Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Book 3: Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

Book 2:
The Titan’s Curse, Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson has been fighting monsters and searching for half-bloods with his friends Annabeth and Thalia since The Sea of Monsters ended. Grover has found two siblings – Bianca and Nico di Angelo – at a school, and in the ensuing battle against a manticore, Annabeth gets taken. The goddess Artemis arrives with her Hunters, and Percy’s next adventure begins with the search for Annabeth and the goal to save Artemis before the Olympian Council at the winter solstice. Grover and Thalia go on a quest with a Hunter named Zoe and Bianca, who has also joined the Hunters. After some adventures, Percy officially joins them, and they race across the country to San Francisco to stop the most recent component of Kronos’ plan to return. By the end of their journey, Bianca has been lost and Zoe has been killed, but both Annabeth and Artemis have been rescued. They have also learned that one of the children born of Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon will sacrifice the Ophiotaurus at the age of 16 and will start the war among the gods. Thalia – daughter of Zeus and one day away from her sixteenth birthday – chooses to join the Hunters and take Zoe’s place as Artemis’ lieutenant, thus becoming immortal. This leaves Percy as the only child of the Big Three able to turn sixteen and the only one thus able to fulfill the prophecy – other than Nico di Angelo, who Percy learns is the son of Hades.

Use of myths:
This book continues the series of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and therefore is completely full of mythology and the various literary components that go along with it. The largest part of myths present is that the Greek gods themselves regularly make appearances, and the main characters are either mythological creatures themselves or descended from them. Beyond that, the hero’s journey applies to the series at large, as well as the individual novels. This certainly applies to The Titan’s Curse. The majority of the journey remains, missing only the transformation. Percy goes through a transformation throughout the series, and the component of it in this book is his realization of the prevalence of his feelings for Annabeth.

Call to Adventure
Annabeth’s capture
Supernatural Aid
Artemis and her Hunters arrive
Threshold Guardian(s)
Mr. D.
Thalia, Grover, Zoe, and Bianca leave on the quest; Percy is not allowed to join them
Acquires a helper
Percy rescues the Ophiotaurus and names it Bessie, thus starting a good relationship with it
Acquires a mentor
Percy officially meets up with the group from Camp Half-Blood; Thalia, Zoe, and Grover serve as his mentors
Experiences challenges and temptations
Journey across country
Meets another helper
Percy meets Rachel Elizabeth Dare, a mortal who saves him at the Hoover Dam
Has a great revelation at the abyss (death/rebirth)
Percy meets, fights, and talks to Nereus, and learns that the great monster that could bring an end to the gods is Bessie.
Percy carries the sky
Receives the gift of the Goddess
At the Olympian Council, the gods vote not to kill Percy even though he has the potential to lead to their demise. Thalia joins the Hunters.
Nico is a son of Hades, so it does not necessarily mean that the prophecy will apply to Percy

As for archetypes, most of them remain the same from the previous book. Percy is the hero, and Kronos the villain. Thalia serves as the father figure, as she leads and protects the others, while Zoe’s guiding places her as the mother figure. Percy remains the underdog, as he still fights for respect from the gods.

This book connects to the previous one in that it is of the same series. Beyond that, it contains some of the same characters and settings. These include Greek gods, goddesses, and locations – Dionysus, Poseidon, and Mount Olympus – as well as demigods (half-bloods) created by Riordan. As a whole, this book further illustrates the history of the gods of Mount Olympus as well as how their powers and relationships might play a role in today’s world. This can help students better understand these myths, and thus better appreciate the presence of mythology in other books they read.

Like the other Percy Jackson books, I find myself drawn to the story, the use of mythology, and the characters. Percy’s voice is especially strong, and, now that I have read three of the books in the series, I can see significant character growth in him. Riordan doesn’t have Percy change over night – he grows as a young adult gradually, and with setbacks, like a real person. He is still flawed, but less so than he was at the start of the series. This is one of those books that you breeze through without even realizing it, and wish that it wouldn’t end.

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