by Rick Riordan
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3
When the goddess Artemis goes missing, she is believed to have been kidnapped. And now it’s up to Percy and his friends to find out what happened. Who is powerful enough to kidnap a goddess? They must find Artemis before the winter solstice, when her influence on the Olympian Council could swing an important vote on the war with the titans. Not only that, but first Percy will have to solve the mystery of a rare monster that Artemis was hunting when she disappeared’a monster rumored to be so powerful it could destroy Olympus forever.
(spoilers if you haven’t read the first two books)
So I was really enjoying this series so far. Then I read this book and completely fell in love with it. Those high-stakes and high emotions I mentioned in my review of The Lightning Thief, those aspects I’m always on the lookout for? Here they are!
We get a nice injection of female power in this one, with the arrival of the Hunters of Artemis, partly perhaps to clam the sting of Annabeth being largely absent from this installment.
The Goddess Artemis herself shows up here, and is generally awesome and actually relatable and not just snobby and power-mad as many of the Gods are portrayed. She appears as a twelve year old girl, and at one point declares “If this is Olympian justice, I will have no part in it!”, after an impassioned speech in favor of the Gods rewarding and not punishing the various assorted demigods. To which her brother, the ego-inflated, but otherwise refreshingly relatable Apollo, in the form of a teenage guy, suggests “Chill out, sis.” Seeing the Gods as real people – a bickering, squabbling family, who just happen to also control the world, is one of the most appealing and well-done aspects of this series.
After the revelation at the end of the second book, I was really looking forward to meeting Thalia. It seemed kind of quick to me, that they just fast-forwarded to six months later from the end of that last book, but we got some helpful catch-up info at least. Thalia is a great character infuriating at times but always interesting. It was nice getting a winter adventure here, the only one in this series. Especially when it is incorporated into the story, such as when Percy battles “Santa’s evil twin”. (I love the author;s chapter titles. I totally miss them in the Heroes of Olympus series.)
I love the little things in this series, like Nico playing a card game based on the Greek Gods, and telling Dionysus that he still thought he was cool, even if most players thought he was the weakest God ever, and Percy hoping Nico wouldn’t ask how many hit points Percy had. Great stuff.
The various myths that were incorporated in this installment definitely worked, and were surprising to me. I also loved the little seeds planted here and there for future installments. (view spoiler).
I can’t say exactly why this one made me fall in love. Even with little Annabeth involvement (and I love Annabeth) the character interaction was just top-notch and the plot had the perfect amount of peril and tension. Also, the villains accidentally grew zombie saber-toothed kittens and just sort of let them wander around the National Mall. Which is awesome.