The Sea of Monsters is Book 2 in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. To review this book, I need to refer to the first book in the series: The Lightning Thief.
In this series, Rick Riordan takes gods, demigods, and monsters from Greek mythology and places them in a completely different setting than we're used to finding them: the United States of America in modern time.
What I like about the books: I am learning Greek mythology. What I don't like about the books: 1) As an English teacher, I disprove of the grammar use. Percy tells us the stories, and he speaks incorrectly (e.g. Annabeth and me hopped on the chariot), 2) They have so much potential to be good literature, but they fall short, 3) They are slow reads. I kept checking to see how much more I had to read. Reading them felt more like an assignment than an enjoyable experience. However, mythology is not a favorite genre of mine, I admit!
Beliefs in the story include: 1) The Greek gods are real. They are alive. And by the way, they procreate with humans to create demigods such as the main character, Percy Jackson. 2) The entrance to Hades is in a recording studio in Hollywood. 3) There is a camp in NYC for demigod children, a place where they train to fight monsters and worse enemies. 4) A "mist" keeps humans from understanding what they see when it comes to encounters with these supernaturals.
On Riordan's website he addresses the issue of learning about Greek mythology. Here is a quote from his interview:
In Western Civilization, we’ve always had an uneasy mix between Classical mythology and Judeo-Christian values. As a culture, we tend to believe in one God, but we also grow up steeped in these wonderful old stories about the Olympians. As long as we recognize them as stories that are part of our heritage and long-since stopped being any kind of serious religion, I don’t see the harm in learning mythology (emphasis mine). If fact, I think you have to know Greek myths to understand where our modern culture came from. It’s part of being an educated member of society.
Click here for the rest of what he had to say.