I wasn't planning on reading this so soon, but I managed to "have" a reason to go to the bookstore on Tuesday, and picked it up for M who was DYING to read it. She (of course) devoured it after school, even forgetting dinner and even taking it to the church mother-daughter activity (I understood, though I think everyone else was a bit frustrated that she sat in the corner, reading...). When she finished it, she plunked it down on the table next to me and said, "I'm mad at Rick Riordan." "Why?" I asked. She kind of sighed and said, "I just wish he'd write faster."
Amen to that.
This one -- if you haven't read the previous three, then you're just missing out -- begins the summer after Titan's Curse. It's supposed to be a "normal" summer for Percy (ha!), but everything gets off on the wrong foot. He sets fire to the school he's trying to get in to, meets up with an acquaintance from Titan's Curse (wasn't expecting that, but I'm glad), and (good news!) Annabeth is back, and leading a quest into the labyrinth, in order to save Camp Half-Blood. (The rest of the plot you'll just have to find out by reading the book. Though I will tell you that my favorite chapter titles are "The Underworld Sends Me a Prank Call" and "We Play the Game Show of Death".)
While it's not as funny as Titan's Curse, it does have its moments. And, like all the books, it's incredibly action-filled. While there's a lot of walking and talking and trying to figure out girls (poor Percy!), Riordan manages to include just enough action to make it fun. It's not suspenseful in the way some books are, but Riordan does have a gift for writing action sequences that actually manage to actually convey action vividly, something I appreciate. That, and (I know I've said this before, but it's the one thing that awes me every time) he really knows his Greek myths, and is incredibly creative in his uses of them. I love all the mythical characters, monsters and situations that Percy and his friends find himself in. And no matter how like Harry Potter it is (and while we were talking to Hubby -- who hasn't read any of the books -- about it last night, I realized that it is very like the Harry Potter books), it has a fresh, exciting, gripping feel to it.
I wish Riordan could write faster, too... I'm anxious to know how the series ends!