Wednesday, October 20, 2010

REVIEW: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

  The Lost Hero
by Rick Riordan

**NOTE: I WOULD NOT recommend reading this series without having read the Percy Jackson series first... 1. You just won't care as much about certain characters as you should (such as Rachel) and 2. The fact that Percy Jackson is missing won't be quite as big a deal to you as it should be... not to mention you'll be missing out on so much backstory that it will really detract from the experience**

Jason wakes up on a bus, not remembering who he is or how he got there, but he's surrounded by people claiming to be his girlfriend and his best friend. He suspects that isn't right, though... he suspects he doesn't actually know these people at all. Then, when the bus arrives at its destination, a class trip to the Grand Canyon, Jason finds out that his suspicions were right, and that he is destined to partake in a deadly prophecy.

Character Likability:
Jason: The victim of severe memory loss, you travel through this story watching odd bits of information come to him without him knowing why. Based on his knowledge, the things he says and how he acts, it's not to hard to figure out things about his parents and his circumstances... but you still like Jason and feel a bit sorry for him. He wasn't my favorite of the main characters, but seeing as how he doesn't know himself, it's a little hard for the reader to really know him either. I honestly find myself wondering how much I will like him when he gets his full memory back.
Piper: Piper is a half Cherokee/ half God... which has real potential to make for interesting stories later on... in fact, I think she could have her own spin off series involving Native American gods, since, with the background you do get concerning her and her father, you learn there are a lot of issues there with being a Native American. She starts the story off kind of weak, and really evolves as a character, finding her own strength and learning to believe in herself. By the end of the story I'm quite fond of her... although I do think it will be interesting to see how the author handles her and Jason. Piper is the girl on the bus who thinks she's Jason's girlfriend, and thoughts like that just don't go away, for her and for Jason... but as Jason remembers more, he remembers that there might be a girl where he came from who meant something to him. It will be interesting to see if the author makes this other girl likable, and to see what happens for Piper.
Another thing I found interesting about Piper was her issue with going to a camp called Camp Half Blood... and it makes me wonder if someone pointed out to Rick Riordan that this was used as a negative term by some peoples, or if he knew it all along.
Leo: My favorite of the main characters, Leo, felt the most real. Possibly because he doesn't have such a fantastical family history. He's just a kid who got the short end of the stick... even if the short end has gods attached to it. He's got a tragic past, and when he gets to Camp Half Blood, he really questions his future... seeing as how he believes he's bad luck for his cabin mates. He has a fun little sense of humor though, quirky without being over the top or forced, and the way he's always creating things is really entertaining. He's bright without being unbelievably brilliant... he still feels like the kid he is... and he appropriately is upset when bad things happen.  I enjoyed his honesty with himself as well. There's one point where he's forced to tell Jason the worst things he thinks about him, and Leo is able to admit to himself that those were his thoughts, not ones he was forced to think (think "Harry/Ron" syndrome)... and I was really glad to see that one of the "side" characters (because it's obvious that Jason is the Percy character from the last series) is given a lot of really cool powers and personality.
Other Characters: You see a return of beloved characters from the Percy Jackson series here... Annabelle, Thalia, the kids from the houses, Chiron... notably missing... Grover and Percy. A new character that was introduced was their teacher, Gleeson Hedge from the school they met at (another faun) who is a funny little guy, and is refrained from being annoying by not being involved TOO much in the story. He was a nice, cute little touch. Also added was Piper's father, Tristan, who is haunted by both his heritage and Piper's mother leaving him. One final character I adored from this series was Festus, the Bronze Dragon (as seen on the cover of the book). I truly enjoyed Festus and thought he was the cutest dragon ever. Of course there were the gods... but they stuck pretty much to how you'd expect them to be. There were some villians that were interesting as well, but half the fun of a Rick Riordan book is trying to figure out what nasty you're about to meet, so no names mentioned for fear of spoiling the fun!

Quality of Writing:
Riordan dives right in with mystery and action. Jason wakes up not knowing who he is, and pages later, they're fighting for their lives. The action and adventure keep up, with practically no lulls... and I was a bit appreciative of the fact that Riordan wrote in them catching sleep whenever they could... because you seriously wondered how these characters had the energy to keep going! Ahh, the benefits of being half god. Seriously though, a dynamic, engaging read.

You saw the end of this one coming, but that didn't make it any less interesting. I LOVE Riordan's explanation of things, and I can't wait to hear more of it. I think it's creative and downright believable. I'd love to go into detail about it... but that would be serious spoiler territory.
I also really enjoy the wrap-up on Piper's Dad... using characters from earlier in the story, you can't help but feel satisfied with the outcome. It also really pulls together the title of the book, and promises a lot more fun adventure to come.

The plot in this one, as far as I'm concerned, is amazing. I absolutely LOVE Riordan's ability to bring all of these ancient myths into a book for kids and make them 100% intense and exciting. It's really paying tribute to all of these old, classic, amazing stories that are often presented so dryly that children take no interest. In this particular book, the way Riordan is dealing with the different aspects of the gods is ingenious. It calls into question things you took for granted in the former books (The Percy Jackson Series) and it also makes you seriously think about the gods themselves, and how different cultures viewed the same thing from different angles. Honestly, the plot in this series has me even more interested than the plot in the Percy Jackson books ever did. I think Riordan is doing something really creative and fun here.

Believability of World:
Believable. This is a book that's like the Harry Potter ones... it's set in our own world, just with this amazing, mysterious world existing along side it. And I still am amused that this is Riordan's explanation of ADD and ADHD. I think that's a wonderfully imaginative solution to what I think is an over-diagnosed problem.

Overall Grade: A+ (Seriously. This books ability to be both interesting and educational is phenomenal. Would I have my children read this? YES. Would I tout this book and try to get as many other people to read it as possible? YES. Will I sing its praises far and wide? YES. I *really* love these books... and if you're avoiding the Riordan books for any of the following reasons:
1. You avoid books that are over-hyped, on principal
2. You saw the movie and it was silly (which it was, ESPECIALLY the end, grr)
3. Mythology is boring... *yawn*
Then CUT IT OUT. These books deserve to be read. They are wonderful stories... all of what I've read by Riordan so far, which includes the entire Percy Jackson series, The Red Pyramid and The Lost Hero. Read them, or, if you have no interest, then at least let your kids read them. They'll learn something.

And check out Rick Riordan's blog here:


  1. Ahhhhh I love love love the sound of this one! Excellent review...I just love Rick Riordan's writing :)

  2. I need to read the Percy Jackson series, I feel like I'm missing out. I love mythology so these books are right up my alley. Really nice, thorough review:)

  3. I have to read this book! It sounds like a great book. Thanks for the review!

  4. I *heart* Percy Jackson! I have no clue why I haven't picked up this book yet! Great review!!

  5. Now, I can't wait to buy my own copy! Waaa!

  6. seems that I really need to read the Percy Jackson series. Maybe my 11 year old daughter would be willing to read them with me.

    The Red Pyramid intrigues me, but I cannot remember if it is a tie in to Percy or if I can read it without reading the Percy books.