arrow_upward

Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson & The Olympians (Series, Book 2): The Sea of Monsters

YEAR: 2006

COUNTRY: United States of America

Cateogry icon

Title of the work

Percy Jackson & The Olympians (Series, Book 2): The Sea of Monsters

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Worldwide

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2006

First Edition Details

Rick Riordan. Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Sea of Monsters. New York City: Disney Hyperion, 2006, 279 pp.

ISBN

9780141319148

Official Website

rickriordan.co.uk (accessed: July 12, 2018)

Awards

BookSense Top Ten Summer Pick in 2006; 

Child Magazine, Best Book in 2006; 

Kirkus Reviews Best Fantasy Sequel in 2006; 

Barnes and Noble Best Children’s Book in 2006;

VOYA Top Shelf Fiction Pick for Middle School  Readers in 2006; 

CCBC Choice award; YALSA Best Book for Young Adults in 2007.

Genre

Action and adventure fiction
Alternative histories (Fiction)
Fantasy fiction
Mythological fiction
Novels

Target Audience

Crossover (Aimed at ages 9+)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Kimberly MacNeill, University of Roehampton, macneilk@roehampton.ac.uk 

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, s.deacy@roehampton.ac.uk 

Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, elzbieta.olechowska@gmail.com 

Male portrait

Rick Riordan , b. 1964
(Author)

Rick Riordan previously taught History and English at middle school in the American education system. He began writing mystery novels for adult readers before creating the Percy Jackson series, which began as a bedtime story for his son. Prior to Percy Jackson, his adult crime novels the Tres Navarre series received numerous nominations and awards. Most notably the final novel in the series, Rebel Island, won the Anthony Award, Shamus Award and The Edgar Allan Poe Award – the "big three" of the mystery genre. Though it is through the success of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and its subsequent purchase by Disney which has led Riordan to leave teaching to pursue writing as a full-time career. He is now one of the New York Times bestselling authors. 


Q&A with the Author (accessed: January 10, 2018).


Bio prepared by Kimberly MacNeill, University of Roehampton, macneilk@roehampton.ac.uk 


Adaptations

Audiobook: English, German, Polish, Swedish

Film: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, 2013, (Fox 2000 Pictures, directed by Thor Freudenthal)


Graphic novel: Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel, Adapted by Robert Venditti, Art by Attila Futaki, 2013, Puffin books.

Translation

Bulgarian: Морето на чудовищата, trans. Владимир Молев, Егмонт България, 2010

Chinese: 妖魔之海, trans. 王心瑩, 遠流出版事業股份有限公司, 2009

Croatian: More čudovišta, trans. Ivan Zorić, Algoritam, 2011

Czech: Moře nestvůr, trans. Dana Chodilová, Fragment, 2010

Danish: Uhyrernes hav, Carlsen, 2010

Dutch: De zee van monsters, trans. Marce Noordenbos, De Boekerij, 2010

Estonian: Koletiste meri, trans. Sash Uusjärv, Pegasus, 2015

Finnish: Hirviöidenmeri, trans. Ilkka Rekiaro, Otava, 2009

French: La Mer des monstres, trans. Mona de Pracontal, Albion Michel, 2010

Georgian: ურჩხულების ზღვა , ბაკურ სულაკაურის გამომცემლობა, 2015

Greek (modern): Η θάλασσα των τεράτων, trans. Αναστασία Λαμπροπούλου, Πάπυρος, 2010y

German: Im Bann des Zyklopen, trans. Gabriele Haefs, Carlsen, 2010

Hebrew: פרסי ג'קסון וים המפלצות, trans. יעל אכמון, publisher גרף הוצאה לאור, 2008

Hungarian: A szörnyek tengere, trans. Acsai Roland, Könyvmolyképző Kiadó Kft, 2012

Indonesian: The Sea of Monsters- Lautan Monster, trans. Nuraini Mastura, Mizan Fantasi, 2009

