Review: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Final Verdict: 3.75 out of 4.0

YTD: 51


Plot/Story:

3 – Plot/Story is interesting and believable.

Percy Jackson and the gang are back again.  Well, Percy is back again – but the gang is a new one.  In this second book of the Heroes of Olympus series, which is a sequel to Riordan’s hit Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, Percy finds himself battling demons that won’t die and suffering from near-total amnesia.  He does not remember who he is, where he is from, or why these crazy un-killable baddies keep attacking him.  Some instinct pulls him strongly toward a camp, where the goddess Juno awaits – but something isn’t quite right.  Percy is a Greek demigod, and this camp is for Romans!  Percy must join forces with the Romans, while rediscovering who he is and, afterwards, bringing the two people, Greek and Roman, together to prepare for battle against the mother of all goddesses, Gaea, who is raising a force of evil to crush the world.  Can the Greeks and the Romans set aside their bitter, centuries-old rivalries to work together?  Will the gods stand by their demigod children or let them face Gaea’s minions alone?  Will Percy every gain all of his memory back?  The Son of Neptune is about new friendships, burgeoning strengths, overcoming self-doubt and setting aside prejudices to fight for the larger good.  It is a fast-paced, exciting, and surprisingly moving modern mythological fantasy – probably Riordan’s best yet.


Characterization:

4 – Characters extraordinarily well-developed.

As a big fan of The Percy Jackson series, I find myself a bit ashamed to admit that I actually enjoyed the new characters and Percy’s semi-reconstruction (due to his memory loss) a bit more appealing than the originals.  The Roman gods, though less is seen of them, seem less severe than the Greeks, which is historically accurate but also makes for a more believable story.  What added to the improved effect here, I think, is that not only did Percy have an interesting journey to embark on, rediscovering himself, his past, and his strengths, but so did the two supporting characters, Frank and Hazel.  These two each come from very interesting backgrounds and have potentially scary, sad futures ahead of them.  The triple-threat, as it were, of the main story (battling Gaea’s army and saving the world) combined with these sub-stories made for a dynamic new friendship and allowed for real growth from all three characters, but particularly Frank – who might have the most to lose, and to gain.  Visits from favorite past characters, like Nico di Angelo and Tyson, are also welcomed and well-incorporated.


Prose/Style:

4 – Extraordinary Prose/Style, conducive the Story.

One of my biggest complaints in this area has been that whoever is responsible for editing and proofreading Riordan’s books consistently makes glaring oversights.  The last few Riordan books in particular, including the Kane Chronicles and The Lost Hero were rife with omitted and/or extra words or other grammar errors.  Now, this is not necessarily the author’s fault, so I tried to be lenient, but it was definitely becoming bothersome.  I did see two such instances in The Son of Neptune, but they were minor oversights and, comparatively, nothing to scoff at.  With that improvement, coupled with how well-paced this book was and how suiting the language is to both the story and the audience, I was pleased overall.  Percy’s wit and sarcasm are back, which is possibly one of my favorite things about these books (“typical teenager” – but a funny one!).  The dialogue is done well, as are the descriptions.  I still sometimes hope for more progressive growth, year-to-year, but Riordan is sticking to his IR/MG readership, and that is in a way admirable, if not exactly what I would like to see as an adult reader (but, hey, the books aren’t marketed towards adults so I get it!).


Additional Elements: Setting, Symbols/Motifs, Resolution, etc.

4 – Additional elements improve and enhance the story.

In addition to the main purpose of the book, which I will get to in a minute, this book also has much to say about individual responsibility – responsibility to the self and to others (friends and family, in particular).  Each of the characters has something they must overcome in order to be the hero they were meant to be and, although the book is fantasy, this aspect of the story is highly transferable to the traditional coming-of-age story.  But, once again, the biggest selling-point for the book is what it teaches us.  The Roman mythology is interesting and totally accessible, thanks to the modern setting, the relevant comparisons, and the engaging characters that learn and/or explain the histories as the reader journeys along with them.  The Son of Neptune is particularly fascinating in that it exposes more of the specific differences between Greek and Roman mythology, and why there is such animosity between the two groups.  If you are looking for educational and entertaining books about Greek and Roman mythology, which are accessible to novices, younger readers, and adults already familiar with the original epics – Riordan is your man.


Suggested Reading for:

Age Level: IR/MG

Interest: Roman Mythology, Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek-Roman History, Action/Adventure, Modern Day Retellings, Fantasy.


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11 thoughts on “Review: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

  1. I love Riordan’s series! There kind of a guilty pleasure since I always buy them for my younger brother and then read them myself, even though I hide that fact from him. I love the way he integrates the modern world with the Gods and the norms of Epics. And he can laugh at himself about it! I thought the witty comments were always great, but sometimes I couldn’t help tutting. I’ll have to get this for my brother soon because I’m ‘a nice brother’. Still got to read the first one of the sequel series though.

    • Haha – Sounds like something I would do, for sure. I’m actually enjoying The Heroes of Olympus series just a tad more than the PJ & The Olympians series.. which I didn’t think would be possible. You should definitely get started on these. Have you read the first two of the Kane Chronicles? I’m enjoying that series as well.

      • I read the first one day. It was great but I could see where it was going from the start and I have to say I cringed at some of the joke! Is it really that much better? I thought Lost Hero was good, but I don’t know if it is better (or worse, for that matter). My brother also owns the Kane Chronicles…which I bought him. God, I’m such a bad brother. I haven’t read them but I’ve considered it. Maybe I’ll have to. I think I love the books because I get to learn about Greeks (and Roman and Egyptians) in the process.

      • That’s definitely my favorite part – they’re absolutely for younger audiences, but the mythology fascinates me, so to have it at-hand in such an accessible and entertaining way… love it!

  2. only one two words to say about the book – Rick Rocks !! Well I am hoping in near future he will write books on Indian mythology too as I am an indian. Otherwise i think i should start a fan-fiction !

    • Indian mythology would definitely be interesting in this format – especially for those unfamiliar with it (makes it easy and fun to learn). I’ve only had some introduction, through Salman Rushdie.

  3. Pingback: The Heroes of Olympus: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (2011) « DogEar

  4. Pingback: Greek And Roman Mythology In Modern NY « It's Cookie's Time!

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