I’ve just finished Sea of Monsters, the second book in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.

I really enjoyed the way Percy and Annabeth’s adventure to rescue Grover mirrored the stories of Hercules, Odysseus and Jason and the Argonauts. The vein of Greek mythology is strong in these books and I can see why kids who get hooked on the Percy Jackson books often expand their reading to the actual Greek myths.

There was a strong family theme in this book, as Percy meets Tyson his younger half brother who is a cyclops. Percy struggles with this because cyclops are monsters. Percy is embarrassed of him, he is allowed into Camp Half Blood but is belittled by the other campers. Despite all this, Tyson remains sweet and protective of Percy.

You can’t give up on your family, no matter how tempting they make it.

Percy receives messages that Grover has been captured by Polyphemus, the cyclops from Greek mythology who just happens to have the Golden Fleece, the exact thing that is needed to repair the magical borders of the camp. The quest for the fleece is given to Percy’s rival, Clarisse, but Hermes tells Percy that he and Annabeth need to go.  Tyson joins them as well and the quest begins. The kids run into a lot of problems, one of them being Luke, the son of Hermes who is leading the group who wants to destroy Western Civilization and Olympus.

Percy and his friends triumph in their quest and take the fleece back to the camp. Along the way Percy learns to appreciate Tyson. He tries to help Hermes repair the broken bond with his son, but isn’t able to help in this book at least. There’s a big twist at the end but I’ll let you find out what for yourself.

Families are messy. Immortal families are eternally messy. Sometimes the best we can do is to remind each other that we’re related, for better or worse…and try to keep the maiming and killing to a minimum.

As a fun side note, I thought you might like to know where the ancient Greeks came up with the idea of the cyclops. The Greeks would find fossils of prehistoric animals and imagine them to be the bones of Demigods and Heroes. They often buried them in their temples. But still, a giant with one eye??

This is the skull of a Pygmy Elephant that once lived in the Mediterranean area. The giant eye centered in the forehead makes a lot more sense now, doesn’t it?

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