Book Review – the Son of Neptune

The Heroes of Olympus Book 2

By Rick Riordan

Published by Disney Hyperion

Copyright © 2011

Fans of the original Percy Jackson and the Olympians series will be happy to see that Percy Jackson is back. In book one of “The Heroes of Olympus” we were introduced to a Roman demigod named Jason Grace. He showed up at camp half-blood with amnesia and was selected by Juno to go on a quest, because once again the world of the God’s is in danger. Juno is up to her old tricks again, and she has given Percy amnesia and sent him on a cultural exchange to the Roman Camp, Camp Jupiter. He, along with two Roman demigods, will go on a quest to prove that the God’s really do need the demigods help in defeating their common foe.

The defeat of the Titans has angered their mother, Gaea. Gaea is the earth goddess, also known as mother earth, and she isn’t as friendly as her title makes her sound. She and her son, the giant Alcyoneus, have captured the gatekeeper of the dead, Thanatos, and now anyone that Gaea sees as useful is being freed from death and are wreaking havoc on the gods and demigods. Monsters just won’t stay dead no matter how many times they are killed, and they are being gathered together under the command of Gaea, Alcyoneus, and her other son the giant Polybotes.

This brings us to Percy’s quest. Thanatos must be freed so he can do his job and mighty Alcyoneus must be destroyed. There are problems though, Alcyoneus is keeping Thanatos in a land beyond the reach of the Gods; he is being kept in… Alaska! To make matters worse, Alcyoneus cannot be destroyed while he is in his own land. Fortunately, Percy will have two demigods with him that will be more than up to the task. Even though Hazel and Frank are members of a cohort 5, a Roman military group at Camp Jupiter which seems to be reserved for losers, they have powers that will be more beneficial than anyone can know. They are the only ones who can possibly help bring Alcyoneus down.

I’m not going to give away who Frank and Hazel’s parents are or what powers they possess; that is half the fun of Riordan’s books. I will however reveal that Hazel has a very close connection to Alcyoneus, and that Frank has one of the coolest powers yet revealed in any of the Olympian/Olympus books due in part to his Chinese heritage.

There is nothing new in Riordan’s plots: A riddle describing a job that needs to be done along with the perils it will bring will be read, and three demigods will go on a quest to defeat some evil God/Titan/Giant/Monster/Etc. There will be battles and one or all of the three quest members will at some point have to make a difficult decision which will in the end help them defeat their foe.

As plain and simple as this may sound, Riordan continues to make it special because he always adds something new. For instance in this book he has delved a little deeper into Roman Myth. He has introduced a new camp and a new enemy. As with Camp Half Blood, the members of Camp Jupiter have gods for parents and they have different powers too. In addition Riordan has set this new quest in the Pacific Northwest; a place very much different from New York or San Francisco. If that wasn’t enough, he throws in the aforementioned Chinese ties and some Amazon action. Riordan blends these things so effortlessly that you can’t help but be interested.

The Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series are not the most compelling books that I’ve ever read. But there is something to be said for the level of comfort he creates with the characters, while still giving us tons of action, and enough new material to suck us in. Now I’m ready to see how the prophecy unfolds in his next book:

“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.”

My Rating: 3.5

Rating System:

0. Couldn’t even finish it.
1. Got through it but barely.
2. Fair – Not good but not bad.
3. Good – Worth reading once
4. Very Good – Entertaining/Useful might read again if bored
5. Excellent – I would read it again with pleasure

Half points are awarded for books that are slightly better than the numbers description.

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