NOTE: This review was written by a new member to the Lotus Book Blog team – Baruch! This is his first review and it’s great. Continue reading this post in HIS voice and not mine 🙂 …
WARNING: This review has major spoilers- in fact, I spoil just about everything that can be spoiled! You have been warned.
Here’s the summary: Following the first series, Percy Jackson has gone missing from Camp Half-Blood. Instead, he’s been replaced by a son of Zeus/Jupiter named Jason who has no memories, a purple shirt, and an unsettling habit of calling the gods by their Roman names (a fact I find quite interesting). It turns out that these things are since Hera has taken Jason from a camp for Roman demigods so that the Roman and Greek half-bloods can work together to keep Gaea (the personification of Earth) from waking up and raining doom down upon them. The problem is that Greek and Roman demigods tend to hate each other (and have no idea where to find each other), which sets up the challenge for book two.
If that wasn’t enough information for you, read the Wikipedia article.
Now for the actual review:
The first thing I want to say about The Lost Hero is that I like it. I like it quite a lot. I was worried, I even entertained the thought that I had “grown too old” for his books, which is not something I think often. Thankfully, I was wrong. The Lost Hero has flaws, but it’s interesting and funny and has a lot of great concepts.
I’m going to talk about the negatives. And there are a lot of negatives. That’s why I wanted to be sure to say that I liked the book before I launched into a list of its flaws.
One flaw that’s looking like it will be a problem for the entire series is the primary villain, Gaea. Gaea’s just not scary, and the plot requires a frightening nemesis. Basically, she’s sleeping and does her bidding through influencing others. BLEH!
While the boring characters are my biggest complaint, I also have issues with the writing. Riordan has always had some problems with young characters’ voices- he simply doesn’t capture the way kids talk very well. He basically sounds like DAD trying to be cool.
Now for the good points of Lost Hero. In my opinion, it has two major assets.
The first, of course, is its excellent use and interpretation of mythology, augmented by the wonderful world Riordan has created for his stories. The plot device of the heroes stumbling across some mythological figure’s lair never gets old. In this series, because of the cool little conceit of souls getting released from the underworld, Riordan can deal with a whole new set of mythological beings: humans. My personal favorite in this book was Medea- the scene in her department store was fun to read, and Riordan’s portrayal of her was creepy and hilarious at the same time. The assorted gods and ancient mortals that questers meet throughout the book are high points, and I’m glad it happens often.
The second strong point is the magnificent plot concept of the Roman camp. We haven’t heard of them before, but we get the feeling that they have been fighting in the same quest from different fronts. The whole idea of another camp sounds like bad fanfiction. But it doesn’t matter. Why not? Because it’s awesome, that’s why not. The idea is so well-executed that it reinvigorates the entire series and makes me genuinely interested in what happens next. What the Roman demigods are like and how they will interact with the Greeks is THE major excitement of the series for me. We working with schizophrenic Gods here. And throughout the book, whenever I was bored with what was going on in the foreground (the predicable subplot of Piper’s struggle over betraying her friends comes to mind), I had this to keep me interested.
And that my friends is the whole appeal of Rick Riordan’s books. It doesn’t matter how poor the dialogue is or how bland the characters are. He’s a great storyteller. His books are fun, pure and simple. His plots are often exciting, and a tad bit obvious, it’s FUN. The ending, for example, with it finally dawning on the camp where Percy is and what must be happening to him- it was obvious yet brilliant. Like knowing what you receiving on Christmas, you still excited. So, it never matters what flaws the book has to drag it down, because the sheer enjoyability of the story more than makes up for them.
For those who know me, I have 2 dogs with Greek God names so am I big fan of Greek mythology. Heroes of Olympus opened the door to Roman mythology. Guess I have more options for future animal’s names.