. Or figure out how to keep their one eye out of the hands of information hungry demigods, like Percy.


So they get to camp and find two mechanical bulls trying to break in. Isn't that a nice returning home present. I'm not sure how exactly Riptide was able to cut through the solid metal bulls, but hey, it worked, I'm not going to question it. Of course, Clarisse, on the other hand, is more perturbed that Percy killed the bulls instead of her. Typical Clarisse. Always has to be the war hero. It can't ever be anyone else.


And apparently, the new camp director agrees. Tantalus. He's almost more irritating than Dionysius or Smelly Gabe. He acts like Clarisse is a new god and thinks Percy and Annabeth are like regular mortals who are good with swords. New flash Tantalus: they did save the whole of western civilization by returning the most powerful weapon in history to Olympus last year. That was no small undertaking.

And for those of you who aren't familiar with Tanatlus's story; when he went to the underworld he was cursed to never eat or drink again. He was placed on an island, surrounded by water, with fruit trees growing fruit just out of his reach. When he comes to camp, the curse holds true and he remains unable to eat anything. This of course probably makes him angry with the gods and so he doesn't really care about the camp at all.


Tantalus's first move as the new activities director is to reinstate the chariot races which apparently resulted in 3 deaths and several maimings (yah he really wants some dead campers on his hands, that Tantalus). Tyson, who was claimed by Poseidon and is now Percy's half brother, and Percy are one team. Annabeth and some other guy are Athena. Clarisse and someone are representing Ares, etc. The point is., the chariot races sound fun and dangerous at the same time. It sounded like there were no morals at all during the game; just don't kill anyone on purpose. Use of traps are encouraged, as are the complete destruction of chariots.


At least...until the Stymphalian birds show up. The birds have feathers that are like metal spikes and they feed on human flesh. They pretty much go into attack mode and start trying to feed on the campers watching the race. Until Percy and Athena decide that Chiron's old music is horrible sounding enough to drive them away. Turns out, the stymphaliann birds don't like 1960s music, because they fled and were promptly shot down by Apollo campers (who can apparently knock and fire five arrows at a time).


According to Tantalus, the Stymp. Birds were minding their own business until Percy and Annabeth decided to race badly and attacked because of that. Percy and Annabeth were promptly given extra duties and it is during dishwashing duty (which are apparently carried out with lava) that they figure out the Golden Fleece of myth could revive Talia's tree and restore the boundaries of camp (the tree was apparently poisoned and its magic is fading).


So they go tell Tanatlus they need a quest to get the fleece (which Percy figures out is in the Sea of Monsters (Bermuda Triangle)). Tantalus, being his typical anti-Percy-and-Annabeth self gives the quest to Clarisse. But Percy and Annabeth won't let that happen.


And now we get to meet another god: Hermes. Luke's father. He gives Percy some gifts and tells him to try and use them to retrieve the fleece while at the same time attempting to convince Luke to drop Kronos. Of course, that going to be impossible, but its not like you tell a god no. And it's a good thing that Hermes gave those gifts, otherwise Percy and Annabeth would be dead twice.


Speaking of Luke, we found out here that he now has his own both called the Princess Andromeda. He apparently lives there and is trying to resurrect Kronor's soul from Tartarus into a casket. He also has a large following of vicious monsters at his disposal. He tries to convince Percy and Annabeth to come over to his side and resurrect the Titan lord (good luck with that). When they refuse he has them promptly lead to a holding cell. Except Tyson dispatched of their guard and they manage to get away off the both using a thermos of winds from Hermes (see, twelve hours in and Hermes has already saved their life once). This portion of the book, is also where we learn that Luke, Annabeth, and Thalia, apparently had some kind of run in with a Cyclops that didn't end to well (we don't learn the whole story until later on).


After getting away from Luke, we get another monster fight. This time, its with a monster who runs donut shops (Why can't I meet this monster? I want donuts!!!). The Hydra of myth has eight heads that when severed sprout into two more heads. And from Riordan's creative brain, every time one of the heads is cut off, it not only grows back two more but also opens up a monster donut shop somewhere (I wish I had his imagination. I would make a lot more Hydra's come after Percy).


But thanks to Clarisse, Percy only opens up one more donut shop (thanks a lot Clarisse) :). Because she comes in with a ship full of dead Confederate warriors and blows the Hydra to pieces. Lets talk about this ship though. It's the CSS Birmingham and its run by dead confederates from the US civil war. Apparently all losers of war owe Ares a debt for losing. This is the confederates debt. I have to admit. Its pretty good idea to have dead people run your ship. They don't get tired. They follow commands. And you don't have any that are like "How do I do this?". So works pretty well. Until the engine has some issue and then that causes the dead spirits to vaporize. Then it doesn't work so well.

And yes, that comes up right when Clarisse decides it's a good idea to try and blow up a whirlpool. Clarisse, I hope you learned your lesson: trying to shoot canon balls at whirlpools doesn't work so well. Charybdis could have cared less. He just took the blows and then spat the canon balls back at the ship, causing it to explode. So it was your typical ship explosion in the Percy Jackson series.


So when the explosion happened, Percy and Annabeth wash up on the island of Circe the Sorceress. In myth she turned men into pigs. In the books, she turns Percy into a Guinea pig and tries to get Annabeth to agree to train as a sorceress. Annabeth doesn't buy that for a second. So she gets one of Hermes multivitamins and ends up using them to turn Percy and a bunch of other men (including the pirate Blackbeard) back into men.


