The Titan's Curse is book three in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, which follows the adventures of a demi-gods living in a world in which Greek mythology is real. I've been loving the series so far, although the second volume, The Sea of Monsters, wasn't quite as good as the first, The Lightning Thief. In The Titan's Curse, Percy and his friends are helping Grover bring two new half-bloods to camp when Annabeth is kidnapped. The quest to rescue her and the goddess Artemis is riddled with many dangers, as the Titan lord Kronos is steadily gaining in power.
There are spoilers ahead!
The Titan's Curse is by far the most mature entry in the series so far. It is of course still action-packed and full of Percy (or Riordan's) humour, but this is the point in the series where things start to get more real and serious. Percy and his friends are growing up and the story reflects that. Just like in book two, Percy again has to come to terms with the fact that being the son of Poseidon doesn't mean that everything is going to go his own way. As well as having Thalia and the two new half bloods to contend with, he isn't selected for Annabeth's rescue quest despite being desperate to go. Of course he ends up sneaking along anyway, but I liked that Riordan wrote him not being chosen, no matter how much he pleaded. In life, we don't always get the things we desperately want, no matter how much we want them, and part of growing up is learning that.
We also get the first real deaths of the series in The Titan's Curse. Up until now the adventures have all be fun, but there's been no sense of danger. When Bianca is killed, that all changes and it's a sign that the build up to the end of the series has started. Alongside that, we also get little hints at why so many half bloods, minor Gods and monsters are tempted to join Kronos; we get to see that the Olympian Gods aren't perfect and that there are shades of grey in the story. A major plus point, as far as I'm concerned!
As all of the main characters are growing up, the issue of relationships becomes much bigger in this volume. Annabeth's kidnap forces Percy to think about what she really means to him and there is some pretty heavy hinting of a future relationship going on. There's also the Hunters, a group of immortal teenage girls in the service of Artemis who basically choose immortality in exchange for turning away from boys forever. It's interesting that we see the stories of two girls who choose this and of Annabeth, who is offered this but ultimately turns it down.
I thought the ending of this novel was probably the strongest part. Having returned triumphant from his quest, Percy is shocked to find the Gods voting on whether or not he should be allowed to live, given the prophecy that Olympus might be destroyed when he turns sixteen. It's interesting that he chooses to keep Nico's parentage a secret, knowing that a child of Hades would be labelled/judged and not welcomed. This shows Percy is definitely growing up and realising that things are not as simple as he once thought, even on the 'good' side.
All in all, The Titan's Curse is one of the best books in the Percy Jackson series. I'm glad to see that things improved again after The Sea of Monsters. if you enjoyed the action and adventure of the first two books, you won't be disappointed by this one.
Source: Personal copy
First Published: 2007
My Edition: Disney Hyperion, 2008
Score: 4.5 out of 5
My reviews of the rest of the series: