16 June 2014

Reading Adventures with Nora Oliver: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

About Nora Oliver
Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed. G.K. Chesterton

Hi and Hello! Name's Nora Oliver. Born in the great Year of the Pig! I was sorted into Ravenclaw, and have the personality of an Earthbender. It takes vast amounts of energy to be boring. "What's the point of language if you don't say what you mean?"
Have you ever had Italian food the next day? While you were sitting at the Olive Garden enjoying your fill, you didn’t exactly savor how delectable your chicken fettuccini was. Then, next day you fumble to microwave the leftovers and realize how AWESOME that chicken fettuccini is? Sorry, I’m a little hungry while typing this. Anyway, the main point of this is that Rick Riordan is like Italian food the next day, even better. This is my second time reading The Lost Hero and I have to say I enjoyed it much more the second time than I did the first time.

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

Piper has a secret. Her father 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.

Conflict, conflict and conflict! Anyone who knows Riordan or has read Percy Jackson and the Olympians beforehand knows that Riordan does not beat around the bush when it comes to developing conflict(s) and monster fighting. This series by Riordan is a tad different in the way it is told. Instead of the first person Percy point of view that his fans are so accustomed to, we flip to and fro from the third person point of view of the three major characters: Jason, Piper, and Leo. One major thing I love about Riordan is the way he writes combat. It’s never too hard to follow and the imagery with it makes you feel that you’re in the battle instead of watching it. One would think that switching so quickly between perspectives would limit the scope of events as the story is being told, but this is not the case.

(Past this point there will be spoilers!)

So, let’s discuss my likes and other likes of The Lost Hero. Firstly, my favorite character is Leo Valdez. He’s a tiny little ball of fire (pun intended). As a son of Hephaestus, the Greek god of fire, crafts and blacksmiths, Leo keeps the humor in the trio even when it is not necessarily the right time. I enjoy that Leo deals with a lot of internal struggle and this comes out full force when reading his chapters. Losing his mother at such a young age and flitting from foster home to foster home, my inner Psychology major wants nothing more than to give him a hug and talk about his use of humor as a defensive mechanism as well as his issues with inadequacy. (One of his best friends is the son of Zeus, it is understandable that he feels lesser. Even though in my opinion he’s top dog.)

Character wise, you all know how I feel about females in stories. I have a certain level of contempt for any female in any story because of the stereotypical cliché of “damsel in distress”. For Piper McLean she is far from a damsel in distress, which I adore. Her mother is Aphrodite, which in its own brings about a certain stigma. Children of Aphrodite are not seen as clever, or to be of any use other than makeup, clothes, and relationships. Piper is the exact opposite of her heritage. She’s definitely a fighter more than she is a lover. Being the center of attention makes her uneasy, even though she is undeniably beautiful and should be the center of attention. Instead, Piper chooses to accent her ability to think and not be a complete airhead. She’s powerful and isn’t cocky about it. Guys, I love a humble hero.

Finally, there’s Jason Grace. The son of Zeus deals with many issues of his own. For one, he lost his memory. Well, more appropriately had them STOLEN (I love dramatics) and throughout the story deals with constant brain farts. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a grand character; very strong and the best warrior. But, he’s a character we’ve all seen develop before. “It’s so hard being a son of a god of the Big 3!” It is. Literally everyone is telling you that you should not have been born. Awkward. However, I think that is why I’m softly apathetic to Jason. His struggle is real but I’ve seen it before.

I can’t wait to start reading the next book, Son of Neptune. I’ve also already read the second book, just recapping before I begin the third book. This whole idea of Roman demigods vs. Greek demigods is so clever if I think too hard about it I am really excited! I have to take small break to finish The Raven Cycle, which I’m still hella excited about. I’m just an easily excitable person, if you can’t tell.

More adventuring to come,