Review of The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan.
Quickie: Fantastic! A must-read for fans of the Percy Jackson series, to be sure.
Full: I know, I know. There's no Percy. I've heard more than a few people say they weren't sure if the wanted to read this new series since Percy wasn't the main character. To those people I say- Read it! Jason, Leo, and Piper are lovable new characters that I was instantly attached to. Plus... I'm quite sure we will be seeing Percy very soon.
Jason is a student at the Wilderness School, a dumping ground for troublesome kids. He's got a girlfriend, Piper, and a hyper-active best friend named Leo. The problem? He doesn't remember how he got there, how he came to be Piper's boyfriend, or anything else- anything at all. His memory is entirely erased.
All three of them have shady pasts, Leo lost his mother to a fire that he was blamed for, Piper is amazingly good at getting people to hand over their BMW's, and Jason, well, Jason doesn't know exactly what he's done.
On a class field trip to the Grand Canyon, Jason and his friends are attacked by storm spirits, their Coach suddenly sprouts goat legs, and they are swept up into a world entirely new to them- the world of half-bloods, demi-gods and monsters. They are taken to Camp Half-Blood, where they learn about their parents and Jason struggles to uncover his past. While there, they discover that Zeus has locked up Mount Olympus and the gods aren't speaking to anybody, not even their children. This is a big problem though, because even though the Titans were defeated by Percy and his gang, there is an older evil threatening to rise up and demolish the world. Jason and his friends must find this evil, conquer it, and survive... in four days!
As a general rule, I don't like amnesia as a plot. It feels like a cop-out. But in this case, it completely worked, had a purpose, and made the story very interesting. It was also a convenient way to re-introduce the reader to the demi-god world. (Or introduce for the first time, whatever the case may be)
It was so nice to see some of my old favorite characters (Annabeth, Chiron, Clarisse, and others make appearances) in the familiar, comfortable world of Camp Half-Blood. It was fun getting to see it all again from a fresh perspective and to see all the things that changed as a result of Percy and his actions. Very cool.
The Lost Hero's heroes (hehe) are in their mid-teens, which gives it the vibe of a YA, not a mid-grade. Truthfully though, I liked that. I like when a series grows with its' audience. (Harry Potter, for example.) There was more focus on potential romances than in the Percy series, where the romance didn't really come in until the last few books.
I loved the new mythology plot that Riordan added to The Lost Hero. When I first learned that there was going to be a new series set in the same world but with new characters I was stoked. Then I thought about it, and I started wondering if it was really going to be all that good. After all, what more could happen? Would new characters really be all that was needed?? I didn't think so, and I was a little hesitant to read this new series. But lo and behold; a new line of mythology! Yes! That's exactly what was needed to keep things interesting. I really liked how Riordan introduced the Roman mythology. It really was a brilliant way to liven things up and keep the story moving.
The characters were, as I said before, lovable. Piper is Cherokee, and her father is a famous movie-star. Piper loves her father, but hardly gets the time of day from him with his busy schedule and travel. She steals things, or convinces people to give them to her, as a way to get attention (negative attention is still attention) from her father. She is/was Jason's girlfriend, but learns that their whole relationship, all those good memories were just a trick of the Mist. So what's real? Her feelings for him are real. But what are they based on? False memories? Or the present?
Leo is ADHD and is always pulling random bits of junk out of his pockets and fiddling with them. He often feels like the third-wheel to the maybe-possibly-kind-of romance that Piper and Jason have going on. He's spunky, fun, and trying desperately to come to grips with his past.
Jason, of course, doesn't know who he is. Apparently, he has a girlfriend. But what about the life he left behind? Was there a girl in that life? Would he be doing something wrong by liking Piper? And the big question- Why is he here? Who put him here and how?
If you are one of those people who - like me - had some doubts about this new series, I hope you can see that they are unnecessary. The Lost Hero was everything a Percy fan could hope for in a new branch of the same story. Give it a try.
5 out of 5 stars.
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