If you've read my previous reviews, you'll know that I've been enjoying the Percy Jackson series. I keep worrying that it may start ebbing downward in terms of entertainment/enjoyability/etc but in this third book in the series, Riordan keeps the momentum and excitement going strong. I'll try to keep spoilers to a minimum here but I will assume some familiarity with the Percy Jackson series in general. If you haven't read them yet, you should start with Lightning Thief and work your way through the series. The author does a good job of bringing you up to speed and each book stands on its own, but personally I think it's worthwhile to start at the beginning and follow the adventure through.
Titan's Curse opens with a pretty good teaser adventure to start things off. Percy and his friends are off to recruit some new half-bloods to the camp. Naturally a bit of danger comes along with it. I actually liked this element a little more than the "attack at Percy's school" from the previous book, mainly because it shows Percy's growth as a character in that he's now being entrusted with the task of helping bring in more half-bloods. This initial adventure ends with a mix of success and disaster and becomes part of the impetus for the main quest in the book.
I have mixed feelings on the character and plot dynamics in this adventure. The general plot reminded me a little of the first book in that it was a sort of "journey" quest to take our heroes cross-country in search of a particular person. They encountered different challenges along the way, but the main form felt a little reused. I was also bummed to have very little Annabeth in this book. I really liked the way she and Percy interacted and wanted to see more. Still, it was cool to get to know Thalia a bit better and find out more about her (although by the end of the book, I'm left wondering what her future involvement will be).
Overall, the adventures and the mythology were a lot of fun. Very well written and researched. I really liked the villains in this particular book. They were a lot of fun and provided some cool new tension. The story also opened up new information for the overarching plot of the series (in terms of details on the main prophecy as well as some new curve balls into how it will play out).
I'm still really enjoying this series and look forward to the final couple of books to see what's going to happen. So far, the series is still staying at the "young adult" / "middle readers" reading level rather than increasing in depth and intensity. They are becoming more complex, but not with leaps and bounds by grade/age level. Personally I kind of prefer it that way. For kids who are reading these books as they come out, it would make sense to have the reading level step up with each book because the kids will naturally get older. I felt like the Harry Potter series made a few leaps in complexity/depth that felt a little out of place. With Percy Jackson, I think it's still possible for a kid to read the whole series (I'm making assumptions about the last books) without having to mature a few years while waiting publication of the next book. At the same time, there is enough depth and adventure to keep older kids (and even adults) engaged enough.
Once again, another great book in a fun series. Give it a try. :)
4 out of 5 stars
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