BookHound
Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

THE TITAN’S CURSE by Rick Riordan


 

Readers familiar with Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series are in for another fun-filled romp in The Titan’s Curse. The author has a five-book run planned for Percy and his companions, and then a return visit in a later series, which his young fans will clamor for.

If you haven’t read either of the two previous books, I’d warn you to stay away from this review because you’re going to find out things that are better discovered through your own reading.

In The Lightning Thief, twelve year old Percy Jackson found out he was the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. My son and I read YA books together all the time, and these are his favorites. What draws him in the most – and I mean hours at a time, till my voice gives out on me – are Percy’s cool water powers and the immense tapestry of Greek mythology that Riordan weaves in so well.

My son doesn’t know it, but he’s basically getting a classical education reading these novels with me. He finds the stories of the gods and goddesses, all their petty problems and efforts to get revenge on each other, wonderfully fascinating. He was so enthralled by the first book that I had to buy him a book on Greek mythology, which he read on his own just to get more background on the mythical characters in the pages.

You don’t have to brush up on your Greek mythology, or even tell all the stories to your kids. Riordan does a masterful job of making those ancient tales of gods and goddesses come alive in his stories, and giving you all the background material you need. But don’t be surprised if your child starts prowling the library shelves in search of more information.

The Titan’s Curse starts off with an almost 007 feel that I really liked. Riordan usually plunks Percy down in the middle of action, but the search for two new half-bloods (sons and daughters of gods who don’t know they are such) captivated my son and me immediately. And things, of course, go really badly for Percy and his friends.

Still, despite all the close calls, my son and I were laughing out loud at Percy’s adventures. Grover, the young satyr that’s his friends, ended up getting some of the best parts, but the chapter where Percy ends up riding the mythical pig was an absolute hoot.

Blackjack, Percy’s Pegasus buddy, puts in an appearance in this book as well, and absolutely steals the show for a while. “God alert,” Blackjack warns. “It’s the wine dude!” Of course, he’s referring to Dionysus, the Greek god that’s currently serving punishment as head of Camp Half-Blood. In fact, Mr. D actually steps into the thick of things more forcefully in this volume. But the line, typical pre-teen terminology, had my son and I cracking each other up for days as we kept repeating it.

In every book in the series, there’s always a quest. In the first book, Percy had to find the thief that took Zeus’s mystical lightning bolt. In the second, Percy had to save Grover. But in the third book, Percy has to save his best bud, Annabeth, with whom he’s becoming even more enamored. This quest sends Percy and his friends zooming across the United States again, and reveals even more Greek mythological geography that’s been relocated to this continent.

Athena is back on hand, as well as Artemis and Apollo. Luke’s efforts to resurrect Kronos as still in play, and it looks bad for our heroes. There’s a prophecy (told by the Oracle in a way that is extremely humorous) that foretells the death of one of the heroes on the quest.

Riordan’s pacing is fabulous. There’s never a dull moment in one of these books. Things – and threats – just keep happening at a mile-a-minute. This book truly felt like trying to stay on top of an avalanche as we hurtled to the ending. And it only left us hungry for Book Four: The Battle of the Labyrinth.
 

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