Do you ever have a series of books that you wish could go on forever, and, at the same time, you can’t wait for the next one? That’s how I’ve been with Rick Riordan’s books featuring Percy Jackson, first, the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, now The Heroes of Olympus series. These books never disappoint me. The Son of Neptune, book two in The Heroes of Olympus, is just as fast-paced as the previous ones, with interesting new characters, and Riordan’s unique view of mythology. I couldn’t put it down.
For eight months, Percy Jackson hasn’t known who he is. His only memory is of Annabeth, a name from his past. He’s been tutored by wolves, and he starts his new adventures with a fight with gorgons. But, it’s a meeting with an old lady who asks him to carry her across a stream that kicks off his latest quest. That lady turns out to be Juno, and he’s only rescued because two young demigods at Camp Jupiter, a Roman camp, allow him to enter. And, even then, they have to fight their way in.
That’s Percy’s introduction to Hazel and Frank, two semi-disgraced demigods who haven’t really earned their way into the camp. Hazel is the daughter of Pluto, and she’s under a curse, due to the actions of her mother. Frank, a clumsy big young man, hasn’t been claimed by his father yet. His grandmother said he was the descendant of heroes, but he certainly doesn’t recognize any heroism in himself.
But, it’s the teamwork the three show in the war games in the camp that reveal their destiny. Frank’s father shows up, and sends the three on a quest, saying armies are marching on behalf of the goddess Gaea. She’ll awake on the Feast of Fortuna, in just five days. In order to stop her, the three must journey to Alaska, north where no gods can help them, and free Thanatos from the chains where one of Gaea’s giant sons imprison him. With Thanatos in chains, the dead no longer die, and Gaea can use them in her army.
In previous books, Riordan told the stories of the Greek gods. Now, with Percy Jackson in Camp Jupiter, the Roman gods come to the forefront. The Roman demigods are leery about trusting Percy, first as the son of Neptune, then later, as a Greek. But, it’s Percy’s fate to bring together the Roman and Greek demigods. It’s the only way the Prophecy of Seven can be fulfilled. “Seven half-bloods will answer the call. To storm or fire the world must fall. An oath to keep with a fnal breath, and foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.”
Riordan always manages to create new, fascinating characters. The demigods, Hazel and Frank, are no exception. They have backstories we haven’t seen, and ancestry we haven't seen in the stories before. And, Riordan’s female characters are as intriguing as his male ones, just as capable in a fight, and just an ingenious. Mars, Ares’ Roman counterpart, is quite different in his Roman form, much more impressive, even likable.
Riordan’s books are fast-paced, imaginative stories with great humor as well as suspense. I tore through The Son of Neptune because I couldn’t put it down. I only regret that I have to wait until next fall for book three, The Mark of Athena.
Rick Riordan’s website is www.rickriordan.com
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan. Hyperion Books. ©2011. ISBN 9781423140597 (hardcover), 521p.
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