The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
Final Verdict: 3.25 out of 4.0
3 – Plot/Story is interesting & believable.
In The Lost Hero, Rick Riordan brings us back to the world of his best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. The time is now, and the place is the United States. Most of the action either takes place in or is in reference to New York and San Francisco but, like the Percy Jackson books, The Lost Hero has its characters traveling on the road (or, more often, traveling through the air). There is a sense of the journeyman-adventurer, an inspiration brought from the early Greek and Roman tales, where heroes had to go on quests and venture through dangerous lands to prove their worth to the gods. Of course, unlike those ancient stories where the dangerous places were exotic, distant, and funnily-named, Riordan makes more contemporary locations the hot-spots of terror – Jack London’s home, the San Francisco hills, and an automobile assembly plant in Detroit, to name a few. We also have a new hero, whose memory is lost, and his two friends, whose memories have been altered by the goddess Hera (or is it Juno?). For the first time, we see Roman presences and characters intermingled with the Greek gods and heroes of the first Olympians series – and the reader soon (or at least, by the end) realizes that this is a dangerous mixture, but one which will be necessary for the future of mankind.
3 – Characters well developed.
Fortunately for this series, The Lost Hero begins, in terms of characterization, where The Last Olympian left off. That this book is much longer than the first book in the Percy Jackson series is a big plus, because it allows the reader more time with the characters, and Riordan uses that time to develop and explain the three main characters and their histories, personalities, etc. Much of this is also helped by the presence of subordinate characters who the reader may have already met in the Percy Jackson series, such as Chiron, Annabeth, Rachel Dare, the Greek gods, and more. Since we already know some of these minor characters, we are allowed more time with the major characters. The hope is that the future books in the series (not being sure how long this series is going to be) will also have a good amount of focus on the characters and their development. There are seven Roman and Greek heroes who must ultimately go on the quest – we know three from this book, and we can anticipate Percy and Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series will be going, which means we may be meeting two more heroes, possibly from the Roman side. This will be the first book/series with seven “main” characters – but I imagine Jason and Percy might get most of the page time.
3 – Satisfactory Prose/Style, conducive to the Story.
I would have possibly given this category a 4 out of 4 but this first edition of the book was littered with grammatical/editing errors! Rick Riordan is a popular author – people literally countdown the days ‘til his next book release, particularly those books which are set in the world of Percy Jackson. So, for the publishers to release this text with so many grammatical errors – I am just dumbfounded. The major problems were spelling mistakes and word omissions/replacements. The pace, however, was great – fast-moving throughout, but with moments spent on reflection or in flashbacks, learning more about the characters as they learn about themselves. The prose and style were appropriate for this level of reading, though I always hope for a bit more development from Riordan in this regard. Still, he is staying true to his young adult readers, which is perfectly fine.
4 – Additional elements improve and advance the story.
The additional elements subsection is always pretty applicable to the Riordan books, because he tends to teach me so much. I learned (or was reminded) much about Greek mythology from the Percy Jackson series. In The Red Pyramid, the reader gets educated (in a fun way) about Egyptian mythology. Here, we go back to the Greeks, but we also begin to learn about Roman mythology – where it came from, how it developed out of Greek mythology (and why). How are Zeus and Neptune different? How are Hera and Juno similar? What do the Roman gods stand for, in contrast to the Greek? And what would happen if the two mythological worlds were to collide (could it really have been the cause for the American Civil War)? Part of the real appeal of these books for me, aside from the fast-paced and fun adventure plot, is learning more about ancient mythologies, in a wholly relatable way – because it is happening now, in the world I know. Each time I finish a Riordan book, I get the itch to go back and read Homer, Ovid, Sophocles and the rest.
Suggested Reading for:
Age Level: Young Adult
Interest: Greek Mythology, Roman Mythology, Fantasy, Adventure