23 October 2010

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up on a school bus holding hands with a girl. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper. His best friend is a kid named Leo, and they’re all students in the Wilderness School, a boarding school for “bad kids”, as Leo puts it. What he did to end up here, Jason has no idea — except that everything seems very wrong.

Piper has a secret. Her father, a famous actor, has been missing for three days, and her vivid nightmares reveal that he’s in terrible danger. Now her boyfriend doesn’t recognize her, and when a freak storm and strange creatures attack during a school field trip, she, Jason, and Leo are whisked away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood. What is going on?

Leo has a way with tools. His new cabin at Camp Half-Blood is filled with them. Seriously, the place beats Wilderness School hands down, with its weapons training, monsters, and fine-looking girls. What’s troubling is the curse everyone keeps talking about, and that a camper’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist they are all—including Leo—related to a god.
Without a doubt I can say that any and all fans of the Percy Jackson series will eagerly, and without regret, fall into this fresh, exciting adventure starring three new heroes.  And perhaps you haven't read the Percy Jackson series yet.  Are you interested in, or a fan of, Greek myth and mythology?  If yes, here is a book that will stimulate your sense of adventure and heroism and quench your thirst for Greek mythology.

One of the major differences I saw between the Percy Jackson series and this first installment in the Heroes of Olympus series is the level of maturity in the characters.  Percy and his friends in the Percy Jackson series grew from age 12 to 16 and so, as an audience, we see a lot of the senseless twists and turns that adolescents take as they grow older.  Here, Jason, Piper, and Leo are already teenagers, and their senseless twists and turns have a deeper, sometimes darker undercurrent to them.  Instead of working on becoming teenagers, they're working on becoming adults, and the story reflects that.

Despite the shift in maturity, The Lost Hero shares the same eccentric plot twists that were all but trademarked in the Percy Jackson series.  Oh, you're starting to get bored?  FLYING BURRITO.  This field trip a little too mainstream?  GET STRUCK BY LIGHTNING.  If there is one consistency to a Rick Riordan story, it is that random things will happen -- often, and mostly without warning.

Another major difference is the fact that The Lost Hero introduces multiple points of view.  Whereas Percy dominated the Percy Jackson series (go figure, right?), Jason, Piper, and Leo each had their own appropriate voices and corresponding subplots.  Funnily enough, though, Jason, Piper, and Leo mimicked Percy, Annabeth, and Grover in a lot of ways.  We have the natural leader, the stubborn girl, and the hilarious best friend.  These characters were just as lovable as the Percy Jackson Golden Trio.

And as always, it would not be a Rick Riordan book if there wasn't a massive, classic cliffhanger ending.  As with his eccentric plot turns, we can at least rely on a book a year. 

The Lost Hero begins the wonderfully exciting, twisting, but utterly thrilling and charming tale of seven demigods on their way to save the fate of the world.

Favorite Quotes:
"I hate to tell you this," Jason said, "but I think your leopard just ate a goddess." (p. 94)
It took special talent to run over yourself with a surfboard. (p. 108)
"Can we just call them storm spirits?" Leo asked.  "Venti makes them sound like evil espresso drinks." (p. 192)
"So, giants who can throw mountains.  Friendly wolves that will eat us if we show weakness.  Evil espresso drinks.  Gotcha.  Maybe this isn't the time to bring up my psycho babysitter." (p. 194)
If Piper started getting urges to read fashion magazines, she was going to have to find Aphrodite and smack her. (p. 245)
"What about a compromise?  I'll kill them first, and if it turns out they were friendly, I'll apologize." (p. 250)
Book Info:
  • pages - hardcover, 576
  • published - October 2010
  • publisher - Hyperion Books for Children
  • series - The Heroes of Olympus #1
    • The Lost Hero
    • The Son of Neptune
    • The Mark of Athena
    • The House of Hades
    • The Blood of Olympus
  • genre - fantasy
  • received via - Borders
  • rating - 5/5