Winter is Here – a REview of The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan

At the current rate I’m DNFing books, I’m glad it means I can reread some absolute classics. And this whole series, I tell you, will be considered classic in 50+ years time. But let’s talk about the midpoint of this series for a second.

A monster that could bring out the end of the world is on the loose. A goddess has been caught while trying to save it. And Annabeth has been captured in the mix of it all. In a bid to save her, Percy teams up with Camp Half Blood’s Grover and Thalia and the Hunters of Artemis to thwart the next plan in bringing Kronos back to life. But the threats they face are the deadliest they have faced yet. Undead and titans threaten to stop them and steal Annabeth away from the world forever.

As a kid this book was my favourite because it had my favourite character in it, Thalia. Choosing favourites was a far simpler game back then, back when I didn’t religiously study stories. This was also the darkest installment of the series yet, and back when I was 11 and reading this for the first time you could say I was going through a middle grade literature emo phase. So this book appealed to me a lot then.

But now is it my favourite of the series? No, that still belongs to Sea of Monsters. But that doesn’t mean it was bad. Far from it. Allow me to explain:

As usual, character was a highlight. Percy constantly steals the spotlight, but credit also goes to Zoe and Thalia (yes I still love her). Riordan is able to create such depth to characters that at first appear tropey. Goth girl Thalia’s struggling with destiny and desire. Zoe’s ancient spirit in a youthful body and her struggle with her family. Even the sides of Luke that we see were great dives into his character we’ve learnt to hate. This is the kind of character mastery I only wish I had.

A second highlight in this installment was, as mentioned, the darker tones. It was instantly misleading that this novel about a summer camp takes place in winter, but it was a beautiful way to set up what was to come. This is not what you’re used to, and things are about to change. It suited the themes of loss present in this book, yet still carved plenty of room for the quirks, style and absurdities familiar with this series. It was just on a darker landscape.

I still can’t get over how masterful Riordan is with his worldbuilding. Finding Athena at the Hoover Dam, raising undead in the Smithsonian, the climax taking place in San Francisco. And these are just the links directly to the US. The world gets expanded further as Riordan introduces us to new players in ways that completely make sense. Like meeting the Hunters of Artemis and learning of their rivalry with Camp Half Blood. That was a highlight to see them butt heads.

What can I say? Riordan is just good at what he does. Let’s hope I can DNF another book in the near future and pick up the next installment soon as a reward.

The Titan’s Curse gets a score of 5/5. Dark Percy Jackson still rocks.

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