Sunday, May 22, 2011
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Heroes of Olympus
1. "The Lost Hero" (2010)
2. "Son of Neptune" (fall 2011)
First Published: October 2010
First Line: "Even before he got electrocuted, Jason was having a rotten day."
Synopsis: This first book in a new series by Rick Riordan (author of the highly popular Percy Jackson series) introduces readers to a new group of demigods.
When 15 year old Jason wakes up on a bus with no memory of who he is or why he's on a bus from a wilderness school for troubled kids he knows that things aren't going to go well. He has absolutely no memory that he has a best friend let alone that Leo (the kid who cannot keep still) is that friend. Nor does he remember that Piper is his girlfriend or who he is.
Things go from bad to worse for Jason when on a field trip to the Grand Canyon his class has an unexpected and dangerous encounter with evil storm spirits. Jason, Leo and Piper are quickly whisked away to Camp Half-Blood and informed that one of their parents is a god which makes the three teens demigods.
Shortly after arriving at the camp, with little time to get used to the whole idea of being a demigod, Jason and his friends hear rumours that Zeus has closed Mount Olympus and that someone has kidnapped and imprisoned one of the goddesses. They are soon informed that they are three of the seven demigods named in the Great Prophecy that was uttered by the oracle in "The Last Olympian" (5th book in the Percy Jackson series). Add in the fact that there's a demigod hero who has suddenly gone missing and things are not looking good for these new heroes.
My Thoughts: After loving the Percy Jackson series I was excited to hear that he had written the first book of a Percy Jackson spin-off series. I really loved reading about mythology (See Dad! That university mythology course DID come in handy!!) and having great discussions with my 9 and 11 year old boys over various Greek gods! How cool is that!?!?!
After weeks of my 9 year old asking me to read "The Lost Hero" (which he says he loved more than Percy Jackson) I finally found time in my busy reading schedule and picked it up. I think part of me was concerned that Riordan would be able to put out another great series so soon after Percy Jackson (and his Red Pyramid series which I have yet to start reading).
While I did enjoy this book it wasn't nearly as 'hard to put down' as the Percy series for me. Don't get me wrong I did enjoy it but it was definitely lacking .... something. I just can't put my finger on what exactly.
I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the story is told from the viewpoint of Jason, Piper and Leo. That's a lot of different viewpoints in one story making it hard to get to know any one character really well. Those three characters also come into the story with a LOT of baggage which is discussed throughout the book. Their inner struggles/family issues/loss does play a role in defining who they are but I felt like it took over a bit too much.
I LOVED that some characters from the Percy Jackson series (Annabeth, Chiron, Rachel ...) were incorporated into this new series. Riordan was able to give fans of the older series a taste of "Percy Jackson" characters while letting these new characters take hold of this new quest.
That being said I did think that it would have been nice not to have so many similarities between the Percy series and this series. Both concern demigods (2 boys and 1 girl). Both have main characters who didn't realize they were demigods until in their teens (and who found out while on school trips). There's romance between the main male character and the main female character etc. But, I do have to say that those similarities, while glaring in the first few chapters, were forgotten as the book took off on its own storyline.
Riordan also brings his well-written comic relief to this series as well with great secondary characters (specifically the satyr Gleeson). This humour helps to carry the sometimes confusing storyline (but that may be because I'm not as knowledgeable of Roman gods).
My favourite part of the book was definitely the cliff hanger. It made me wish that the second book in this series was out NOW! Sadly I'm going to have to wait until the fall of 2011 like everyone else when "The Son of Neptune" comes out. So I'm going to give this first book in the series a good grade because it was a good read and set up a (hopefully) stellar second book which will hopefully bring back even more Percy characters!
Note: I strongly recommend reading the Percy Jackson series before reading this series. There are a lot of connections and future plot lines will be much easier to understand once you have the proper background.
My Rating: 4/5 stars