I’ve been a Percy Jackson fan since reading the first chapter of The Lightning Thief last summer, and Rick Riordan doesn’t disappoint with his latest. For those of you not familiar with Riordan’s series, Perseus “Percy” Jackson is a Son of Poseidon, a “hero” among men, who discovered his heritage in The Lightning Thief. In that story, its sequel Sea of Monsters, and now The Titan’s Curse, the gods of Olympus are alive and well, and living above Manhattan. Percy and other half bloods gather each summer at Camp Half Blood, where they learn how to be heroes. In The Lightning Thief, we discovered a traitor among the campers, Luke, whose mission in life is to restore the Titans to power. Remember your Greek mythology now — the Titans gave birth to the gods, who then destroyed their parents and claimed power over all the world. But Titans cannot die, they can only be rent into tiny shreds, which apparently can be out back together. And if the granddaddy of all titans gets put back together, it will be Really, Really Bad.
In Titan’s Curse, Percy heads off on a quest to rescue pal Annabeth, Daughter of Athena, who disappears during a mission in which we meet Artemis and her hunters. After regrouping at Camp Half Blood, Percy sneaks off on a quest to save Artemis and Annabeth with two of the hunters, satyr Grover, and Thalia, Daughter of Zeus. Monsters galore pursue them, from the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum to Hoover Dam to San Francisco, where they eventually find Annabeth and Artemis, who has been tricked into holding up the world for the titan Atlas. As expected, our heroes triumph and the world is saved once more.
As I wrote about the first two in this series, there are remarkable similarities to Harry Potter, but despite that this is one rip-roaring good story. The monsters and creatures are fabulous — the winged statues from Hoover Dam that break free and transport the heroes to San Francisco made me envision two big Oscars flying through the sky — and the characterizations of the gods are wonderful — who could resist an Apollo who spouts bad haiku and talks like a Surfer Dude? I pictured Jeff Spicoli every time. Riordan does a masterful job blending Greek mythology with the 21st century, and has created a core of entertaining characters who should keep the world safe for years to come. Highly recommended for grades 5 and up.