Series: The Heroes of Olympus #2
Published by Disney-Hyperion on October 4th, 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult
ONE CURSED DEMIGOD.
TWO NEW HEROES.
A QUEST TO UNLEASH THE
GOD OF DEATH…..
Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, God of the Sea, has woken from a very deep sleep and come face to face with two snake-haired ladies who refuse to die.
But they’re the least of his problems. Because Percy finds himself at a camp for half-bloods, which doesn’t ring any bells for him. There’s just one name he remembers from his past. Annabeth.
Only one thing is certain–Percy’s questing days aren’t over. He and fellow demigods Frank and Hazel must face the most important quest of all: The Prophecy of Seven. If they fail, it’s not just their camp at risk. Percy’s old life, the gods and the entire world might be destroyed…..
Wow. After The Lost Hero, which was extremely disappointing to me, The Son of Neptune is a definite improvement. I started really skeptically, and the first half was extremely slow and contrived, but the second half more than made up for it.
The PositivesI think should first give honorable mention to Ella. I think of all the new characters introduced in The Heroes of Olympus, she is by far the best one. She’s extremely adorable, I love all the facts she spouts out – her dialogue is epic. The only less awesome thing to say about her is that I have no idea how to picture her in my mind. Riordan could have elaborated a bit more of just what a harpy looks like.
Percy finally returned to us, and what a breath of fresh air it is. I wish it were still only Percy’s POV. He’s still the most hilarious, however in this installment we also get to see more emotional depth to him than in earlier books in the entire Percy Jackson saga. The scenes where he is struggling to regain his memories and coping with missing Annabeth are honestly beautiful. When he contacts Tyson, it almost brought a tear to my eye. Their relationship is so adorable as well. Riordan creates so much depth to this one character that it is just a pity that he wastes his time trying to flesh out these other POVs that don’t have the same effect at all – they’re still characters taken out of nowhere and declared to be important, without a real build up. I really believe that if he focused on Percy’s POV alone, Percy would quickly become my favorite hero character in any book ever (yes, even over Harry Potter, who I always found a bit stiff).
Arion is awesome and must be mentioned. Any time Percy converses with a horse I just burst out laughing. I should also give props to Frank’s grandmother, who is just epic as well.
Riordan’s humor is still top level. Iris wanting Frank to become a ROFL-copter. Four for you, Riordan. Anyone who orders anything from Amazon is funding the Amazonian nation. Snicker. Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go. Hilarious. Death with his iPad, skyping Pluto. Priceless.
While the first half was very slow and felt contrived and sub-par, the second half definitely picked up. The scenes at Amazon reminded me of how awesome this series can be, the first time I was so delighted since I put down The Last Olympian. Hazel finally became tolerable in the escape, because she started fighting – really fighting (not summoning jewelry) – and I guess I sort of like that side of her. The battle at Camp Jupiter was also epic.
The NegativesDear Riordan, how dare you bring us so far into the story and just as the ship lands, end it. I need my Percy/Annabeth reunion now. *sigh* A couple more months… (This isn’t really negative, as I’m sufficiently excited for the next installment, but I just have so many feels about this it’s ending up under negative.)
Percy losing the mark of Achilles was super lame. It makes that whole part of the original series almost completely meaningless. What. While I understand the difficulty of continuing a series where the hero is invulnerable, it just felt so contrived and lame. Within the first 20 pages too! And he had to make the choice to cross the river. (Maybe, if he had just woken up and it had already been taken because he crossed into the Roman world, it would have felt less lame.)
Riordan cannot write tolerable female POVs in my eyes, although Hazel is more tolerable than Piper. In the beginning I really had trouble taking her “curse” seriously, because it just sounded like she was pooping diamonds. *cough* But that was mostly because I entered the book really skeptically. Once she meets Arion, she does get more tolerable, because she’s genuinely happy at times and it’s not all teenage angst and ~omg I love Frank~. When Riordan creates female personalities, it sometimes works – like Hylla! How awesome is she? But the female POVs he writes… hmm.. This makes me really nervous for when he’ll write Annabeth’s POV in The Mark of Athena. Although, I still am relatively confident that that’ll succeed if only because he’s already fleshed out her character and personality, so it won’t be completely out of the blue. And she’ll have less angst that makes me roll my eyes.
I was really disappointed to find within 50 something pages that Riordan already created a couple in Frank & Hazel. Yay, instalove. It was done better than Jason & Piper in The Lost Hero, because there there was absolutely no build up to speak of. Frank and Hazel towards the second half of the book become sort of all right, but it feels like a cheap trick because you already know it’s going to happen within 50 pages. I really prefer relationships to have such a buildup that you couldn’t imagine it any other way – like Percy & Annabeth. But I suppose Riordan didn’t have the patience to develop this relationship over 5 books or so like Percy’s. And considering how much broader the cast of characters is, I can sort of understand not wanting to take so long to create a relationship, but 50 pages is pushing it. Cheap.
Frank was a satisfactory character. Likeable enough and of the 5 new main characters introduced in The Heroes of Olympus, I think he was the most well developed one. Toward the end, I definitely thought he was kind of cool. The only thing that I can say against it (besides not liking the Frank/Hazel) is that it’s kind of distracting to have two hero characters, especially here – when the focus is on 3 characters. Two of the three are heroes? (Ultimately, they’re all heroes, I know, but for all intents and purposes, I mean the “main” hero, because you know there’s always one leader and a group of followers, etc.) It was a bit weird, especially when they left Frank’s grandmother’s house, and Frank is the one fighting the Laistrygonians and telling Percy to go ahead and run – despite Percy’s experience with Laistrygonians. I like him stepping up to the plate and proving his worth, don’t get me wrong, but then I got an image of Percy running away from a battle? That.. doesn’t really work. I guess I’m still coping with the fact that this series is more of a spin-off of Percy Jackson & the Olympians than a sequel, and it’s not really Percy-centric anymore. A cast of seven heroes, each one must have their time in the spotlight, I get it. But I’m still getting used to it.
Summing Up:I rather enjoyed this one. I’m glad I didn’t give up after The Lost Hero. I’m hoping that now that all the new character introductions (which Riordan completely rushes and butchers imho) are done, the story will be much less annoying, move faster, and be more epic. I still have my reservations though. I don’t think this series is at the same level as Percy Jackson & the Olympians.
The prospect of the new book kind of scares me because you KNOW the hinting about Reyna/Jason/Piper, and now Frank/Hazel/Leo – love triangles. They’re going to happen. And I’m going to bash my head into a wall. Please don’t make the story about that Riordan! Please! Let romance stay a side story, don’t put too much focus on it, and please no female POV where it’s like “Ohhh, I don’t know what to doooo, I still like himmmm, but he’s cool tooooo!” If that happens in The Mark of Athena I’m going to be massively disappointed.