Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
312 pages

The Titan's Curse is the third epic installment of the Percy Jackson series. The book opens with Percy's mom driving Annabeth, Thalia and Percy to a boarding school in Maine after Grover sends a distress signal. They arrive at Westover Hall and are confronted by school authorities Dr. Thorn and Ms. Gottschalk who ask them what they're doing here. Thalia uses the Mist to trick them, although Percy is skeptical that it worked on Dr. Thorn. Grover comes and tells them that he's found two new half-blood siblings named Bianca and Nico Di Angelo that he's been trying to contact. They enter the school dance and see Bianca and Nico seated on the benches. Grover and Thalia start dancing together to blend in, while Percy and Annabeth follow suit. Bianca and Nico suddenly disappear causing panic amongst the group. Percy is unable to find his friends after they split up and he decides to find Bianca and Nico by himself.

Percy finds the Di Angelos in the hallway looking petrified. Percy takes out his sword Riptide, but he is shot with a poisoned spike by Dr. Thorn. Dr. Thorn tells Percy and the Di Angelos to follow him. They walk to a mountain cliff where Dr. Thorn turns into his true monster form, a manticore. Thalia, Grover, and Annabeth arrive and they all attempt to fight the manticore. It appears that they are being overwhelmed when the goddess Artemis and her Hunters show up and start shooting the manticore. He jumps over the cliff, but Annabeth is on his back after attacking him in the battle. Percy frantically tries to run after her, but is prevented by Artemis. The Hunters invite Bianca to join them and she accepts. Percy tells Artemis that Dr. Thorn mentioned someone named the General and talked about the Great Stirring and a monster that will bring about the downfall of Olympus. Artemis says she is going to hunt down the monster and that her Hunters must go to Camp Half-Blood until she returns. Artemis calls her twin brother Apollo who lets Percy, Thalia, Grover and the Hunters use his sun chariot as a ride to the camp.
Percy has a dream about Annabeth being in a dark place. She witnesses Luke being crushed by a large object and Luke asks her to take the weight off him or he'll die. Annabeth hesitates, but takes the weight from him. Annabeth gets trapped under the weight and screams in pain. When Percy wakes up he is troubled and goes to see if the Oracle can tell him anything about it. The Oracle remains silent. While the campers play Capture the Flag they are all stunned when they see the mummified body that contains the Oracle approaching them. The Oracle states a prophesy to the Hunters lieutenant Zoe Nightshade. She reveals that five campers will go west to find Artemis, one will perish by a parent's hand, another will be lost in the land without rain, and another must withstand the Titan's curse. After a brief meeting with Chiron and Dionysus, three Hunters including Zoe, Phoebe, and Bianca, and two campers, Thalia and Grover are chosen to go. Percy is furious and anxious to rescue Annabeth, but he is not accepted for the quest. Grover tells Percy that he overheard Zoe tell another Hunter about Artemis being in trouble. Percy has a dream that Artemis takes the weight from Annabeth and is in chains. The General says that Annabeth will be kept prisoner until the winter solstice, then she will be killed.
Just before the quest members set out on their journey Percy is informed by the pegasus Blackjack that an ocean friend needs help. Percy goes under the sea to free a baby cow serpent from its trap. He names it Bessie, but the hippocampi tell him that they don't know what it is. When Percy goes back to camp he sees Nico spying on Zoe telling Bianca that Phoebe has been poisoned with the hives by campers and she can't go on the quest. Nico asks Percy to follow them and promise to protect his sister. Percy decides to go and uses Annabeth's invisible cap while flying on Blackjack as he follows the quest vehicle. He sees that  Dr. Thorn and his henchman are trailing them. At a stop in Washington D.C. Percy sneaks behind Dr. Thorn to spy on him. Percy witnesses a meeting with the General and Luke where they plan to destroy Zoe and her company using indestructible skeleton zombies. Percy intervenes before the skeletons can sniff Zoe's scent from a sash, but his clothing is ripped and his scent is marked instead. He barely escapes in time to warn Zoe and Thalia at the National Air and Space Museum. They are unexpectedly attacked by the giant Nemean lion, which Percy manages to defeat using nasty space food. The group goes on the run with Percy becoming the official fifth member of the quest.
After they reach a sparsely populated ski town with some undercover help from Apollo, Grover is in a daze because he believes he has a brief encounter with the Lord of the Wild, Pan. They subdue a giant wild boar that takes them to the desert. They pass through Hephaestus's junk yard. One of Hephaestus's creations, Talos, comes to life and tries to destroy them after Bianca steals a toy statue of Hades to give to Nico. Bianca goes inside Talos to help the others escape, but Talos falls into pieces.  The rest of the group search for hours for Bianca, but they can't find her. The survivors sullenly proceed west until they reach the Hoover Dam. At the dam Percy is tracked down by the skeleton warriors. They manage to flee with a desperate request to Zeus, who awakens angel statues that fly them to San Francisco. In San Francisco Percy wrestles with the wise man of the sea Nereus to get information. Nereus tells Percy that the dangerous monster that can bring down Olympus is Bessie. Bessie is an ancient mythical creature called the Ophiotaurus. Dr. Thorn arrives with his cronies and is about to kill them, but Dionysus saves them. The quest members go to Annabeth's dad's house and ask him for transportation to get to the Mountain of Despair. Annabeth's dad lets them borrow his car. They reach the mountain, but have to pass a deadly dragon named Ladon to reach Artemis. Once they get past Ladon, they meet the General, who turns out to be Zoe's father. The General is the titan cursed to hold up the sky that Annabeth held and Artemis is holding.
A battle breaks out and Thalia fights with Luke as Percy takes on the General. Percy knows he can't beat the General so he takes the sky from Artemis. Percy suffers from excruciating pain until Artemis sets the General up to get placed under the sky again. Thalia knocks Luke over a cliff and they leave the Mountain of Despair on Annabeth's dad's plane, who comes to rescue them. Zoe is fatally wounded by her father and says goodbye to everyone. Thalia, Annabeth and Grover appear before the gods on Mount Olympus and the gods decide to celebrate the heroes and protect Bessie from Krono's supporters. Thalia joins the Hunters, making Percy the hero of the prophecy about the fate of Olympus. When Percy goes back to camp he has to tell Nico that his sister is gone. Nico is furious and runs away during their confrontation. Percy realizes that Nico is a son of Hades. He tells Grover and Annabeth and they all decide to keep it a secret. The book ends with the cliffhanger of Grover informing campers that he heard the voice of Pan saying to him "I await you."

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