In book two of The Heroes of Olympus cycle, Riordan comes through on the perceived promise of keeping things as exciting as in The Percy Jackson and the Olympians cycle. I’ve already discussed my lack of enthusiasm over the Kane Chronicles so I’ll move right in to this review/summary/pontification.
This novel takes place immediately after the events of The Lost Hero. However, rather than continuing with Leo, Piper and Jason we finally get to catch up with Percy Jackson. Not only do we not find out what happened over the past eight months, he was apparently sleeping, but he also appears with very little recollection of who he is and what he’s done in the recent past. (However, he knows more than Jason – I guess because his story was already written.) Instead of waking up in Camp Half-Blood, he is on the run from various monsters and steadily making his way to Camp Jupiter – a Roman demigod camp located somewhere in California – where all Greeks face a cold welcome.
Like in The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune revolves around three protagonists with various minor characters (and some major characters from The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series) making appearances. Told from the perspective of Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon/Neptune, Frank Zhang, son of Mars/Ares, and Hazel Levesque, daughter of Pluto/Hades, this novel is more action-packed and less focused on remembering than the first novel in this new cycle.
Although I felt Leo and Piper were great additions in this new series, I feel like Frank and Hazel added a different dimension. All four are uniquely interesting and bring different perspectives to the story, however I have to ask why Riordan included them. It was almost as if someone told him that Percy Jackson and the Olympians was too white and that there was a need for minority characters, or perhaps he realized this on his own. It just seemed like a lot of diversity piled into the last three novels of Riordan’s that I met – when maybe it was there before and it just wasn’t this explicit.
I particularly enjoyed this novel as I learned more about the Roman pantheon. I can usually remember the ‘major’ gods and goddesses, but don’t necessarily always remember their correlating Greek name/personality. I think any book is great that teaches young people about ancient history, without them realizing they are learning ancient history. For example, I never realized a lot of the Greek pantheon remained in Roman times, but reduced to minor-god/-goddess stature.
As for the ‘writing,’ Riordan continues to perfect his first person narration with the three narrators in this novel. The voices are distinct and keep the reader refreshed as we’re not listening to the same voice throughout the entire book.
Recommendation: Definitely read it. If you enjoy literature aimed at young adults, or if you enjoy Greek or Roman mythology, or if you just enjoy a fun book that’s easy to read and is full of action and adventure you should definitely check it out.
Opening Line: “The snake-haired ladies were starting to annoy Percy.”
Closing Line: “He threw one arm around Hazel and one arm around Frank. ‘Come on,’ he said. ‘Let me introduce you to my other family.'” (Whited out.)