Italian: Il mare dei mostri, trans. Loredana Baldinucci, Mondadori, 2010

Japanese: 魔海の冒険, trans. 金原 瑞人, ほるぷ出版, 2006

Lithuanian: Persis Džeksonas ir Olimpo dievai. Monstrų jūra, trans. Nomeda Berkuvienė, Obuolys, 2011

Norwegian: Monsterhavet, trans. Torleif Sjøgren-Erichsen, Schibsted Forlag, 2010

Polish: Morze Potworów, trans. Agnieszka Fulińska, Galeria Książki, 2009

Portuguese: O Mar de Monstros, trans. Ricardo Gouveia, Intrínseca, 2009

Romanian: Marea Monștrilor, Arthur, 2014

Russian: Перси Джексон и море чудовищ, Эксмо, Домино, 2013

Slovak: Percy Jackson - More oblúd, trans. Jana Veselá, Fragment, 2010

Spanish: El Mar de Lois Monstruos (Percy Jackson y los dioses del Olimpo 2), trans. Libertad Aguilera Ballester, Salamandra, 2013

Swedish: Monsterhavet , trans. Torun Lidfeldt Bager, Bonnier Carlsen, 2012

Thai: เพอร์ซีย์ แจ็กสัน กับอาถรรพ์ทะเลปีศาจ, trans. ดาวิษ ชาญชัยวานิช, Enter Books, 2010

Turkish: Canavarlar Denizi, trans. Kadir Yiğit Us, Doğan Egmont Yayıncılık, 2013

Ukrainian: Персі Джексон та Море Чудовиськ (Персі Джексон та Олімпійці), trans. І. Є. Бондар-Терещенко, Видавництвo, 2016

Vietnamese: Biển Quái Vật, trans. Nguyễn Lệ Chi, Thời Đại, Chibooks, 2010

Sequels, Prequels and Spin-offs

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief,

Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse, 

Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth, 

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian, 

Percy Jackson: The Demigod Files.

 

The Heroes of Olympus series: 

The Lost Hero, 

The Son of Neptune, 

The Mark of Athena, 

The House of Hades, 

The Blood of Olympus, 

The Demigod Diaries.

 

Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods, 

Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes, 

Percy Jackson: The Ultimate Guide.

Summary

This second book in the Percy Jackson series opens with Percy experiencing a recurring dream about his friend Grover, who is perceived to be in danger. Percy notes that he hasn’t seen Grover since the previous summer’s events; Grover having gone on a quest to locate the missing god Pan. Percy recalls an uneventful year, which he is about to complete without being excluded from school. In the absence of Grover he has also made a new friend, Tyson, a physically strong, but emotionally immature boy who is bullied by Percy’s classmates.

On the final day of term, Percy finds himself playing dodgeball against a team of Laistrygonian giants disguised as teenagers. With help from Tyson and (a previously concealed) Annabeth, he narrowly avoids being killed. Annabeth informs Percy that the pine tree (the transfigured form of Thalia, daughter of Zeus), which provides magical protection for Camp Half-blood, has been poisoned leaving the camp in danger. Percy and Annabeth, along with Tyson, take the Grey Sisters cab to return to camp. On arrival, they find it under attack by a herd of mechanical bulls. The three rush into battle and Tyson once again saves Percy’s life. Percy subsequently discovers that Tyson is in fact an adolescent Cyclops and his half-brother. In addition to the frequent monster attacks on the camp, Chiron, under suspicion of poisoning Thalia’s tree, has been dismissed from his role and replaced by Tantalus (on leave from Tartarus). During a chariot race organised by Tantalus all of the campers are attacked by Stymphalian birds. It is also revealed that the legendary Golden Fleece could save Thalia’s tree, but it is Clarisse (daughter of Ares) not Percy who is chosen to undertake the quest. Subsequently Percy encounters Hermes at the edge of the camp who asks him to defy camp rules and embark on the quest anyway. When Percy agrees, Hermes provides him with supplies and informs Percy that he must board the Princess Andromeda and head to the Sea of Monsters: the location of the fleece. Percy, with Annabeth and Tyson, travels by Hippocampi (sent by Poseidon) to catch up with the ship. Once on board, they discover the apparent ghost shop is actually under the control of Luke in the company of the Laistrygonian giants and several other monsters and ex-residents of Camp Half-blood. After a confrontation, Percy, Annabeth and Tyson jump into a lifeboat and use the flask of winds given to them by Hermes to escape.

