YES! Percy is back!
Running from gorgons that just don’t seem to die, Percy Jackson carries a hippie bag lady through the Caldecott tunnel, to find Camp Jupiter, a safe haven for Roman demigods. Turns out the gorgons aren’t the only ones resisting death, and Percy, with Frank Zhang and Hazel Levesque, is charged with finding Thanatos, the god of death, who has been captured. Once free, the dead will stay dead.
But there are quite a few complications. An army lead by a giant is marching towards Camp Jupiter, Percy’s only memory is of a girl named Annabeth, Frank is paranoid about fire, Hazel keeps blacking out, and some guy named Jason Grace is missing.
This plot is pretty much standard quest plot. List of obstacles to defeat, deadline, character development. What makes it entertaining, though, is Riordan’s usual spin on Greek Myths. It makes familiar situations new and exciting.
What’s also interesting is that Riordan explores outside traditional mythology by giving Hazel the backstory she has. I’m quite sure her story or something similar has not been featured before in Greek myths, at the very least not in this manner. It’s original, and exciting to read about.
Speaking of Hazel and new things, unlike a certain Roman demigod I’ve already met, I adore the new cast. Hazel has the darkest past, and yet is sweet and down to earth. Frank is the most sheltered demigod, and a complete misfit, and his wakeup call to the reality of danger and responsibility is handled very well. Reyna, Octavian, and Ella are just amazing side characters, well developed, good backstories, and thought-out motivations.
And Percy. I thought I’d seen the max of his characterization. But I never knew how other people percieved him until this book. I mean, Percy’s a freaking force of nature, he kicks badass just by being there, and good gracious Hazel, he looks like a god? I mean, I knew Percy was awesome, but he’s this awesome? Thank you, Riordan.
The writing in this book is solid. The pacing was perfect, I was never bored, what was emotional was emotional, what was epic was epic. I think what made this exponentially better than The Lost Hero was that by now it is official what’s really going on. The Romans know about the Greeks, so people suspect something’s up, instead of just hemming and hawing. Riordan spends more time making inside jokes and important references, just making for a more entertaining and cohesive storyline. (See Reyna’s backstory.)
Recommendation: Bookmarked For Life. My favourite book in HoO.