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The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune

21 Dec

TEAM GREEKS

Jason Grace finds himself in a field trip to the Grand Canyon with his “girlfriend” Piper McLean and “best friend”  Leo Valdez. Unfortunately, he does not recall both of them or where and why is he there in the first place.  Suddenly attacked by monsters which captured their guardian satyr Coach Gleeson,  Annabeth arrives to save the three teenagers and transport them to Camp Half-Blood.  The mystery deepens as the three newcomers get claimed by their respective parent god; Piper is the daughter of Aphrodite; Leo is the son of Hephaestus; and Jason Grace had previously been claimed by Jupiter, Zeus’s Roman persona. Chiron tells Jason that he should be dead but explains no more.  Complicating matters, Hera has been captured by unknown forces bent on waking Gaea, the goddess of the earth. The three demigods rush into a quest to save Hera. Unknown to both Jason and Leo, Piper wrestles loyalty and betrayal to her friends as she was initially visited in her dreams by Enceladus, who demanded that she deliver Jason Grace in exchange for her father. Encountering unhelpful gods and popular Greek personalities along the way, the three just arrive in time before the giant Porphyrion gets raised from Tartarus, and finally solve the mystery of who really is Jason Grace.

TEAM ROMANS

Percy Jackson, Son of Neptune, finds himself in Camp Jupiter after being chased by Gorgons. The monsters seem unable to die and kept coming back.  His arrival raised suspicions among the Romans.  Unlikely patrons, Juno and Mars, apparently vouched for the demigod to lead a quest to free the death god, Thanatos; prevent Alcyoneus’s horde of giants from attacking the Roman camp; and then lull Gaea back to slumber. Aided by friends Hazel (daughter of Hades) and Frank (son of Mars), Percy leads his team to Alaska where the gods have no power.  Percy’s friends discover little by little the meanings of their tragedies and attributes as they surge on to their goal. meanwhile, Percy gets his memory back after foiling Phineas in a deadly gamble.  As they get closer to Alaska, Percy receives hazy pictures from Grover, Tyson, Annabeth, and three other demigods, who have been searching for him for months.  After defeating Alcyoneus and freeing Thanatos, celebrations in Camp Jupiter was cut short with the arrival of their mortal enemy, the Greeks.  Reyna, the praetor, is put in an sticky situation on whether to attack their sworn enemies or accept them as allies to fight Gaea.  The two camps now face the question: will they be able to trust each other work alongside each other at all?

For those who haven’t read these books, I advise you to read it simultaneously.  It was good fortune I read The Lost Hero right just after The Son of Neptune came out.  Excellent timing because I could have tore my hair  out just thinking of what happened to Percy Jackson.

The Lost Hero was a bit alien to me, maybe because the focus is on the new characters.  Even with the familiarity of Camp Half-Blood and its inhabitants, I felt lost like Annabeth because I also missed Percy Jackson. Percy, though not in the book, was often discussed and alluded to and I felt like wringing a tree or banging my head just thinking where on earth was he.  Of  the three new characters, I liked Leo because of his McGyver-ish/ Inspector Gadget capabilities. Piper and Jason Grace didn’t make much of an impact to me because I feel like looking at a prom queen and king. Yes there were funny moments, but mostly it felt more like high school with the bickering and popularity thing going on in the Aphrodite cabin and the lovey-dovey angle between Jason and Piper. I guess if you put a daughter of the goddess of love in the plot, it can’t be helped. Thank God for Leo, because he supplied the humor and the action. He is one cool dude. As for the damsel in distress of the story, like everybody else in this series, I don’t like Hera. So like Annabeth, I don’t feel the need saving her. Unfortunately, the fate of the world’s existence depended on it. So grudgingly I had to say “okay, let’s go along with this.”

When I finally moved on to The Son of Neptune, the first pages did not disappoint. I wanted Percy Jackson in all his glory and yes, I got it. With gorgons on the side.  But what made this book better than The Lost Hero was the other two demigods – Hazel and Frank. Maybe it’s because their parents, Hades and Mars, are both difficult and unlikeable characters in the mythologies, and they presented more complications to their children. Sharing a blood line to these two gods seems a curse.  Hazel’s situation was particularly interesting as a daughter of Hades because she controls the riches of the earth. Her powers sound wonderful yet it’s actually more of a tragedy – it made her life more miserable.  On the other hand, Frank’s mysterious family history will make you wonder. His powers comes out near the very end of the book (and I agree with Percy when he complained) because it is so cool.  Then there is of course the one who needed saving – Thanatos. The idea of not saving Death is tempting, but as you read along you have to agree there is a need for death – unless you want the monsters coming back at you after blowing them up to smithereens.  Percy understood this pretty much after the constant pestering he got from the gorgon, Stheno (samples of Cheese n’ Wieners, anyone?).  I like the premise. Aside from our major characters,  there are extras like the adorably funny, Ella the Harpy, and cameo appearance of Nico Di Angelo, son of Hades.

There was one scene in the book I particularly love:  Nico puts his finger on his lips and all the ghosts shut up. So cool.

I hope Mr. Riordan’s next book comes out soon.  The ending was a cliffhanger.

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Posted by on December 21, 2011 in Rick Riordan

 

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