Annabeth guides the lifeboat to Chesapeake Bay to a hideout Annabeth used when she was on the run with Luke and Thalia years previously. On a trip to find food during which they encounter the Hydra, they are rescued by Clarisse who has a Confederate steam ship manned by a zombie crew given to her by her father. Percy has another dream about Grover weaving a wedding gown as they reach the Sea of Monsters. A heated meeting between Clarisse and her father is interrupted as the ship is attacked by Charybdis and Scylla. Annabeth and Percy escape the boat as it explodes, but Tyson, who was below decks in the engine room, is missing presumed dead. Dejected, Percy and Annabeth find themselves on Circe’s island; the suspense cumulates with Percy being transformed into a guinea pig. Annabeth rescues Percy using magic vitamins given to them by Hermes, but unwittingly releases the pirate Blackbeard and his crew who were also transformed into guinea pigs. Escaping on the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Percy finds he is naturally gifted at sailing inherently knowing their speed and the direction they must travel to find the fleece. After encountering the Sirens, the pair finally find themselves on the island of the cyclops Polyphemus: the location of both Grover and the Golden Fleece. They also encounter Clarisse who has reached the island and Tyson who was rescued by a hippocampus. Working together, the four escape Polyphemus and take the Fleece (which transforms itself into a sports Letter Jacket), but Percy spares the Polyphemus from both death and further disfigurement. During the escape however, their ship is destroyed and they are once again rescued by the hippocampi who transport them to Miami.

With only enough money for one flight back to camp, Percy gives Clarisse the fleece declaring it is her quest. After she leaves Percy, Annabeth, Grover and Tyson are captured by Luke and taken back aboard the Princess Andromeda. Using the Iris messaging service, they are able to send a message to Chiron and to Camp Half-blood. Luke’s plans are finally revealed to the camp resulting in the exoneration of Chiron. Chiron promptly arrives with his centaur cousins who defeat Luke and rescue the captives and takes them back to Camp Half-blood. He later reveals that Kronos is his father. 

Back at camp, Chiron is reinstated and Tantalus returns to Tartarus. To Percy’s relief Clarisse is already back at camp and the fleece has begun to heal the tree and thus the magical protection is returning. During the celebration for Clarisse’s success on her quest everyone is summoned: it is discovered that the fleece has not only purged the tree of poison, but has restored Thalia to her demigod form. The campers wonder in amazement, whilst Percy realises that it was Luke’s intention that the fleece return Thalia, recalling that Kronos’ plan to return requires a child of the Big Three. 

Analysis

In Percy’s second adventure the author tackles the subject of prejudice: that which is both inherited and as the result of an experience. This is largely expressed through Annabeth’s treatment of Tyson. Her personal reluctance to trust Tyson is due to the belief that her previous capture by Polyphemus resulted ultimately in Thalia’s death. The inhabitants of Camp Half-blood regard Tyson as an inferior being due to his cyclops nature; despite the fact that Poseidon is his father. This is echoed when Percy questions if Tyson could be the one in the prophesy: he is told it is only the offspring from god-human relationships that are considered worthy. Furthermore, despite Tyson’s role in protecting the camp from attacks by both the bulls and the Stymphalian birds, his presence creates unease. It is Clarisse who gains the credit for the triumph instead. The only campers who accept Tyson without prejudice are the House of Hephaestus, who themselves are treated as outcasts due to their father’s disability. They also share mythical heritage with the cyclops, as they work at the god’s forge. 

