Archive for May 8th, 2011
I liked the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan, so when I learned that Riordan was creating a new series about more “half-bloods” I was intrigued. However, I never really had a chance to review this new series until I received the first book of the series last week. So today I’ll be reviewing The Lost Hero, book one of The Heroes of Olympus series. Now, where to begin…
The story starts off with Jason, Piper and their friend Leo sitting on a bus on their way to the Grand Canyon, a part of a classroom filled with juvenile delinquents from a special camp. The only problem is, Jason isn’t sure who he is or what he’s doing there. He seems to be suffering from a little amnesia and he has a girlfriend (Piper) who he doesn’t remember either. This seems odd but nobody really questions it (they assume he’s teasing them or something) until the teacher admits to Jason that he doesn’t remember ever having Jason in the class before today. Then they are attacked by a monster, as per the course for a group of half-bloods (also known as demigods, children of the Greek gods), and defeat it at the expense of their teacher, who turns out to be a satyr protecting them from such creatures. However, there is still a mystery surrounding Jason, who still cannot remember who he is or how he got there. There is not doubting who his parent is — Zeus, which means potential trouble since the entire previous series (starring Percy Jackson, who is currently MIA and nobody knows why) was around the idea that the “Big Three ” (Zeus, Poseidon and Hades) were not allowed to have any more children.
They are taken to Camp Half-Blood, where it is determined who the three parents of the children are. Jason, as mentioned before, is Zeus’ son, while Piper is (surprisingly) a daughter of Aphrodite, while Leo is a child of Hephaestus. They try to settle in but are immediately whisked away on a quest. It turns out that the gods have not spoken to anyone recently, barring entrance to Mt. Olympus. Even Mr. D, the camp director (Dionysus), has been recalled back to Olympus. Mystery abounds as Rachel, the Oracle, predicts that the three will release a god who has been trapped.
The story is drawn out, with quite a bit of mystery surrounding Jason. The chapters jump between Jason, Leo and Piper as each has dreams pressed upon them by various beings and deities. The mystery surrounding Jason deepens as it comes to light that he doesn’t speak or understand ancient Greek but Latin, and calls the gods by their Roman names (Jupiter, Venus, etc). This gives some clues as to Jason’s origins, though the real shocker comes when he meets Thalia, Zeus’ other child from the original series (and now one of the fabled Hunters).
This is a quality book, though you can see the answer to the “mystery” coming a mile away. There are times when I wanted to reach into the pages and slap them all as they missed obvious (painfully obvious to the reader) clue after clue. I understand that “kids” might miss clues like this, but these demigods are fifteen or so at the start of this book. They weren’t like Percy Jackson in the first series, who had his lack of life experience to fall back on as an excuse for his ignorance.
I did enjoy it, though I wouldn’t call it Riordan’s finest work (like many others appear to be doing). His pacing is loose at points in the book, which can lose a reader if they haven’t been sucked fully into the characters yet. His structure is decent, but thankfully the literati are hiding out and this book is for YA (young adults, younger readers), so he gets a pass here. I didn’t like the characters, because they seemed to be whitewashed versions of Percy, Annabeth and Grover from the original series. There didn’t seem to be anything special about them that distinguished them from one another, which could have been confusing had Riordan done anything tricky in his dialog.
A buy if you’re a huge fan of the series. I’m a fan, but I’m not certain I would have purchased it on its own merit. Hopefully the second book of the series, The Son of Neptune, will be better.
—Reviewed by Jason