With Circe taken care of, the next battle is the Sirens. For once, Percy does the sensible thing and stuffs his ears full of wax. But Annabeth, always the ambitious wants to hear the sirens to see what they have to say. So Percy ties her up and then before long, she's cut herself lose and is busy trying to kill herself. It turns out, the Sirens show you want you want most. For Annabeth, that's to live in New York (remodeled by her) with her mother, Athena, and her dad and Luke. This pretty much tells us that she has or had romantic feelings for Luke. Whether that remains is up in the air.

And this is where we learn about fatal flaws. Annabeth claims her fatal flaw is the belief that she can do tings better than anyone else, even the gods. She tells Percy that every hero has a fatal flaw and if he doesn't figure out what his is and how to control it, it will kill him. Personally, Percy's flaw could be stubbornness. Because he is eternally stubborn. Or it could be a lack of knowledge of Greek Mythology, because he is constantly asking Annabeth what things are.


We also learn about this great big prophecy about Percy. It claims that a half blood of the big three that lives to be 16 will make a choice that will either save or destroy Olympus. No pressure Percy. The fate of Olympus is just on your hands.


With that excursion and conversation over we finally get to the climax of the story: Polyphemus. This is the same Cyclops that Odysseus fought in the Odyssey and he has since been stabbed in the eye many a time, rendering somewhat blind. He has Grover weaving a wedding train because he thinks she is a female Cyclops that eh plans to marry. And when Percy and Annabeth arrive at his cave he had Clarisse tied up and is planning on eating her. So, while this looks like another "there is no way to win" situation, Annabeth comes up with, ye another, brilliant plan.

She becomes "nobody" and distracts Polyphemus. For those of you unfamiliar with the story of the Odyssey, Odysseus told the Cyclops his name was nobody so that when he attacked Polyphemus would claim that "nobody" attacked him and the other Cyclops he lived with would think he was dumb. Annabeth, betting that Polyphemus would still hold a grudge claims to be "nobody" and distracts the Cyclops while Percy frees Grover and Clarisse. This is a brilliant example of Annabeth using the old Greek myths to aid the current demigods in their quest against the monsters and titans. Percy didn't know the story well enough to think up the plan. Clarisse would have just wanted to charge into battle and fight him. And Grover would have been sitting there scared out of his mind. So really, Annabeth was the only one who could have come up with that plan.

And the plans works, until Polyphemus gets lucky and grabs Annabeth (who was invisible with her hat on). That when Percy and Clarisse charge into battle. I have to admit, the combo of Percy and Clarisse is pretty formidable. They could probably single handedly take on most of the Princess Andromeda were they not sworn enemies. They did  a damn good job hacking up Polyphemus and then running away to stay away from him.

Too bad they didn't cut that rope in time. That would have made things a lot easier. But I guess Tyson throwing rocks is pretty good too. I expected Tyson to come back at some point, but to come back to fight Polyphemus was not what I expected. It worked well enough though. I mean, they at least escaped.


This is the only story, in which Percy is not a part of the actual quest and thus does not here the prophecy. SO here's the prophecy:


You shall sail the iron ship with warriors of bone

You shall find what you seek and make it your own

But despair for your life entombed within stone

And fail without friends to fly home alone


Line 1: this line alludes to the fact that Clarisse uses the ship of dead confederates for transportation.

Line 2: this tells us that she succeeds in gaining the Golden Fleece

Line 3: this is referencing the fact that she becomes trapped by Polyphemus inside his cave

Line 4: and this line says that she will fail in her quest without friends, but she will take the fleece home by herself


In reference to that fourth line, upon exiting the Sea of Monsters, they find that ten days have passed, leaving Thalia's tree almost dead. Percy sends Clarisse on ahead with the fleece (because he can't fly). And should he had been a few minuets later, Luke would have gotten the fleece.


But it's a good thing that Luke did show up. Otherwise, Chiron, who was suspected of poisoning the tree, would have still remained a suspect. But no. Luke reveals that he did it (using "Elder Python Venom" whatever that is???). Thank you Iris Messaging. As to why all of a sudden Tantalus could pick up food; my best guess is that the curse that was placed on him got distracted by the sudden turn of events with the Iris messaging. Tantalus though, was never distracted and seized his one chance. Too bad Dionysius discharged him and he didn't get to eat his burger.


And then the Percy v Luke battle. I have to admit, Percy was very much out of practice. Because Luke had no problems taking him. If it wasn't for Chiron and those Party Ponies, Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and Blackjack the Pegasus (you'll meet him in the next book) would all be dead. But them Party Ponies definetly know how to take care of some monsters and surprised demigods. Because they destroyed the small force that Luke had massed on the boat. Too bad they didn't set the whole boat on fire as well, but that would have been too easy.


And so the Fleece gets to Camp Half-Blood, saving Thalia's tree etc. But there is still more to the book.


Poseidon sends Tyson a message to call him home to work at the Cyclops forges making weapons. Tyson accepts that offer of course, ending his character for the next book. Poseidon also sends Percy a message (there's a first time for everything) with two words: Brace Yourself. I don't understand what Percy didn't understand about this message. It is clearing telling him to get ready for more confrontations with Luke and the Titan Army.


And one more thing. Luke said that he planned to let Percy go with the fleece to heal the tree after he used it. Why?? It turns out, the power of the fleece could bring Thalia, daughter of Zeus out of her status as a tree, giving Kronos two children of Elder gods to make the prophecy come true. And it did. So now, we have two children of the Big Three. Two chances at fulfilling the prophecy. What is going to happen next.


Find out in book 3, one of my personal favorites, The Titan's Curse.