As in the first novel in the series Riordan interweaves American heritage and cultural reflection points with Greek mythology. In this case, Clarisse’s steam ship is operated by a crew of dead Confederate soldiers and Tyson is described as being afraid of them: a nod to Confederate racism and support of the continuation of slavery. The steam ship itself is named the CSS Birmingham, a fictional ship which is perhaps a reference to the 1963 events in Birmingham, Alabama considered a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement. It is also Tyson’s bravery aboard the ship that finally changes Annabeth’s mind about him. The Sea of Monsters itself is said to have relocated from the Mediterranean and now occupies the area mortals call The Bermuda Triangle. 

The complexities of family and the question of loyalty and duty are a major theme of the book. Hermes assists Percy in his quest asking that in return Percy attempt to change his son Luke’s current path. Luke, feeling abandoned by his own father, has turned his back on the Olympian generation and found a family with his great-grandfather Kronos. Hermes is melancholic about the situation, but maintains that family is something that you cannot escape or give up on. The relationship between Percy and Tyson examines the dynamics between siblings who share only one parent. Initially this echoes Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Percy, like Georg,e feels protective of Tyson, who is physically strong, but emotionally adolescent, whilst at the same time feeling embarrassed and encumbered by him. However, unlike Lenny, by the end of the novel, Tyson has found his independence and leaves Percy with a magical shield for protection. This is perhaps a reference to the protection that family offers even in its absence. In the story, Percy shows loyalty to both his friends (in the rescue of Grover) and to his teacher (by clearing Chiron’s name). Chiron himself has a difficult relationship with his own family as he finds their wild nature embarrassing compared to his own learned ways. However, during his dismissal, he returns to his family and they assist him in rescuing Percy and the others at the end of the story. Furthermore, it is Chiron’s relationship with Kronos, as his son, which causes suspicion to fall on him for the crime of poisoning Thalia’s tree. 

The overarching quest in the book is the quest for the Golden Fleece. In his own quest, Percy experiences many of the same hindrances as Jason, but also Odysseus, for example, Circe and the Sirens. Percy has already begun to establish himself as a different type of hero in the first book and continues to the same effect. He has already satisfied more of the heroic criteria than Jason as Percy previously descended to the Underworld whereas Jason chose to avoid it in his own quest. The inclusion of Odysseus in addition to Jason furthers the undertone of the importance of family. Odysseus faces many hardships in order to return to his family and is rewarded with their loyalty and love. In contrast, Jason ultimately abandons his family which results in the death of his children. Percy’s act of compassion (leaving Polyphemus unharmed) demonstrates his difference from previous heroes and a recognition that the cyclops is also his brother, furthering the motif that though they might be difficult, family are always family. Percy further rejects the path of the glorious hero by giving Clarisse the opportunity to be victorious, allowing her to return with the fleece rather than himself. Although this does not fully heal the rift between them, Clarisse is notably less hostile on Percy’s return to the camp. The transformation of the Golden Fleece into the Letterman jacket once again combines Greek mythology with Americana as the jacket is also something which must be won through athletic prowess and dedication.

The motif of memory recurs throughout the book. For instance, the memory of Odysseus’ travels and his defeat of the monsters enable the trio to navigate their own quest. Though for Tyson this is paradoxical, as whilst he is repeatedly saved by the Hippocampi, the mythical creatures, when considering its homograph, in a neurological context, it is the memory of the crimes of the other Cyclops which hinder his acceptance and progress.

The notion that skills learnt in the classroom are transferable to the outside world continues as in the beginning of the book Percy is studying longitude and latitude for a class and is later seen using the same skills to navigate a ship. 


Further Reading

Paul, Joanna. "Percy Jackson and Myth-making in the Twenty‐First Century." In A Handbook to the Reception of Classical Mythology, pp. 231 - 242.

Roisman, Hanna. “The Odyssey from Homer to NBC: The Cyclops and the Gods.” In A Companion to Classical Receptions, pp. 315 - 326.

