Marketed for young teen readers, this series works well for adults as well. However, as is the case in most series, you really need to have read the earlier books in the series. That certainly is the case here so begin with "Percy Jackson And The Olympians, Book One: The Lightning thief." And by the way, this San Antonio, Texas author is also the writer of the Tres Navarre mystery series for adults. Those books are well worth the read too.
Percy Jackson And The Olympians, Book Three: The Titan's Curse
By Rick Riordan
Hyperion Books For Children
ISBN # 978-142310145-1
Percy Jackson knows from personal experience that it is hard to be a demigod. Especially one that has to be driven to where he is needed by his Mom. That is exactly what had to be done when Grover called for his help. Percy rounded up a couple of his fellow demigods, Annabeth and Thalia, and went on the eight hour drive from New York City to Bar Harbor, Maine in the sleet and snow. Their mission is to get to Westover Hall and help Grover who has discovered two half bloods at the isolated private school.
Grover has also found a monster on Campus operating in human form. At least it is for now and there is concern that more could be on the way or already present. Grover wants their help to safely rescue the two students, a boy and girl, ages ten and twelve. That rescue of the brother and sister goes horribly wrong and ultimately causes Percy to join another quest against the Titans.
This is the third adventure in the series and another entertaining read for young teens and up. Texas author Rick Riordan does little with regards to character development with Percy or changing the formulaic flow within the novel. Instead, he focuses on action and delivers plenty of it while also explaining how another set of the myths relate to modern times. He also uses the novel as a setup for the coming novel regarding Percy's fate which has been ordained by the oracle to happen once Percy reaches sixteen. With some of the Gods wishing him dead, the fourteen year old Percy continues to try and prove himself through word and deed that he isn't the type of person the Gods should fear.
As such, readers know from the fast moving start that questing will be involved, Percy and friends will battle monsters as they head to the West Coast in another race against time, and that along the way when things appear bleakest, Percy and friends will receive help in unexpected ways. That formula isn't changed here. Adult readers may notice, along with some of the humor that may not be as clear to young teen readers, that after two books in the series it is very obvious when catastrophe will strike. As usual, it strikes often and since it is clearly expected there is less suspense or need to turn the page to find out what is going to happen. While it wouldn't be fair to characterize this book or the series as being in a rut, the author might wish to consider shaking things up, especially in regards to sequencing so that the next works don't follow the exact same formula.
Still, while it does have that stylistic flaw, the novel does provide another entertaining read. Not only is it nice to know where Atlas is living these days and holding up the world, it is also nice to know that the Golden Fleece is still working well at Camp Half Blood. As a parent who really was into mythology while in school, it is really good to see a series such as this bringing mythology up to current times.
I just wish the writer in me had thought of it first!
Kevin R. Tipple © 2007