The Titan's Curse
by Rick Riordan
Book Three of Percy Jackson and the Olympians had me laughing already at the Table of Contents. I seem to recall Books One and Two doing the same thing. How many books have chapter titles like "The Vice Principal Gets a Missile Launcher"?
I am glad to report that the book lives up to the promise of its T.O.C. It offers pleasures galore, from an eighth-grade demigod needing to be dropped off by his Mom before battling a monster to an ominous discovery about a sweet little boy who has just become Percy's worst enemy. Narrated by its irrepressible young hero, it is jammed with references to Greco-Roman myth updated to fit a present-day context. The result is a steady flow of wry humor, multi-layered gags, fast-paced action, breathtaking dangers, shattering losses, gripping tension, and moments of eerie beauty - often combined in the most unexpected ways.
Joined by his satyr friend Grover, fellow Camp Half-Blood hero Thalia, and two of Artemis' huntresses, Percy goes on - like, duh - another quest. This time, however, it's an especially complicated quest, with more than one goal in mind. First, the team has to rescue the goddess Artemis herself, who has somehow been captured. Second, they have to catch some kind of monster which the Titans - eternal enemies of the Olympian gods - want to use to destroy Mount Olympus. Third, unofficially, Percy wants to rescue his friend Annabeth, who is in serious trouble.
Unsurprisingly, it turns out that all these problems are connected, and evil teen Luke - a former camper who has gone over to the other side - is involved. Also unsurprisingly, Percy's quest is hounded by complications. A prophecy says that either he or Thalia will make a decision, by his or her sixteenth birthday, that will either save or destroy Olympus. Though her sixteenth birthday is only days away, he still has two years to be a threat to the gods, and some of them would just as soon put the threat out of the way. What is a poor son of Poseidon to do when he has Olympians gunning for him on one side, Titans on the other, and a dozen indestructible warriors behind him who will not stop chasing him until they kill him?
I know a kid who loves mythology and stories related to it. He endlessly cajoled me to buy this book (even - gasp! - before it came out in paperback) so that he could read my copy after me. I held my ground, so he gave up waiting for me and had already read the fourth book in the series, The Battle of the Labyrinth before I did. Maybe you're a kid like that, or maybe you know one. Or maybe you have no particular interest in myths, but you just like books that are really fun to read. Take a peek at this book's table of contents and see if it doesn't promise to delight you or someone you know. I'll bet it does, and I'll vouch for the rest of the book fulfilling that promise.
St. Louis, USA
Recommended Age: 12+
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