Yellow cloud
Leaf pattern
Leaf pattern

Title of the work

Percy Jackson & The Olympians (Series, Book 2): The Sea of Monsters

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Worldwide

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2006

First Edition Details

Rick Riordan. Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Sea of Monsters. New York City: Disney Hyperion, 2006, 279 pp.

ISBN

9780141319148

Official Website

rickriordan.co.uk (accessed: July 12, 2018)

Awards

BookSense Top Ten Summer Pick in 2006; 

Child Magazine, Best Book in 2006; 

Kirkus Reviews Best Fantasy Sequel in 2006; 

Barnes and Noble Best Children’s Book in 2006;

VOYA Top Shelf Fiction Pick for Middle School  Readers in 2006; 

CCBC Choice award; YALSA Best Book for Young Adults in 2007.

Genre

Action and adventure fiction
Alternative histories (Fiction)
Fantasy fiction
Mythological fiction
Novels

Target Audience

Crossover (Aimed at ages 9+)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Kimberly MacNeill, University of Roehampton, macneilk@roehampton.ac.uk 

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, s.deacy@roehampton.ac.uk 

Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, elzbieta.olechowska@gmail.com 

Male portrait

Rick Riordan (Author)

Rick Riordan previously taught History and English at middle school in the American education system. He began writing mystery novels for adult readers before creating the Percy Jackson series, which began as a bedtime story for his son. Prior to Percy Jackson, his adult crime novels the Tres Navarre series received numerous nominations and awards. Most notably the final novel in the series, Rebel Island, won the Anthony Award, Shamus Award and The Edgar Allan Poe Award – the "big three" of the mystery genre. Though it is through the success of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and its subsequent purchase by Disney which has led Riordan to leave teaching to pursue writing as a full-time career. He is now one of the New York Times bestselling authors. 


Q&A with the Author (accessed: January 10, 2018).


Bio prepared by Kimberly MacNeill, University of Roehampton, macneilk@roehampton.ac.uk 


Adaptations

Audiobook: English, German, Polish, Swedish

Film: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, 2013, (Fox 2000 Pictures, directed by Thor Freudenthal)


Graphic novel: Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel, Adapted by Robert Venditti, Art by Attila Futaki, 2013, Puffin books.

Translation

Bulgarian: Морето на чудовищата, trans. Владимир Молев, Егмонт България, 2010

Chinese: 妖魔之海, trans. 王心瑩, 遠流出版事業股份有限公司, 2009

Croatian: More čudovišta, trans. Ivan Zorić, Algoritam, 2011

Czech: Moře nestvůr, trans. Dana Chodilová, Fragment, 2010

Danish: Uhyrernes hav, Carlsen, 2010

Dutch: De zee van monsters, trans. Marce Noordenbos, De Boekerij, 2010

Estonian: Koletiste meri, trans. Sash Uusjärv, Pegasus, 2015

Finnish: Hirviöidenmeri, trans. Ilkka Rekiaro, Otava, 2009

French: La Mer des monstres, trans. Mona de Pracontal, Albion Michel, 2010

Georgian: ურჩხულების ზღვა , ბაკურ სულაკაურის გამომცემლობა, 2015

Greek (modern): Η θάλασσα των τεράτων, trans. Αναστασία Λαμπροπούλου, Πάπυρος, 2010y

German: Im Bann des Zyklopen, trans. Gabriele Haefs, Carlsen, 2010

Hebrew: פרסי ג'קסון וים המפלצות, trans. יעל אכמון, publisher גרף הוצאה לאור, 2008

Hungarian: A szörnyek tengere, trans. Acsai Roland, Könyvmolyképző Kiadó Kft, 2012

Indonesian: The Sea of Monsters- Lautan Monster, trans. Nuraini Mastura, Mizan Fantasi, 2009

