I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.
The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan's amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a "half blood" whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan's series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that results in true page-turners that get better with each installment. In this episode, The Sea of Monsters, Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book's drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come. (source)
I am so glad that I'm finally reading this series! I'm just sailing right through it. This one didn't take me long to read, because I wasn't able to put it down!
In my review for The Lightning Thief, I wrote that while I did enjoy the book, it had room for improvement. While that's still true, I definitely thought that this book was better than the first. My biggest complaint with The Lightning Thief was that I felt that it was a tad bit too predictable. Well, that was not the case with The Sea of Monsters! I was surprised on several occasions by how things turned out. The ending especially threw me for a loop, and it left me itching to start the third book (thankfully, I already have it out from the library and I'll be able to start it as soon as I post this review).
Additionally, while I still don't think that Riordan's writing is particularly impressive, I felt that this book was at the very least more humorous than The Lightning Thief. While there were points in the first book that I'd think to myself, "Oh, that's funny," at no point did I actually laugh. But with this book, while I wasn't in hysterics or anything like that, there were definitely quite a few scenes that made me chuckle.
I think my favorite part about this series so far, in addition to all the super cool mythology stuff, is the characters. I like Percy more and more with every adventure that he and his friends go on, and I like that he's matured just within the first two books. I love the addition of Tyson - he's a great character, and I really hope that I'll be seeing much more of him! And, of course, Riordan's take on the gods, goddesses, and other figures of Greek mythology is really neat to see.
I am thoroughly enjoying this series thus far! While you definitely need to start at the beginning (which, honestly, is something that I would recommend with pretty much any series, even those that don't require reading sequentially), I think this is definitely a book that anyone who's looking for a great book to read with an 8-12 year old should pick up. This is definitely going to be going on the read-with-Mom-at-bedtime list for my future kids!