The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan
Might contain spoilers.
The best yet in the series. It’s the first to have a real cost, in Zoë’s death, and consequently the first time you feel the power of the Titans. Despite that, it remains as fun, enjoyable, and well-written as ever.
I feel for Thalia. Though she can’t find peace at home, she meets Luke and Annabeth. They get to Camp Half-Blood, where they go on their first quest only for her to die on the camp’s borders and get turned into a tree. A few years later, she unexpectedly comes back to life as a human, immediately undergoes even more trauma in a new death-filled quest, and ultimately joins the Hunters of Artemis because she’s given up on the idea of normalcy. As much as I love Percy and bristle at anyone misbehaving with him, Thalia can certainly be forgiven her flashes of temper and slight hostility. Thanks to the prophecy, she’s carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. (Figuratively, at least until the climax.)
I forgot Nico is only introduced here—I thought he showed up in the second book. I missed him there. On an unrelated note, Apollo is the most fun and likeable of the gods we’ve met.
Next in series: The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan(#4 in Thoughts & Spoilers: Books: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (2005))