Italian: Il mare dei mostri, trans. Loredana Baldinucci, Mondadori, 2010

Japanese: 魔海の冒険, trans. 金原 瑞人, ほるぷ出版, 2006

Lithuanian: Persis Džeksonas ir Olimpo dievai. Monstrų jūra, trans. Nomeda Berkuvienė, Obuolys, 2011

Norwegian: Monsterhavet, trans. Torleif Sjøgren-Erichsen, Schibsted Forlag, 2010

Polish: Morze Potworów, trans. Agnieszka Fulińska, Galeria Książki, 2009

Portuguese: O Mar de Monstros, trans. Ricardo Gouveia, Intrínseca, 2009

Romanian: Marea Monștrilor, Arthur, 2014

Russian: Перси Джексон и море чудовищ, Эксмо, Домино, 2013

Slovak: Percy Jackson - More oblúd, trans. Jana Veselá, Fragment, 2010

Spanish: El Mar de Lois Monstruos (Percy Jackson y los dioses del Olimpo 2), trans. Libertad Aguilera Ballester, Salamandra, 2013

Swedish: Monsterhavet , trans. Torun Lidfeldt Bager, Bonnier Carlsen, 2012

Thai: เพอร์ซีย์ แจ็กสัน กับอาถรรพ์ทะเลปีศาจ, trans. ดาวิษ ชาญชัยวานิช, Enter Books, 2010

Turkish: Canavarlar Denizi, trans. Kadir Yiğit Us, Doğan Egmont Yayıncılık, 2013

Ukrainian: Персі Джексон та Море Чудовиськ (Персі Джексон та Олімпійці), trans. І. Є. Бондар-Терещенко, Видавництвo, 2016

Vietnamese: Biển Quái Vật, trans. Nguyễn Lệ Chi, Thời Đại, Chibooks, 2010

Sequels, Prequels and Spin-offs

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief,

Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse, 

Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth, 

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian, 

Percy Jackson: The Demigod Files.

 

The Heroes of Olympus series: 

The Lost Hero, 

The Son of Neptune, 

The Mark of Athena, 

The House of Hades, 

The Blood of Olympus, 

The Demigod Diaries.

 

Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods, 

Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes, 

Percy Jackson: The Ultimate Guide.

Summary

This second book in the Percy Jackson series opens with Percy experiencing a recurring dream about his friend Grover, who is perceived to be in danger. Percy notes that he hasn’t seen Grover since the previous summer’s events; Grover having gone on a quest to locate the missing god Pan. Percy recalls an uneventful year, which he is about to complete without being excluded from school. In the absence of Grover he has also made a new friend, Tyson, a physically strong, but emotionally immature boy who is bullied by Percy’s classmates.

On the final day of term, Percy finds himself playing dodgeball against a team of Laistrygonian giants disguised as teenagers. With help from Tyson and (a previously concealed) Annabeth, he narrowly avoids being killed. Annabeth informs Percy that the pine tree (the transfigured form of Thalia, daughter of Zeus), which provides magical protection for Camp Half-blood, has been poisoned leaving the camp in danger. Percy and Annabeth, along with Tyson, take the Grey Sisters cab to return to camp. On arrival, they find it under attack by a herd of mechanical bulls. The three rush into battle and Tyson once again saves Percy’s life. Percy subsequently discovers that Tyson is in fact an adolescent Cyclops and his half-brother. In addition to the frequent monster attacks on the camp, Chiron, under suspicion of poisoning Thalia’s tree, has been dismissed from his role and replaced by Tantalus (on leave from Tartarus). During a chariot race organised by Tantalus all of the campers are attacked by Stymphalian birds. It is also revealed that the legendary Golden Fleece could save Thalia’s tree, but it is Clarisse (daughter of Ares) not Percy who is chosen to undertake the quest. Subsequently Percy encounters Hermes at the edge of the camp who asks him to defy camp rules and embark on the quest anyway. When Percy agrees, Hermes provides him with supplies and informs Percy that he must board the Princess Andromeda and head to the Sea of Monsters: the location of the fleece. Percy, with Annabeth and Tyson, travels by Hippocampi (sent by Poseidon) to catch up with the ship. Once on board, they discover the apparent ghost shop is actually under the control of Luke in the company of the Laistrygonian giants and several other monsters and ex-residents of Camp Half-blood. After a confrontation, Percy, Annabeth and Tyson jump into a lifeboat and use the flask of winds given to them by Hermes to escape.

