Heroes of Olympus Series
The Lost Hero
by Rick Riordan
From a salsa-eating Cyclops to a mechanical dragon, the first book in Riordan’s new Heroes of Olympus series is packed with adventure. Beginning the summer after the final book in the Percy Jackson series ended, The Lost Hero introduces us to a new group of half-bloods.
The main character, Jason, wakes up on a bus with no memory of who he is or what he’s doing there. He is with a school group taking a trip to the Grand Canyon. A quirky kid name Leo claims to be his best friend and a girl named Piper obviously is more than just his friend. After being attacked by a storm monster the trio is whisked to Camp Half-Blood by Annabeth. They try to come to terms with their “half-blood” status and their new life.
As is Riordan’s formula with all of his books, they quickly find that they must go on a quest. Along the way they meet infamous Greek characters like Midas and Madea. We learn more about Zeus’ wife Hera as well. Leo grew on me throughout the book. I liked that his character found his strength in an unconventional way.
It’s a bummer that so many of the characters are one-note creations. You meet someone new and in a heart beat you know if they are a “good” guy or a “bad” guy. It’s rare to find anyone who walks that line. I always end his books wishing there was a bit more complexity, but I also enjoy them.
BOTTOM LINE: I think Riordan’s books are an excellent way to introduce young adults to Greek mythology. He makes it fun and accessible and I always learn something. I do wish the characters rang a little more true for me, but I’m also not the target audiences.
The Son of Neptune
by Rick Riordan
This one was fantastic. We dive right back into the story from the last book, but instead of the Greek camp we’ve caught up with Percy, who is missing in the first book. Unfortunately, just like Jason, he has no memory.
We finally make it to the Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent to Camp Half-Blood. Apparently there has always been bad blood between the two groups and the current campers know almost nothing about the other camp. Percy meets Frank and Hazel; both a sweet, self-conscious kids who figure out more about themselves with each new challenge. I loved them both as new characters. Hazel has an interesting past that starts in New Orleans and Frank’s family has a long history in Asian tradition, great additions to the series.
Gia, the evil Mother Earth character, and her army of giants are back and the trio must battle them to free Death. Obviously the obstacles are many, but the constant stream of adventure is fun.
BOTTOM LINE: I felt like this one was really a step up from the first book. I love that this series is building towards collaboration between the Greek and Roman camps and I’m looking forward to seeing that play out.