And so we’re back with Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series. This time, we’re racing along with the heroes, trying to get to the House of Hades in Greece to close the doors of death! Many obstacles stand in our way and things can go horribly wrong at any minute. Percy and Annabeth are stuck in Tartarus for the while, trying to navigate the underworld and stay alive as they plod on towards the doors of death. If they are not careful, they can be vanquished at any time by one of the numerous monsters that pop up all over the place since Tartarus is their turf.
Then there are the other demigods aboard Argo II. They all have their issues and insecurities and love interests. They’ve battled mountain giants/gods, weird-looking cow monsters, pesky dwarfs, and frigid opponents. Still, they always find the time to say how much they admire/love/care for each other, seeming to never get pissed off at each other’s fuck-ups while they continue on this stressful journey.
And then there’s Nico, off in a corner, lonely, tortured by unrequited love. Poor kid. Back in the states, the demigod camps are gearing up for battle because that’s what they do. They have nothing better to think about as Gaea threatens to end the world. Apparently, it’s better to eliminate each other now so Gaea can easily cross that task off her list.
This installment was a more enjoyable read than The Mark of Athena. The major reason being that it didn’t ooze with claims of how much the characters love their boyfriends/girlfriends and can’t exist without them. I seriously almost stopped reading The Mark of Athena because of that. In this installment, the characters’ minds did flit to their significant others often but the romantic interests did not overpower the story. Of course, Percy and Annabeth are an exception because they can never stop thinking of each other. Especially when they are stranded in Tartarus with monsters popping up all over the place and their only protection is a giant who might regain his memory and turn on them at any moment. In such cases, Percy and Annabeth must always think of each other and their love for each other and how perfect/imperfect they are for each other. I almost skipped their parts.
Speaking of Percy, I think I like him better in his own series. In this installment, he comes off a bit gossipy to me. The characters from Camp Jupiter and Piper and Leo are wary of Nico because of what Percy has told them. And it seems Percy has told everything there is to know about Nico, even things that are a bit sensitive to be shared so liberally, such as Nico’s attempt to bring his sister back from the dead. Of course, this is the author’s way of bringing all the characters up to speed on certain details but I think it makes Percy seem inconsiderate and not as great of a guy as the story tries to force him to be (which is probably good because, like Jason, his only flaw is being too good).
I probably think this because I sympathize with Nico, the misunderstood loner. I am still seething over the fact that we read from damn near everyone’s point of view except Nico’s. Though, the omission of Nico’s point of view was probably made to enhance his mysterious nature and make him more enigmatic, and hard to grasp, to both the reader and the characters. Spoiler alert! It is also revealed that Nico is gay and has a major crush on Percy (No, Percy doesn’t know this).
At first, when I heard rumors of this, I was upset with this turn in Nico’s character development. I thought that this part of Nico’s character would simple be tacked on and not fleshed out, like a small mention to incite readers and gain a greater audience. I find that these days gay characters are added to a story (book, movie, or show) but not fully incorporated into the story or a major part of it, which I think is a bit unfair. It’s as if the creators simply want to add the gay character to increase readership/viewership but not commit to it. Riordan did an okay job with Nico but I can’t shake the feeling that this quality was not thought of initially. I do like that Nico is gay, however. I think it adds to his mystery and makes it even harder for readers and characters, and possibly the author, to pin down. I just don’t like that he’s in love with Percy. Dammit, everyone likes Percy and everything happens to him. It’s annoying.
Thus far, my favorite character is Leo. Leo has the lamest, corniest jokes but I laugh at them anyway. I prefer him to the other characters because he uses his head the most and doesn’t rely on bumbling fools to help him out of tricky situations. Have you noticed that? Percy (yes, back to Percy) always has some big, slow dude helping him out of thick situations and for some reason this kid calls them “Big guy.” What kid calls anyone that these days? First, it was his brother Tyson, a Cyclops, and now it is the giant Iapetus, whom he belittles by naming him Bob after knocking him out. I am pissed that “Bob” came to the rescue when Percy and Annabeth were stranded in Tartarus and that his prop is a broom. It seems that Percy and Annabeth take advantage of those less-smart than them.
We also read from the other characters’—Jason, Piper, Hazel, Frank—point of view. I didn’t mention them in this reflection because they didn’t stand out to me. I thought that Hazel would carry the story this time since we start with her and the burden of this mission seemed to fall mostly on her but other than the cool tricks she did to save everyone, she wasn’t much impressive. As for the others, they battled with their insecurities and bf/gf problems and helped to save each other. Not very impressive either. It may seem that I was pissed at everything that occurred in this book, but don’t let that deter you from reading it. I did enjoy reading this installment. My emotions just shift a lot while doing so.
As always, I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
Quotes from the book:
“But magic is neither good nor evil. It is a tool, like a knife. Is a knife evil? Only if the wielder is evil.”
“[Love] is hard work—a quest that never ends. It demands everything from you—especially the truth. Only then does it yield rewards.”
- Review: The Mark Of Athena (musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com)
- Rick Riordan – The House of Hades (fyreflybooks.wordpress.com)
- Discussion: The House of Hades by Rick Riordan (*****) – MAJOR SPOILERS (mywonderfulbookshelf.wordpress.com)
- House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus #4) – Rick Riordan (bftreviews.wordpress.com)