Title: The Titan’s Curse
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Book #3)
ISBN: 9781423101482
Pages: 312 pages
Publisher/Date: Disney Hyperion Books, c2007.

“No!” Annabeth yelled, and she charged at the monster.
“Get back, half-blood!” the girl with the circlet said. “Get out of the line of fire!”
But Annabeth leaped onto the monster’s back and drove her knife into his mane. The manticore howled, turning in circles with his tail flailing as Annabeth hung on for dear life.
“Fire!” Zoe ordered.
“No!” I screamed.
But the Hunters let etheir arrows fly. The first caught the manticore in the neck. Another hit his chest. The manticore staggered backward, wailing, “This is not the end, Huntress! You shall pay!”
And before anyone could react, the monster, with Annabeth still on his back, leaped over the cliff and turmbled into the darkness.
“Annabeth!” I yelled. (26)

Annabeth, Percy, and the newly restored Thalia head off to help Grover, who has discovered not one but two new half-bloods in a remote school. Upon arrival they enter into combat with a manticore, who forces Annabeth over the cliff. She isn’t the only one who is missing, as Percy, Grover, Thalia, and the Hunters head out in search of a kidnapped goddess. But Percy’s dreams plague him with visions that they’re walking straight into a trap, one which not everyone is going to survive.

Rick Riordan has continued the high-octane adventure that he started with The Lightning Thief and The Sea of Monsters. Some romance might be blooming for Percy, and we’ll have to see how that progresses as I have mixed feelings about these developments. Now that most of the big twelve have had interaction with Percy, Riordan is moving on to more obscure myths, like Talos, the Garden of Hesperides, and Ophiotaurus (which I had never heard of). And because Percy is such a newbie to this whole concept that myths are real, the pace of the book is not slowed down by the exasberated demi-gods explaining everything to him and the readers. I like how Riordan takes a cue from Homer and does not describe Aphrodite. Percy says that “Thinking back on it, I can’t tell you who she looked like. Or even what color her hair or her eyes were. Pick the most beautiful actress you can think of. The goddess was ten times more beautiful than that. Pick your favorite hair color, eye color, whatever. The goddess had that.” (185)

I think Riordan had a little too much fun with when the group ends up visiting the Hoover Dam.

“Let us find the dam snack bar,” Zoe said. […]
“I could use some dam french fries.”
Even Thalia smiled at that. “And I need to use the dam restroom.” […]
“I want to use the dam water fountain,” Grover said.
“And . . .” Thalia tried to catch her breath. “I want to buy a dam T-shirt.” (208)

Younger readers might not get the joke, or might start using the word inappropriately, but middle schoolers will certainly find the humor. He also does a great job incorporating Annabeth into this scene, even if she’s not physically present, with the gang spouting off statistics that they have learned through Annabeth. Annabeth’s parents all make an appearance, and although her father and step-mother are not quite what I expected. To be fair, I’m not sure what I expected, but her father’s role in the final battle make up for my surprise.

I think I also appreciate the fact that even thougth there is this prophecy that might pertain to Percy, which I can’t help comparing to Harry Potter’s prophecy, it’s very open as to what exactly will end up happening. With Thalia present, there was the possibility that Percy wasn’t the “chosen one”. Even by the end of the book, Riordan has worked it out that there’s still no certainty when it comes to these things, with one big surprise at the end.

The one complaint that I have is that a lot of the plot and information is revealed in dreams and prophecies, and it takes a lot of the guess work out of Percy’s quest. I think I would have enjoyed it more if Percy and the gang would have had to investigate these events a little more. All in all, a good plot, a solid addition to the series, and a resounding lead off for the next book. I feel certain (and it’s not just becuase I read the sneak peek in the back of the book) that Rachel Elizabeth Dare is going to play a bigger role in the adventure. Did anyone else notice that her initials spell RED, which is the color of her hair?