The third instalment of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series was a lot to unpack… in the good way. Returning to Camp Half-Blood we pick up off book two’s monster sized cliff hanger in the semi resurrection of the daughter of Zeus, Thalia Grace.
For those of you who’ve been paying attention so far you’ll notice that her addition to the story removes Percy from the spotlight of his own series, not that you’d be upset to be relieved of a deadly prophecy. Though the titular character can’t help but insert himself into a quest where he is not required, foreshadowing the end of the book where the question of who will bear the responsibility of the prophecy is answered.
The standout theme in this book, which ultimately cements Rick Riordan as one of this generations champions among the young adult book world is relatability. Despite the supernatural qualities the characters possess he still manages to write them in a way that incites inclusitivity. And just to make sure everyone gets their fair share he plants the seed for a non powered character in Rachel Elizabeth Dare. On top of that he introduces the character Nico di Angelo who will act as the spearhead of this movement in later books, but more on that later…
Progressing the themes of the book with the growing audience who’d been reading since book one, Riordan explores his main character’s romantic life, twisting a knife in both his and our hearts at the thought that Annabeth may leave Percy and Camp Half-Blood at the end of the book.
One thing the series had lacked up until this book was death for our heroes, and perhaps this was a conscious decision for Riordan knowing his audience would grow with the book so he bid his time before dancing with lady death. As per usual he did not disappoint. As if to prove he’s a master of character development and understanding his reader’s, Riordan inserts two new characters only to kill them both to incite different forms of grief fo the reader’s. (SPOILER ALERT) Zoe Nightshade’s death is a sad one as we are given this strong cool character who you grow to love through the book only for her to make the ultimate sacrifice to save Percy and co. Whereas Bianca di Angelo’s death incites a different level of grief. Though she died a hero she only played a small role in the book. Her death is only greatly felt through Percy’s guilt and Nico’s grief, bringing in second hand grief for the reader’s. Not to mention this led to the reveal of Nico’s parentage as well as setting the path he and Percy would walk for the remainder of the series.
All in all Riordan has credited himself with another great book in The Titan’s Curse. He developed the characters marvellously and progressed the book quite nicely for the audience, leaning into slightly more mature themes all while laying the ground work for the final two books in the series.
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Percy Jackson and the Olympians
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If you like the Rick Riordan books then you’ll love The Lost Artefacts series.
Runner up in the 2021 TCK Publishing Reader’s Choice Awards!