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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Novel Review: The Lost Hero

The Lost Hero
Author: Rick Riordan
Hyperion Books For Children
557 pages (hardcover ed.)

Spoiler note: This review contains spoilers for this novel as well as the original Percy Jackson And The Olympians book series. Read on with caution!

Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?  Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out. Leo has a way with tools. When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god.

Read my review of this YA novel after the jump!

First things first: I absolutely loved the original Percy Jackson And The Olympians series of books by Rick Riordan. I spent a little less than a month power reading through all five books, and I certainly didn't wait very long to see the film adaptation of the first novel in theatres (which was pretty darn good, of course ignoring people who don't agree and nitpick way too much). So naturally, when Rick Riordan announced that he would be writing a sequel series, I already had high expectations for what it was gonna be like. 

(And then it took forever to get the first friggin book from the library because the waiting list was 300 plus people ahead of me, sheesh. Did not realize so many PJO fans lived in the Saint Louis County area.)

So. Like me, you probably started reading this book having no idea what the story was and fully expecting a return to the magical mythological adventures of Percy Jackson, his kickass girlfriend, and their humorous satyr bestie - right? And then you realized that no, what you were getting into was an entirely new trio of demi-gods with their own problems and issues . . . and oh yeah, Percy Jackson has actually gone missing, leaving his kickass girlfriend Annabeth Chase to go on a search to find him. Whoops! Certainly this shift in gears for the second series in the PJO-verse can only be a sign of terrible things to come, some sort of horrific dip in storytelling quality for Riordan. In short, you expect this book to totally suck.

Except that it doesn't. It doesn't suck! And after you get beyond that sense of relief that an entirely new series based around a different trio of Camp Half-Blood teens can be enjoyable, hopefully you realize that what Riordan has delivered is not only a spin-off series of epic proportions but one that evolves and expands his original 'verse of gods and demi-gods into one that is truly worldwide and more dangerous than ever before. Yep, if you thought the rise of the Titans in the original series was bad enough, wait until you see what terrible forces are stirring in this one.

Also, I absolutely love our latest team of heroes who are forced to embark on a treacherous mission to save the world. Jason, Leo, and Piper are just as interesting and dynamic as Percy, Grover, and Annabeth were, with the added mystery of Jason being a demi-god of not only a Greek persuasion but a Roman one as well. Plus, here’s something that the new Heroes of Olympus series has over the original PJO series: really darn interesting trio back stories! 

I would definitely read an entire book about Leo and his mom and He- I mean, Tia Callida, with Leo building stuff and wrestling with his fire powers. Which is another great thing about this new book – we really see the heroes deal with their newfound powers as well as the troubling powers they have had to deal with since childhood. Well, except for Jason, whose powers come back to him via flashbacks. Poor kid. Amnesia sure is a pain in the neck.

And, of course, this book ends in a hideously hair-pulling cliffhanger, leaving readers scrambling for the sequel – which luckily is already out! Really, if you loved the PJO series and have been hoping for a spin-off series that is up to snuff on the original stories of Percy and friends, I can’t see how you’d be disappointed by the newest entry in Riordan’s fictional world of gods and demi-gods. And make sure to follow Rick Riordan on Twitter, because he’s usually pretty good about posting tidbits from the series.