Monday, February 28, 2011

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

(Book #1 of the Heroes of Olympus Series, the second series set in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians world)
Genre: YA fantasy
Pages: 553 (hardcover)
Published: October 2010 by Disney/Hyperion
Recommended for: anyone who loves the Percy Jackson books and Greek/Roman myth

Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?

Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.

Leo has a way with tools. When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about. Weirdest of all, his bunk-mates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god.

My Take:

Why has it taken me, a huge Percy Jackson fan, so long to read The Lost Hero?  I guess I was half-afraid to read it after the disappointment that was The Red Pyramid (Riordan's Egyptian-myth book).  But I'm now re-convinced of Rick Riordan's power-- he writes as brilliantly as ever so long as he sticks to Greek and Roman mythology, it seems. 

This new book is the epic first in a second series featuring the demigod heroes and heroines of Camp Half-Blood.  We have three new main heroes: Jason, who claims to be the son of Jupiter (Zeus's Roman incarnation) and cannot seem to remember how he learned his awesome fighting skills or how he ended up at on a reform high school field trip to the Grand Canyon with a super-hot girlfriend and no knowledge of anything (including his own last name *Carrie Underwood music plays*).  His amnesia doesn't make him any less of a likable, all-around great hero.  Leo is the Grover of this new series-- a funny guy whose mouth works about ten times faster than his brain, which happens to be better wired for tinkering and building incredibly powerful tools and weapons.  He is, after all, the estranged son of Heptaestus, Greek god of the forge and tools.  Piper's the daughter of superstar actor Tristan McLean and a notorious kleptomaniac.  What she doesn't know is that her strange ability to easily convince people to do as she says is a power courtesy of her goddess mother.  The trio arrive at Camp Half-Blood via a rainbow-pony/pegasus-drawn chariot and are immediately swept up in the conspiracies and secrets going down at demi-god summer camp.  Percy Jackson, hero of the Second Titan War and the first series, has mysteriously vanished and the camp is in uproar trying to search for him.  And Piper keeps having nightmarish visions of a new villain whom hails from the very oldest and most sinister Greek myths.  The three campers soon set out on a quest to try and head off this mysterious evil before the world (and Olympus) all goes to hell in another calamity like the Titan War.

I was happy to see plenty of characters from the Percy Jackson series in this book, though none of them really stole any spotlight from the new characters.  Thalia, Annabeth, Chiron, and even Clarisse make brief appearances, though we see nothing of Percy himself.  I also like how the books are delving into the Roman side of mythology now and the gods' various Roman incarnations and myths.  If you love the fast-paced plot and smart, hilarious retellings of myths and characters from Greek myth from the first book series, then you'll love The Lost Hero-- it follows pretty much the exact same storyline centering on a quest.  Throw in a half-dozen jaw-dropping revelations, a trash-talking satyr who masquerades as a track coach, a lot of trademark humor, and an enormous, flying bronze dragon, and you've got a heck of a fun book.  I think it's definitely better to read after the original Percy Jackson series, though, in order to completely 'get' the whole Camp Half-Blood thing-- it's explained way better in the first books.

Cover: 4/5 
Premise: 5/5 
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5


Bridleless said...

glad you reviewed this. i am just now getting into these so i will know to continue on. thanks kat.

Jessi E. (The Elliott Review) said...

It took me a LONG time to read this, too. I just didn't think Red Pyramid or this book looked as good as the original series.. BUT I started listening to The Lost Hero on audiobook in my car, and I am, like you, convinced that Rick Riordan is an amazing genius! I'm somewhere in the middle of the book right now and LOVING IT. To add to the fun, the narrator who is reading it is AMAZIN with doing all the voices and whatnot... LOVE IT!!!

Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

I still need to read Percy Jackson. Glad you enjoyed Riordan's new series :)

Dunlap Librarian said...

Agreed. I think I liked The Red Pryamid more than you, but Riordan is at his best when he's playing in the Greek mythological world (or Roman, hurray!). I'm amazed he got me to care about three new characters...I didn't even miss Percy, which is a huge accomplishment!

T.B. said...

I read and reviewed this one also, and I enjoyed it very much. I was reluctant to read it at first also, because I was worried it would dissapoint me. However, I though that The Lost Hero was even BETTER than the Percy Jackson series. Can't wait for the sequel! Thanks for your review!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Nice review. I haven't read the Percy Jackson books, but I'm glad the new series is just as fun for you and I'll definitely have to try these out (first series first of course) as soon as I cana. :-)

-Let's Get Beyond Tolerance

Kat said...

@Jessi E-- I rarely listen to audio books, but I know a good reader makes all the difference! Glad you enjoyed the book and the audio lives up expectations. :)

@Brideless-- The first series are really excellent. Hope you enjoy them!

TB@ I'm not sure if I like Lost Hero BETTER than the Percy Jackson series, but it's every bit as brilliant. I appreciate how much longer it is, too-- love a good tome. :)

Liz said...

Dang, you took the words right out of my mouth. I'll just say that I agree with everything u said. :)

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