Monday, 13 December 2010

Guest review - The Lost Hero

Today I have a guest review from a fellow blogger. When Darryl asked about having a guest review on my site, I was excited to be able to post something different and to read something from a male point of view. You can find Darryl's details and how to find him at the bottom of the review.

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan was published by Puffin and available from all good book stores. The hardcover edition is 560 pages in length and was released on the 12th of October 2010.

Here it is, the eagerly anticipated sequel to the Percy Jackson and Olympians series by Rick Riordan. That series was HUGE (just forget about the unspeakable movie adaptation) and I have been waiting for this for months after working my way through the entire Percy Jackson series in about a month and a half. Probably, the only good aspect of a coming to a series is late is getting to wolf down all the instalments with little to no waiting.

Plot
As the story of a new hero opens, all is not well at Camp Half Blood. Percy has disappeared without a trace and things just seem to be getting worse all around with the repercussions of the last Titan war still being felt by the campers. Three new Demi-gods are ‘discovered’ but one has a past so mysterious even he can’t remember it. These three Demi-gods Jason, Piper and Leo are quickly catapulted off on their first quest, reeling from the knowledge that Jason, who was supposed to be Piper’s boyfriend and Leo’s best friend, is in fact a total stranger to them and their memories were created by the Mist (a special magic that prevents mortals from seeing monsters and other magical phenomenon).

As the quest continues, it appears that there is a secret that threatens the future of all Demi-gods and the world alike. Will the heroes stay alive long enough to figure out this secret, will Jason retrieve his memories, will Leo and Piper exorcise the demons of their past all will be revealed in the Lost Hero?

What I thought
The book was quite a read. Let me first go on record as saying I am a huge fan of the initial Percy Jackson series so this book probably didn’t have far to go to impress me. It surpassed by expectations though as an exciting read and expanded upon a universe that I already loved. This book also adopts the perspective of the three main characters, each taking two chapters in a row. I have noticed a lot of series adopting this approach, allowing you to properly delve into the mind of the characters. The Twilight series did this although it was only in one book of the series.

At first this new approach annoyed me as I expected this series to be the same as the Percy Jackson series it followed on from. I then realised that there is no point in standing still and I now appreciate that Riordan wanted to pull out all the stops and make this series unique and for it to offer something more than say, just another adventure from the first series.

The story is as intricate as those usually in the Olympians series but as always, you the reader, will make the connections a little before the characters themselves. There is an underlying secret that makes this series unique, which took me half the book before to figured out but you might do it sooner.

Jason Grace
The leader of the quest and struggling to deal with his amnesia and his destiny. I liked him but found him very different to Percy Jackson, which is reflected in their circumstances perhaps. You can tell that he does not want to be the man with that much responsibility but that he is prepared to do so for the sake of his friends. As his own back-story gets some light shed on it, you understand the trials that he has gone through and begin to see that he and Percy Jackson are similar characters.

Piper McLean
A girl with a rebellious streak and a need to constantly seek her father’s attention. The trauma of the disappearance of Piper’s godly mother has left its mark on both Piper and her father. I was also interested by her and her father’s struggle with their racial identity it was not something you expect in a YA novel.

Leo Valdez
At first I was very worried that Leo came across as the stereotypical Latin American but the character grew in my estimation as more and more chapters were devoted to the telling of his story and his truly tragic past. Both Leo and Piper also serve to show us the reader that not all of the demigods of a particular parent are the same which sometimes seemed to be the case in the original series it is nice to step away from the idea of stereotypical children of Hephaestus or Aphrodite.

So to sum up I highly recommend this book and the series it starts with one provision. Reading this before reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians would be a very bad idea as this series assumes that you have knowledge of the previous series and makes too many references back.


My name is Darryl and I have a blog at http://shaftsword.blogspot.com/

Where I discuss US TV, books, anime and manga and a whole lot of talk around World of Warcraft. You can also follow my ramblings @shaftsword on Twitter.


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