Reading wrap-up #19: Heroes of Olympus edition

This reading wrap-up with be another series review, this time with Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus. This is the sequel to the Percy Jackson series, but introduces new characters and ties in Roman mythology and its relationship to Greek history.

For this post, as it’s a series, I will not be shy with plot spoilers as the plot of subsequent books relies on prior books, so beware! I used e-book (borrowed from library via Overdrive or purchased from Amazon Kindle store) as well as audio (for about 50% of the 4th and last books) to read these books.

As a reminder, here’s how I rate my books:

  • (★★★★★): Loved it
  • (★★★★): Really liked it
  • (★★★): Liked it enough
  • (★★): Didn’t care for it

Without further ado, here’s what I thought of the second Percy Jackson series:

The Lost Hero

91VCdXKM3DLRating: ★★★★

GoodReads rating: 4.35 / 5 (564,000 ratings)

Summary: Jason wakes up not knowing where he is, or who he is for that matter, until a Camp Half-Blood extraction team finds him and his friends and delivers them to a demigod safe haven. Jason, Leo and Piper are the obvious candidates for a quest that will challenge their friendship and forces greater than the gods themselves. Meanwhile, heroes we know from the previous series are searching for the vanished Percy Jackson.

Thoughts: YES! I was hoping they’d do something with Gaea. I recently re-read the Percy Jackson series for the first time since my childhood and enjoyed it and this book was just as fresh. Plenty of action, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously with the trigger-happy satyrs and humorous dialogue. As we all know, I’m also a big fan of multiple point of views, but the book still remains in the third person with different narrations given glimpses into the minds of the different characters. This book really paved the way for the rest of the series, tapped into my nostalgia and left me wanting more (where is Percy?!).

The Son of Neptune

9781423141990_1Rating: ★★★★

GoodReads rating: 4.44 / 5 (375,000 ratings)

Summary: Like Jason, Percy finds himself in unfamiliar territory not knowing who he is. At the Roman camp for demigods, Percy meets Hazel, who has a terrible curse and Frank, who has godly lineage on both sides of his family, giving him extra special powers… for a price. Monsters and other foes won’t stay dead, posing a constant threat to both Greek and Roman demigods. Percy, Hazel and Frank must close the Doors of Death beyond the reach of the gods in Alaska to restore balance.

Thoughts: First of all, the fact that a lot of this book takes place in Alaska, I’m a fan of as I work there half the year (even the more remote location of Seward is a port where a lot of my friends have visited). This book again kept me interested and engaged with few “slow” parts and especially excited for the next book where the Greek and Roman demigods unite.

The Mark of Athena

JacketRating: ★★★

GoodReads rating: 4.45 / 5 (407,000 ratings)

Summary: With Roman Hazel, Frank and Jason and Greek Percy, Annabeth, Piper and Leo united for a quest, the head to the ancient lands of Rome to free their friend Nico di Angelo and complete a special task that will unite the Greek and Roman demigods preparing for war against each other. The Mark of Athena has been followed for millennia by chosen children of the goddess, and Annabeth must face this task alone.

Thoughts: I must admit, this book lost me at parts, I think having seven main characters is a bit overwhelming. Sure, other books like Harry Potter have lots of characters, but a lot of them are secondary and don’t have to be accounted for in every single chapter. The first half of the book was rather forgettable, perhaps because with the other quests they had clear stopping points (in the last book, from the Bay Area to Alaska they stopped in Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and Anchorage with distinct tasks in each, making the book chronology quite clear). However, with so many demigods, one aspect I did really appreciate was the fact the in all the points of view, each demigod felt down on themselves, useless and insufficient compared to the others, which is a great point of connection to the audience. We have all felt down on ourselves at one point or another, but our friends are always supportive and think we’re more than enough. With these YA books, it’s hard to be objective because I’m not the target audience, so I try to think, “would 14-year-old Rachel enjoy this?” and if it can’t keep 24-year-old Rachel engaged (it took me about two weeks to read this when I was interested enough to bust out the other two in a manner of days), it certainly wouldn’t cut it for 14-year-old Rach.

The House of Hades

91mICntlu+LRating: ★★★★

GoodReads rating: 4.55 / 5 (229,000 reviews)

Summary: With Percy and Annabeth marooned in the pit of Tartarus, the deepest point in the Underworld, they meet an old Titan foe that helps them to the Hades side of the Doors of Death. Meanwhile, the other six demigods race to the House of Hades to open the Doors of Death on the mortal side to prevent monsters from reforming. Along the way, Hazel discovers a newfound power and Leo makes a possible fateful promise to a new friend.

Thoughts: Oh my gosh, we are back, baby! The third book was losing me a bit but this one got me so excited for the final installment. This book is quite dark and definitely meant for a slightly older audience than the original series. I enjoyed the two distinct settings, the Underworld and around Europe, that allowed for two separate yet connect storylines coming together in the end. It really kept the character’s narratives in line and allowed for a lot of development. In this book, a character comes out for having feelings for another character of the same sex and the others are very supportive, saying it’s the bravest thing they’ve ever seen. This is a great message for the younger audience and pulled my heartstrings. There is so much build-up in this series and I can’t wait to see how it all pans out. Will Leo keep his promise to a scorned goddess? Will Franks lifeline be his downfall? How will all the demigods work together with the gods to stop the unthinkable forces?

The Blood of Olympus

1423155149Rating: ★★★★

GoodReads rating: 4.42 / 5 (172,000 ratings)

Summary: While the seven demigods prepare for the final battle, they seek out the physician’s cure to prevent the foretold death of one of their own and help from the Gods to bring down the giants. On the other side of the world, Reyna and Nico attempt to deliver a peace offering before the two demigod camps go to war with each other.

Thoughts: What a great way to end the series. My main problems with the last book of the first series included too many introductions of new characters and plot points that seemed convenient more than anything. This series did exactly the opposite: tied up all loose ends and answered questions about the series in a satisfactory way that also gave us a warm fuzzy feeling thinking about the future of our beloved characters.

I enjoyed reading this series. It’s not going to change my worldview and probably won’t recommend it to just anyone, but if you enjoyed the original series, are feeling nostalgic and have time for a series of slightly longer books, give it a whirl! It was light, yet serious at parts, amazing for character development and series build-up.

Have you read any of the Percy Jackson books?


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