**In preparation for the release of “House of Hades” (Book 4 in the Heroes of Olympus series) this October, I’ve been “re-reading” the first three books by listening to the audio books during my commute to and from work (which saves me time and makes the commute much, much more enjoyable, plus it also gives me a chance to write a review! Hurray for multitasking.)
Title: The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, Book 1)
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Mythology
Published: October 2010 by Hyperion Books for Children
Recommended as suitable for ages 10 and up
Audio book: Narrated by Joshua Swanson
WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT?
Here’s a description from the author’s website:
Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up on a school bus holding hands with a girl. Apparently she’s his girlfriend Piper, his best friend is a kid named Leo, and they’re all students in the Wilderness School, a boarding school for “bad kids.” What he did to end up here, Jason has no idea — except that everything seems very wrong.
Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, and her vivid nightmares reveal that he’s in terrible danger. Now her boyfriend doesn’t recognize her, and when a freak storm and strange creatures attack during a school field trip, she, Jason, and Leo are whisked away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood. What is going on?
Leo has a way with tools. His new cabin at Camp Half-Blood is filled with them. Seriously, the place beats Wilderness School hands down, with its weapons training, monsters, and fine-looking girls. What’s troubling is the curse everyone keeps talking about, and that a camper’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist they are all — including Leo — related to a god.
A QUICK 411… The Lost Hero is a spin-off of the five-part Percy Jackson & the Olympians (PJ&TO) series and is also meant to be a five-book series. It tells the story of three new demigod heroes in the Percy Jackson universe. This book is not about Percy (although he was mentioned several times in the book). I won’t say the exact reason why Percy was merely mentioned, because that would probably be too much of a spoiler to say. Fear not, though. Camp Half-Blood is still here and several characters from PJ&TO series are present in this book, like Annabeth, Rachel Elizabeth Dare, Chiron, and Thalia.
WHAT DID I THINK OF THE BOOK?
I loved the PJ&TO series, and Percy was one of my favorite characters. So, it was a wee bit odd to read the adventures of a main character who isn’t Percy. Anyway, moving on. This story sets us up for a series of quests to fulfill The Second Great Prophecy (which readers were left with in the final book of the PJ&TO series):
Seven Half-bloods shall answer the call.
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes, bear arms to the Doors of Death.
The Lost Hero follows the quest of Jason, Piper and Leo; the new trio of demigods recruited to Camp Half-Blood. Each chapter is written in the point of view of one of them (Chapter 1: Jason, Chapter 2: Piper, and so on). The story was OK, and I enjoyed the new cast of villains and allies. Jason is the lead character, whom I liked enough to root for him and his team. He has an intriguing past and an unexpected, surprising connection with one of the main Camp Half-Blood heroes. I can’t make up my mind about Piper’s character; sometimes I think she’s alright, sometimes I don’t. And for some reason, I found Leo to be a tad annoying (though Drew was even more annoying, that brat!). I could tolerate Leo enough to finish the book, but I did find myself groaning a little whenever I’m about to read (or listen to) his chapters.
Re: The Lost Hero audio book – Joshua Swanson was pretty good and he was fun to listen to. He can do quite a range of character voices! I didn’t like the way he voiced Annabeth in this book, though. She ended up sounding flat and somewhat robotic (but he does a better job of voicing her in the third book).
TO WRAP IT UP…
I found The Lost Hero to be fun and engaging. However, I thought it lacked the charm of The Lightning Thief, which kicked off the PJ&TO series. When I read that book, I was so totally sucked in the story and all the characters that I breezed through the boxed set in less than a week!
The Lost Hero is the first of five books in The Heroes of Olympus series. It ties in pretty well with the previous Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. I think it would be best to read it after you’ve read the Percy Jackson books in order to understand things better because some events from PJ&TO are mentioned in passing throughout this story. It’s thicker than the Percy Jackson books, but it’s not as daunting as it looks. You probably won’t notice the length as much when the trio of heroes start their quest because one adventure leads up to another. The new characters are likeable enough, I suppose. And Mr. Riordan’s signature humor is still there, so it remains to be an enjoyable read.
Because I like Percy and Annabeth, I will continue to read the rest of the books in The Heroes of Olympus series as they are published over the years (the fifth and final book is set for release in 2014). I’m also quite interested to know how the Second Great Prophecy turns out. But honestly, I liked reading Books 2 & 3 better (The Son of Neptune and The Mark of Athena) than this one; thoughts to which I will elaborate upon in my upcoming posts for those titles.