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This book I read because, well, it’s popular and I was curious, but mainly because one of my sisters-in-law (shoutout to Rach!) loves the series. And I do enjoy mythology, so why not?

So, the story was pretty fun. It was interesting to put Greek mythology into modern American civilization (such as, Mt. Olympus is located above the Empire State Building, and the underworld is beneath L.A.). I was intrigued by the idea that the gods move their locations according to Western civ.

But I was disappointed to find how much of the story was predictable. You know Percy is going to live to see Camp Half-Blood; you know he’s going to get a quest; once you find out he has to go to the underworld, you know that 1) despite the stats that almost no one makes it out alive, he will, and 2) he won’t find what he’s looking for there (and really, with meeting his mom there? Just repeating mythological stories, here…); I even knew the entire time who would betray Percy, according to the prophecy.

The other aspect of the story that I didn’t like was that it took everyone so long to realize what was going on with every mythological situation/monster they encountered. I can excuse Percy, because he’s (as far as we know) only been studying mythology a little bit for one year. But Grover and Annabeth? Annabeth has been at Camp Half-Blood for 5 years, and Grover, well, who knows how long – a long time! Although I know a good bit of mythology, I wouldn’t consider myself an expert or anything. And I was always sitting there like, “Come on guys, this is so obvious.” I even recognized Procrustes before they did, and that’s a story I just heard for the first time this year

I will admit that I didn’t know the final analysis – who was ultimately responsible for the theft and dispute – ahead of time. That was a nice bit of refreshing surprise.

In other things I liked, these two quotes:

  • In the middle of a very serious and tense conversation, Percy suddenly remembers to tell Hades, “Charon wants a pay raise.” Hades responds: “Don’t get me started on Charon! He’s been impossible ever since he discovered Italian suits.” I laughed for such a long time over this.
  • And then, a serious one: “You will see things just as they are, being a half-blood. But humans will interpret things quite differently. Remarkable, really, the lengths to which humans will go to fit things into their version of reality.” This is so sadly true – mythology aside.

So, I guess I had mixed feelings about the book. It was certainly entertaining, but I didn’t find it exceptionally original. (And perhaps I’m too focused on the fact that almost nothing surprised me, but if so, that’s because I’ve recently read several books that totally shocked me with where they ended up: e.g., see Aristotle & Dante.)

I may pick up the next one; I may not. We shall see.