Annabeth guides the lifeboat to Chesapeake Bay to a hideout Annabeth used when she was on the run with Luke and Thalia years previously. On a trip to find food during which they encounter the Hydra, they are rescued by Clarisse who has a Confederate steam ship manned by a zombie crew given to her by her father. Percy has another dream about Grover weaving a wedding gown as they reach the Sea of Monsters. A heated meeting between Clarisse and her father is interrupted as the ship is attacked by Charybdis and Scylla. Annabeth and Percy escape the boat as it explodes, but Tyson, who was below decks in the engine room, is missing presumed dead. Dejected, Percy and Annabeth find themselves on Circe’s island; the suspense cumulates with Percy being transformed into a guinea pig. Annabeth rescues Percy using magic vitamins given to them by Hermes, but unwittingly releases the pirate Blackbeard and his crew who were also transformed into guinea pigs. Escaping on the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Percy finds he is naturally gifted at sailing inherently knowing their speed and the direction they must travel to find the fleece. After encountering the Sirens, the pair finally find themselves on the island of the cyclops Polyphemus: the location of both Grover and the Golden Fleece. They also encounter Clarisse who has reached the island and Tyson who was rescued by a hippocampus. Working together, the four escape Polyphemus and take the Fleece (which transforms itself into a sports Letter Jacket), but Percy spares the Polyphemus from both death and further disfigurement. During the escape however, their ship is destroyed and they are once again rescued by the hippocampi who transport them to Miami.

With only enough money for one flight back to camp, Percy gives Clarisse the fleece declaring it is her quest. After she leaves Percy, Annabeth, Grover and Tyson are captured by Luke and taken back aboard the Princess Andromeda. Using the Iris messaging service, they are able to send a message to Chiron and to Camp Half-blood. Luke’s plans are finally revealed to the camp resulting in the exoneration of Chiron. Chiron promptly arrives with his centaur cousins who defeat Luke and rescue the captives and takes them back to Camp Half-blood. He later reveals that Kronos is his father. 

Back at camp, Chiron is reinstated and Tantalus returns to Tartarus. To Percy’s relief Clarisse is already back at camp and the fleece has begun to heal the tree and thus the magical protection is returning. During the celebration for Clarisse’s success on her quest everyone is summoned: it is discovered that the fleece has not only purged the tree of poison, but has restored Thalia to her demigod form. The campers wonder in amazement, whilst Percy realises that it was Luke’s intention that the fleece return Thalia, recalling that Kronos’ plan to return requires a child of the Big Three. 

Analysis

In Percy’s second adventure the author tackles the subject of prejudice: that which is both inherited and as the result of an experience. This is largely expressed through Annabeth’s treatment of Tyson. Her personal reluctance to trust Tyson is due to the belief that her previous capture by Polyphemus resulted ultimately in Thalia’s death. The inhabitants of Camp Half-blood regard Tyson as an inferior being due to his cyclops nature; despite the fact that Poseidon is his father. This is echoed when Percy questions if Tyson could be the one in the prophesy: he is told it is only the offspring from god-human relationships that are considered worthy. Furthermore, despite Tyson’s role in protecting the camp from attacks by both the bulls and the Stymphalian birds, his presence creates unease. It is Clarisse who gains the credit for the triumph instead. The only campers who accept Tyson without prejudice are the House of Hephaestus, who themselves are treated as outcasts due to their father’s disability. They also share mythical heritage with the cyclops, as they work at the god’s forge. 

