Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Son of Neptune

     Another great book by Rick Riordan.  Percy finds himself in California this time, fighting Gorgons who won't die.  These Gorgons are greeters from Bargain Mart with big buttons on their vests and silver trays loaded with free samples.  Although Percy puts up a good fight, these Gorgons keep coming back to life.  Death has been kidnapped and the monsters reform as fast as Percy can kill them.
     As Percy escapes on a free sample tray, he encounters Juno and carries her across the Tiber River to Camp Jupiter.  By doing so, Percy loses the protection of the River Styx and chooses a life of pain and possibility.
     Percy becomes a member of the Fifth Cohort with the two kids who save him from the Gorgons - Frank Zhang and Hazel Levesque.  After the nightly war games, Frank is claimed by his father Mars.  Percy, Frank, and Hazel are sent on a quest to free Thanatos, the god of death, from captivity in Alaska.
     On their way, they face many monsters and have wonderful adventures.  I love the new characters in the book.  In Greek tradition, they meet a blind man who sees and knows everything.
     Ella is another favorite.  She is a small, kind-hearted Harpy that remembers everything she reads, including prophecies.  One of my favorite parts of the book is when she falls in love with Percy's cyclops brother - Tyson, my favorite character in the series.  They were very cute together.
      I also like the Hyperboreans, bright blue, peaceful giants, living in Alaska  For some reason, they seemed to fit Alaska well.  I could visualize them going through Alaskan life at peace with nature and immune to the angst of the humans and monsters below.
     Arion was another fun character.  Who wouldn't love riding a gold-eating horse at the speed of light?  He also has a trash mouth, but we never have to actually hear the words, since Percy is the only one who understands horses.  
     Of course, I also like Octavian.  In the ancient days of Rome he would have read animal entrails for signs.  At Camp Jupiter, he reads the stuffing of stuffed animals instead.  That made Nick and I laugh hysterically.    
     My favorite part of the book occurs at Iris' store called Rainbow Organic Foods & Lifestyles or R.O.F.L. for short.  The store is protected by a brilliant rainbow that blinds the monsters trying to get inside.  When Polybotes demands Iris kneel before him, a dark object flies out the window and lands at his feet.  Polybotes yells, Grenade" and orders everyone to the ground.  When it doesn't explode, he looks more closely.  He roars in outrage, "A Ding Dong?  You dare insult me with a Ding Dong?"  It was so unexpected that I couldn't stop laughing.  What a great thing to throw at a giant threatening you to show how little you think of his threat.  A great life lesson in that analogy, as well.  
      The book was fast paced and full of adventures, romance, and monsters.  I enjoyed the writing, the variety of new characters, and the humor.  It was a wonderful addition to the series.  It is going to be really hard to wait for the next book that comes out in the fall.                 

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