I have more respect for Riordan after "The Titan's Curse". The characters are developing, and the love story is unfolding in a way that makes the reader want to rush out and get the next book. Even thought Annabeth was absent for most of the story, Thalia was a key player in this adventure, and Riordan used a very clear line for both female parts. I hope we ca see Thalia more in the other stories. Also, this book is darker than the first two books, setting the stage for an epic battle, and slying away from the cheesy, yet sweet, undertone for the "Thief" and "Sea".I am very pleased with the progression of this storyline.