After reading the first book, I was a little disappointed with the series because it felt too aimed at kids. While Sea of Monsters doesn’t change that fact, I do find myself enjoying the series more regardless. I’m sure part of that is the fact that I haven’t seen the movie yet (and won’t until it comes to Netflix in ~6 months), but a larger part is due to the new character, Tyson.
Tyson is a young Cyclops, a “monster” child of the gods. And his father happens to be Poseidon, the father of Percy Jackson. This creates an interesting dynamic because we’re told that Percy is the only half-blood (meaning half god, half mortal) child of Poseidon. I’m not sure on what exactly that means for Tyson, whether or not his mother was mortal (the book could have explained this and I might have missed it). Most importantly, this give Percy another obstacle. He has family now that his peers see as quite literally a monster, and he has to deal with that. He’s angry at his father, first of all, because he clearly knocked someone else up besides Percy’s mom, but also angry that his half brother turned out to be something to be reviled. It’s very much the same struggle that a young kid might go through if their sibling is born with a mental or physical handicap. Kids are cruel, and no matter how beautiful a person might be on the inside, they’ll always focus on the perceived flaws of someone’s appearance or personality. In Tyson’s case, his giant, single eye and the fact that because he’s basically a baby in Cyclops terms. He acts younger than he looks, he cries when people are mean to him, and he gets scared when there are bad guys around. By the end, Percy can acknowledge Tyson’s good qualities and they form a bond, but that only happens through immense trials and tribulations.
In a general sense, I think the thing that improved this book for me was just that Percy has more to fight for, and more to fight against. The “big bad” Kronos was revealed at the end of the last book, and while he isn’t overtly involved in the plot of Sea of Monsters, his servant Luke takes on a bigger role than in the first book. So now we have more of an over-arcing threat to the series. It’s not just that Grover got kidnapped by a Cyclops or just that their protective magical tree was poisoned. There’s a general sense of foreboding that some big showdown is coming. And once Percy finds out more about the mysterious prophecy made about him, we know that showdown is going to be an intense one.
I’m sure we’ll be waiting until the end of the series for that, but until then, as long as Percy has things to fight for and against, both big and small, I’ll be along for the ride.
-Percy gets an obstacle for the series
-big reveal at the end
-Percy taking more command over his aquatic powers
-writing is still a little too aimed at kids
-I’d love to see more interactions with the gods
-wish we could have had more Grover comic relief