Percy Jackson #3
The stakes are getting higher and the gods are stepping in more directly in this latest installment of Percy Jackson's saga. The situation on Earth is also getting more dire as the Titans gain strength and followers. People actually die! Then, there's the looming prophecy that the child of one of the "big 3" - Hades, Zeus, or Poseidon - will decide whether Olympus rises or falls when they turn 16. Besides Percy, there's only one other candidate so there's a lot potentially coming Percy's way.
There's finally a continual sense of urgency in this book brought about not only by the Titans' increasing strength but by the pain and sacrifice being demanded of the demigods. They're getting hurt, sacrificing themselves for the cause - really fighting like hardened soldiers instead of teenagers. And yet, Riordan hasn't created teenage characters completely devoid of angst. It's an interesting combination that I find very appealing to read.
In book #3, Annabeth and the goddess, Demeter, have been kidnapped and it's up to Thalia, Percy, and two of Demeter's immortal huntresses to find them, rescue them, and derail (well really postpone) the imminent attack of Kronos and his minions. They travel cross-country again, making new pit stops in areas of the gods which are hidden among mortals. The gods are getting more involved so we meet Aphrodite, take a ride with Apollo, and get a hint of Pan in addition to Demeter. Our half-bloods also get to Olympus and actually talk to their parents which, to me, was a huge indicator of how serious our story is getting. Demigods are the mortal instruments of the gods, not people they typically interact with directly.
Only two more books left in this series although Riordan has many others. I'm really looking forward to seeing where this story goes and thinking about diving into another series once I'm done here. I know this is YA fiction, but it doesn't feel as young as a lot of other books in this genre. It hasn't hit a slump in the narrative yet as many other series fall victim to and it continues to stay steadily engaging. Percy Jackson is still a big recommendation from me.