As in the first novel in the series Riordan interweaves American heritage and cultural reflection points with Greek mythology. In this case, Clarisse’s steam ship is operated by a crew of dead Confederate soldiers and Tyson is described as being afraid of them: a nod to Confederate racism and support of the continuation of slavery. The steam ship itself is named the CSS Birmingham, a fictional ship which is perhaps a reference to the 1963 events in Birmingham, Alabama considered a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement. It is also Tyson’s bravery aboard the ship that finally changes Annabeth’s mind about him. The Sea of Monsters itself is said to have relocated from the Mediterranean and now occupies the area mortals call The Bermuda Triangle. 

The complexities of family and the question of loyalty and duty are a major theme of the book. Hermes assists Percy in his quest asking that in return Percy attempt to change his son Luke’s current path. Luke, feeling abandoned by his own father, has turned his back on the Olympian generation and found a family with his great-grandfather Kronos. Hermes is melancholic about the situation, but maintains that family is something that you cannot escape or give up on. The relationship between Percy and Tyson examines the dynamics between siblings who share only one parent. Initially this echoes Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Percy, like Georg,e feels protective of Tyson, who is physically strong, but emotionally adolescent, whilst at the same time feeling embarrassed and encumbered by him. However, unlike Lenny, by the end of the novel, Tyson has found his independence and leaves Percy with a magical shield for protection. This is perhaps a reference to the protection that family offers even in its absence. In the story, Percy shows loyalty to both his friends (in the rescue of Grover) and to his teacher (by clearing Chiron’s name). Chiron himself has a difficult relationship with his own family as he finds their wild nature embarrassing compared to his own learned ways. However, during his dismissal, he returns to his family and they assist him in rescuing Percy and the others at the end of the story. Furthermore, it is Chiron’s relationship with Kronos, as his son, which causes suspicion to fall on him for the crime of poisoning Thalia’s tree. 

The overarching quest in the book is the quest for the Golden Fleece. In his own quest, Percy experiences many of the same hindrances as Jason, but also Odysseus, for example, Circe and the Sirens. Percy has already begun to establish himself as a different type of hero in the first book and continues to the same effect. He has already satisfied more of the heroic criteria than Jason as Percy previously descended to the Underworld whereas Jason chose to avoid it in his own quest. The inclusion of Odysseus in addition to Jason furthers the undertone of the importance of family. Odysseus faces many hardships in order to return to his family and is rewarded with their loyalty and love. In contrast, Jason ultimately abandons his family which results in the death of his children. Percy’s act of compassion (leaving Polyphemus unharmed) demonstrates his difference from previous heroes and a recognition that the cyclops is also his brother, furthering the motif that though they might be difficult, family are always family. Percy further rejects the path of the glorious hero by giving Clarisse the opportunity to be victorious, allowing her to return with the fleece rather than himself. Although this does not fully heal the rift between them, Clarisse is notably less hostile on Percy’s return to the camp. The transformation of the Golden Fleece into the Letterman jacket once again combines Greek mythology with Americana as the jacket is also something which must be won through athletic prowess and dedication.

The motif of memory recurs throughout the book. For instance, the memory of Odysseus’ travels and his defeat of the monsters enable the trio to navigate their own quest. Though for Tyson this is paradoxical, as whilst he is repeatedly saved by the Hippocampi, the mythical creatures, when considering its homograph, in a neurological context, it is the memory of the crimes of the other Cyclops which hinder his acceptance and progress.

The notion that skills learnt in the classroom are transferable to the outside world continues as in the beginning of the book Percy is studying longitude and latitude for a class and is later seen using the same skills to navigate a ship. 


Further Reading

Paul, Joanna. "Percy Jackson and Myth-making in the Twenty‐First Century." In A Handbook to the Reception of Classical Mythology, pp. 231 - 242.

Roisman, Hanna. “The Odyssey from Homer to NBC: The Cyclops and the Gods.” In A Companion to Classical Receptions, pp. 315 - 326.

Yellow cloud