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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost HeroThe Lost Hero
Written by Rick Riordan
Release Date: October 12, 2010
Publisher: Hyperion
NOT a publisher requested review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary (courtesy of Barnes and Noble):
     After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:
   Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
   To storm or fire the world must fall.
   An oath to keep with a final breath,
   And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.
     Now, in a brand-new series from blockbuster best-selling author Rick Riordan, fans return to the world of Camp Half-Blood. Here, a new group of heroes will inherit a quest. But to survive the journey, they’ll need the help of some familiar demigods.
An enjoyable book that is easy to get wrapped up in, but clings a little too tightly to the Percy Jackson series to really stand on it's own. Full review after the jump. WARNING: SPOILERS!

I'll start by saying this: I am a fan of the Percy Jackson series. I enjoyed the books, even though they were a bit Harry Potter-esque, and saw the series through to the end gladly. I was very excited to hear that Rick Riordan was writing a companion series to the Percy Jackson books that would start out with older heroes, because my biggest complaint about the Percy Jackson books was that the characters were younger than they seemed on paper. That is not a complaint in this book. The teens in this offering are perfectly age appropriate at 15, which makes the characterization a bit more realistic to me. Plus, it makes the book feel a bit more grown up.

Being a fan of the Percy Jackson series, I was excited that there would be reference and possible involvement of the characters from the first series. I did not, however, expect most of the book to cling so hard to the original story. It felt like you wouldn't get much of what was going on if you hadn't read the Percy Jackson books. I feel like a series like this should be able to stand on it's own without depending so heavily on what happened in previous books. In some parts, it really did feel like a different series, with the Roman personae of the gods, but in other parts, it felt like you needed to pull out your copy of The Last Olympian to really know what they were talking about. I don't mind that so much in a sequel, but in a separate series, it bugs me.

The book is fast paced and easy to read. I tore through it in two days, with breaks for my busy life. The writing is clean and crisp, packed with action, emotion and wit. It's an enjoyable story with characters you can really learn to love. I especially found myself attached to Leo, the fire-making son of Hephaestus. I identified with a lot of how he felt and his tumultuous childhood. I also really dug the female lead, Piper, who was a daughter of Aphrodite. She was strong, proud and powerful, and willing to stand up for what's right in the face of some pretty serious foes. I would have liked to see more of Jason and what lead him up to this point in the book, but his amnesia made that difficult. I guess I'll have to wait for the next book, The Son of Neptune, to find out more about him. The next book is due out later this year.

All in all, I liked the book and am pretty excited about the next stage in the story. I wish it was less dependent on the Percy Jackson series, but I think as it develops, it will take on an identity of it's own as a series. Definitely worth a trip to the library.

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