Monday, May 21, 2007

Review: The Titan's Curse

The Titan's Curse, volume 3 in Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, is as action-fueled, thrilling and humorous as its predecessors.

The action begins when Percy's mother drops him, Annabeth (daughter of Athena), and Thalia (daughter of Zeus), off at Westover Hall, a boarding school in Maine. They had been summoned by Grover, satyr and Percy's best friend, who identified two children there as demigods. Before long, the trouble begins in the form of the Headmaster/manticore, and Percy and friends are on the run. In a struggle, Annabeth disappears, while Percy, Thalia, the two newly identified half-bloods (the di Angelo twins), and Grover encounter Artemis and her hunters.

Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt, travels only with girls who achieve immortality by forsaking "the company of men" and "accept eternal maidenhood." She helps Percy and company back to Camp Half-Blood by summoning her twin brother, Apollo. Shortly thereafter, Artemis herself disappears and the prophecy states that a group of five must save Artemis (and Annabeth), an Ophiotaurus (a sea cow), and prevent Olympus from being overthrown.

The Titan's Curse serves up the action and the thrills, but goofy humor is present throughout. Consider this exchange when Apollo appears to escort Percy and friends back to camp:

"...he raised his hands in a stop everything gesture. 'I feel a haiku coming on.'

The Hunters all groaned. Apparently they'd met Apollo before.

He cleared his throat and held up one hand dramatically.

Green grass breaks through snow.
Artemis pleads for my help.
I am so cool.

He grinned at us, waiting for applause.

'That last line was only four syllables,' Artemis said.

Apollo frowned. 'Was it?'

'Yes. What about I am so big-headed?'

'No, no, that's six syllables. Hmm.' He started muttering to himself.

Zoe Nightshade turned to us. 'Lord Apollo has been going through this haiku phase ever since he visited Japan. 'Tis not as bad as the time he visited Limerick. If I'd had to hear one more poem that started with, There once was a goddess from Sparta--'

'I've got it!' Apollo announced. 'I am so awesome. That's five syllables!''

While The Titan's Curse is told from Percy's perspective, as are The Lightning Thief and The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse is much more an ensemble novel than the previous two. We learn more about Thailia, daughter of Zeus, and about relationships between the gods. Percy is also more grown up and less angst-ridden than previously, ready to take on the challenges of the future and to take his place as a hero.

The Titan's Curse is highly recommended for Middle Grade readers. As an aside, I'll mention that my six-year-old son loves the Percy Jackson series in audio format.


Other Blog Reviews:

Becky's Book Reviews
A Fuse #8 Production
Scholar's Blog