The Heroes of Olympus: The Son of Neptune (Book Review) – Rick Riordan

The second installment in Rick Riordan’s new Greek (and Roman) mythology series: “The Heroes of Olympus,” was released a couple of weeks ago and immediately shot up to the top lists of best sellers. The book’s publishers prepared a 3 million copy first run print, something unprecedented in their history.

“The Heroes of Olympus” picks up where Riordan’s first series: “Percy Jackson & the Olympians” left off. With the first book, “The Lost Hero“, released last Fall, we were introduced to Jason, a demigod with no memories whatsoever about his origins or how he ended up with two other demigods named Piper and Leo. Together, they faced a terrifying quest where they had to save the goddess Hera from having her force absorbed by Mother Earth Gaea who sought to rise, as our regular cast (comprised of Annabeth, Grover and Tyson) searched frantically for a missing Percy Jackson.

As “The Lost Hero” ends, it is revealed to us that while the events of that book were taking place, Percy Jackson was taking part in the events of another demigod camp (illustrated in “The Son of Neptune”) – one where descendants of the Roman gods train. Both camps had been kept separate because Greek and Roman demigods – although they share godly parents – have different forms of those same gods and tend to get into brutal fights around each other.

In “The Son of Neptune,” Percy Jackson also has no recollection of who he is – apart from his name. He is taken to Camp Jupiter where he is immediately perceived as an outsider, with more than one person knowing who he truly is and refusing to tell him. Soon enough, he finds himself on another quest with Frank, a Chinese-descendant boy with a heavy burden and family secret, and Hazel, a girl with a mysterious past: two demigods with secrets they would like to keep hidden. And as the trio travel to Alaska – a land beyond the protection of the gods – they will grow a tight bond that helps them through all the ordeals they will face to finish their quest and come back to Camp Jupiter before it is destroyed by an army sent by Gaea.

The interesting thing about “The Heroes of Olympus” is that it is way more interesting than “Percy Jackson & The Olympians” book for book. While the first two books in the latter series struggle to keep an older reader interested, these ones do so right off the bat, simply because Rick Riordan doesn’t have the need to establish a readership for them anymore. Those who are reading “The Heroes of Olympus” have already read “Percy Jackson & The Olympians” – and stuck with Percy to the end.

Rick Riordan manages to create interesting new characters without you feeling they are overloaded with too much side story. And in books made out to be a light, breezy read, this helps the purpose while keeping those characters interesting enough for you to keep reading. The main fuel for “The Son of Neptune” – what gets the story going the most – is not the necessary need to advance the plot but rather the small revelations you get about those characters, especially Frank and Hazel.

The Son of Neptune” is a must read for whoever has stuck with Percy Jackson and Rick Riordan up to this point. This is definitely not the time to let go. And being an easy read, it won’t take much of your time, and with it alternating between the points of view of its three protagonists, provides you with different approaches to the plot. There’s everything you search for in a Rick Riordan book in this one: fight scenes, comedy, intrigue… and as usual Riordan delivers.

The third book in “The Heroes of Olympus” series, titled “The Mark of Athena” is scheduled for a Fall 2012 release.

Rick Riordan also has another series out – The Kane Chronicles – about Egyptian Mythology. Check out my reviews for The Red Pyramid and The Throne of Fire from that series.

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