This review will contain two parts: The first without spoilers. The second will have all the spoilers, rants, fangirling, and so on.
Wow. I can't believe I still love Rick Riordan after he put me through Hades.
Summary (Courtesy of Goodreads)
At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?
So. I started reading a Percy Jackson book (again), preparing to have my heart ripped out (again), and end up sobbing throughout the book (again). Yep, it was totally worth the wait. One full year of teasers and everything. I got the last copy out of the bookstore too. Lucky me. To sum up this book in one word: DAM. For non-Percy Jackson fans who don't get that joke, it's pretty much phenomenal.
I mentioned before that a flaw (if I must state one) of the Heroes of Olympus books is the jumble of characters. Introducing a lot of new characters in mid-series is always a hard thing to pull off. Well, it’s not really mid-series, since the start of a new series, but to us fans (or only me personally?) we/I think Heroes of Olympus is a continuation of the Percy Jackson series. That’s why I was really angry that the Lost Hero didn’t have Percy inside, and at first I honestly thought I picked up the wrong book. We didn’t really care about the new characters as much as the old ones (Percy, Annabeth, Nico, etc.), with perhaps the exception of Leo. Fangirls totally love him. He’s the best new character Uncle Rick made.
In House of Hades, the mess cleared up and the new characters are much more likeable. I can’t go exactly into details without spoilers though, but I will say that each and every character, especially the new ones, seems to grow very well.
So, what exactly are some flaws in the House of Hades? Not a lot can be said (without spoilers at least). But I think it’s kind of weird that each new character have their own chapter to shine and they develop so much in that part… and the rest, they’re just there, helping out, but never really that important anymore. And maybe it’s just me, but I’d like to see some more romance. I never thought I’d say that, but Percy and Annabeth’s journey through Tatarus wouldn’t go as it had without their love for each other. I don’t see that a lot. I know Percy had some encouraging comments, Annabeth is worried for Percy, a few kisses, but still.
Everything seemed... ordered in this book. They face a problem, it was really hard and they can't use their fighting skills to defeat it, then they come up with an Athena-worthy way to defeat it, then they move on to the next problem.
The theme of this book... I'm always looking for what I learnt from a book. This one was awesome. The hardest part of a war is learning to let someone else take the sword for you. At least, that's the hardest part for someone that's not evil.
I feel so sorry for Percy and Annabeth. I think they're like, the best heroes ever. They should be having a tour through disney land (okay, maybe not), not a tour through Tatarus. They're kids. With so much responsibility it could break them. But they went on. Ah. Young love.
To wrap the non-spoiler part up, this is an amazing book, but personally I loved Mark of Athena more. Maybe it’s because it left me crying harder. Rick is correct: no cliffhanger is worse than Mark of Athena. So while I’m looking forward to the next book, I’m not dying for it.
Now this is where the fun begins.
Seriously, Uncle Rick? Do you have to rub it in our faces?
Let's do a character analysis!
Starting with the seven.
Percy- of course, our favorite demigod is back.
Annabeth- as awesome as always.
Jason- well, now we finally get to know what's going on inside his head and what he thinks of everyone saying he's the "golden boy". I like him better. Oh, and now he doesn't seem as much of a rule follower as before. I'm also glad he chose Greek.
Piper- she starts off in the book duck-taped. About a quarter through the book she starts becoming helpful in her one chapter to shine. After that, then meh. Her charm and her growing sword skills are fine, so I guess I'm starting to like her more.
Leo- him. I love him. Seriously. Now I totally ship him and Calypso. OTP worthy relationship. "That didn't happen" and "okay". Oh my gosh. And it shows how, without his humor, the seven wouldn't be very happy. He matured a lot.
Frank- Okay, he became more handsome. That's cool, I guess. And Ares/Mars yelling inside his head... gods, that must be annoying.
Hazel- So. She became a sorceress. That's awesome. I loved how she played a bigger role in closing the Doors of Death. And Hectate turned up! I'm not sure what to think about the goddess though. I guess I'll just stick with Hazel's opinion. I never loved her, but now I definitely like her more.
Nico- ah, it kind of pains me to see this boy like this. He's fourteen. I'm surprised Rick put a homosexual character in a children's book, but I'm glad he did. I always loved him, but now for some reason I like him even more. It's especially heartbreaking to see how he starts off as this innocent, happy boy playing mythomagic to this pale, brooding person who lost his sister and went through tatarus and had to live with the fact that someone he loves is going through tatarus.
Coach Hedge- Awww, a baby! I thought he was going to betray them when we first saw him send those messages, but I'm glad he didn't. Mellie and Hedge is just so sweet.
Somethings I thought about:
-I wonder what happened to Arachne.
-Hey, I want a prophecy. I get it, you're following a big one, but can't we have a small one?
-Nico's POV would be very interesting.
-So... everybody's happy? No one dies? I'm very happy that they have a happy ending, don't get me wrong. But despite all the change inside each character, no one dies or obtain any physical damage. I was positively terrified when Annabeth went blind, and I thought it would stay that way. I know it's going to be horrible, but that would make it a good story. (Still, if she did go blind forever, I would curse Rick.)
Also, Percy and Annabeth isn't that worse for wear after coming out of Tatarus. It left Nico shattered, and he practically lived among the dead. I know Percy's a *stronger* demigod than Nico, but still. This is a horrifying experience.
-Foreshadowing was obvious. They talked about Bob, Bob came. After that it didn't play around much with foreshadowing. Some things were a bit predictable. I knew that when Leo met Calypso, they would fall in love even though they didn't like each other at first sight.
-I find it too much of a coincidence for both of them to be at the doors of death at the same time, considering the fact that even time in Tatarus doesn't flow the same way as time in the mortal world. So unless there is some divine force (not impossible) making them come at the same time, it seems a bit fake. But I didn't think about that during the book; it didn't trip my mind over or anything. I just thought about its weirdness afterwards.
-I know it's a children's book, but do bad guys always have to talk before doing something. You know it just gives time for the opponent to do something.
-I can't keep track of everything that happens in the book. All the names and places are really hard for me to remember in order. Of course, I remember the highlights (Leo and Calypso, Percy and Annabeth with Damasen, etc.) Still, all the fast paced and action packed events are what makes the book so fun.
-As much as I hate to say this, I think Leo is gonna die when he swore "An oath to keep with the final breath." Jason is gonna go ahead a fulfill the line "to storm (or fire) the world must fall." But Rick hinted this a bit, so I guess it's not really going to happen that way since prophecies never turn out the way we expected it to.
Little things fangirls notice:
-Reyna gets her last name. Yay!
-Hello, Grover and Rachel! It's awesome to see them even if they're in a dream.
-Again, we notice how easy it was for the gods to get away with things even after they swear on River Styx. Like how Zeus sired Thalia and got away with it. Calypso is still marooned on the island and nothing seems to be happening to the gods.
-Rachel kept the blue brush!
-Connor Stoll burns M&M's to his dad. That's adorable.
-The word "homosexual" or "gay" isn't used in this book.
So, the countdown starts again to the Blood of Olympus. Leave a comment below and may the gods be with you!