[Book Review] The House of Hades

The_House_of_Hades_coverTitle: The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, Book 4)
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Mythology
Published: October 2013 by Hyperion Books for Children
Recommended for ages 10 and up
Source: Purchased

WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT?

Here’s a description from the author’s website:

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?

They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.

A QUICK 411… The House of Hades is the fourth book in The Heroes of Olympus series (a spin-off of the five-part Percy Jackson & the Olympians series), which is also intended to comprise five books. The fifth and final book of the series will be released in October 2014.

WHAT DID I THINK OF THE BOOK?

The first thing you see before chapter 1 is a dedication from the author. 😀

Lomogram_2013-10-26_06-44-57-PMHaha. I liked the dedication. Didn’t you?

I liked the parts in Tartarus because it gave us a glimpse of a place we’ve heard so much about since the Percy Jackson & The Olympians (PJ&TO) series. Through Annabeth and Percy’s eyes, we were able to witness the fulfillment of a line in the Second Great Prophecy. And Bob was awesome. His identity was revealed to us and he has another name, but I had a bit of trouble remembering his character from the PJ&TO series. I actually didn’t recall reading about him… After resorting to Google, I found out that he was in The Demigod Files collection that I haven’t read yet (because every time I’m at the bookstore and remember wanting to buy it, it’s out of stock).

Anyway, moving on. I’m hoping to hear more about what happened to Bob in the next book. I also very much liked Percy’s realizations while in Tartarus — the part where they encountered the spirits of curses and endured the curses. I hope those experiences would help him grow to be an even better person, both him and Annabeth.

Despite my uncertainty about how I thought of Frank, I thought he did great in the battle at the temple with Jason and Nico. Surely, he’s made his ancestors proud. Hazel was also great and played a huge part in the story. I thought her new-found skills are a game changer and would add to their advantage when they arrive in Greece.

Jason didn’t have as much “screentime” as I thought he would have, but I enjoyed his interactions with Nico. I still have mixed feelings about Piper’s character, and to be quite honest, I barely noticed that she didn’t have much to do in the story. At the risk of sounding a bit mean, I actually found myself to be a little glad that there wasn’t a lot of chapters in her POV.

Since Book 1, I have found Leo to be a tad annoying and I kinda dreaded reading his chapters. Surprisingly, however, his story was the one I enjoyed most in this book. He seems to have gotten more mature. Especially the parts when he meets a certain character that is familiar to readers of the PJ&TO series. I will not say who this character is because it would be a spoiler, but I was very pleasantly surprised at this character’s appearance because I liked this character and was glad that Mr. Riordan included her/him here. However brief her/his appearance might have been, it was memorable in the PJ&TO series and it’s quite memorable this time as well. She/He had a good effect on Leo. Hopefully, Leo would make good on his promise and we’ll read about this character again in the next installment! After reading this book, I found Leo much less annoying and much more likable.

Quite a lot of revelations in this book, including stuff about Nico. I’m glad that he finally got some of his feelings out of his chest. I’m sure what Jason said was true, and I hope Nico would eventually learn how to trust his comrades and be at peace with himself. As Jason said, they would understand; they are his friends after all. Nico has been through a lot of crap since the PJ&TO series. I hope he gets a happy ending in the fifth book. I think he deserves it. I’m also glad he’s going on a mission with Reyna. She didn’t appear much in this book, but she played a pretty significant role, which carries over to the next part of the story.

QUOTABLE QUOTES

  • Annabeth pressed her lips to Percy’s ear. “I love you.” She wasn’t sure he could hear her–but if they died, she wanted those to be her last words.
  • Life is despair, they said. Everything is pointless, and then you die.
  • “Cupid,” Jason called, “where are you?” … Where you least expect me, Cupid answered. As Love always is.
  • “Oh, did you expect me to play fair? I am the god of love. I am never fair.” – Cupid
  • “Love is on every side and no one’s side. Don’t ask what love can do for you.”  – Cupid
  • “Love is no game! It is no flowery softness! It is hard work–a quest that never ends. It demands everything from you–especially the truth. Only then does it yield rewards.” – Cupid
  • “Oh, I wouldn’t say Love always makes you happy. Sometimes it makes you incredibly sad. But at least you’ve faced it now. That’s the only way to conquer me.” – Cupid
  • “Perhaps,” Bob said uncomfortably. “But… do you like our fate?”
  • “I miss the sun. The stars, too. I would like to say hello to the stars again.” – Bob

As a brief aside, Cupid and Psyche is one of my favorite Greek myths, so I liked the fact that it was mentioned in the story. 😀

TO WRAP IT UP…

Like the previous three books, each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the heroes. But this time, all seven heroes take turns instead of just three or four of them, so you get to hear about their quest from each of them. The story picks up right from where the third book left off (read my review). Percy and Annabeth have fallen into the depths of Tartarus while the rest of the group are on their way to Epirus, both looking to find and close the Doors of Death.

I thought it had a bit more serious tone than the previous books, but it remains to be quite an enjoyable read. And thankfully, Mr. Riordan took a bit of mercy on us fans such that the end of this story was not as cruel a cliffhanger as the one from The Mark of Athena.

I am looking forward to how things will all turn out in the final installment of the series. I heard the title is going to be The Blood of Olympus. It seems like an epic battle is about to happen and it also sounds a bit ominous … I do hope none of the characters I like would die. And that there would be happy endings all around.

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10 thoughts on “[Book Review] The House of Hades

  1. I havent’ read this yet. My son is waiting for me to preview it before he’s allowed. My son is 11, I’m wondering if the serious tone is appropriate. What is your take? Mostly I’m worried about sexual content. I didn’t let him read the Divergent series because it was a bit too much for his young mind.

    • First of all, thank you for dropping by and reading my post! 🙂

      Has your son read the Percy Jackson & The Olympians (PJ&TO) series or the previous three books of this series? If he hasn’t yet, I would recommend the PJ&TO series first because the lead characters are closer to his age range and I think the content is not much of a concern for 11 year olds (Percy in The House of Hades is around 17 already, and his companions are in the range of 14-17, if I remember correctly).

      Otherwise, I think the serious tone of The House of Hades is not as serious as the Divergent series (I’ve never read that one, but I’m basing my opinion on it’s synopses). I would probably compare the tone of this book as kinda like Book 4 or 5 of the Harry Potter series. This is also much less violent than the Hunger Games.

      I don’t think sexual content is too much of a concern, but there are characters who are boyfriend/girlfriend, there’s kissing (though less than Book 3, IMO), and a character who’s having some conflict about his feelings for a girl or a boy.

      To help you decide, here’s a nice review/reading guide for parents regarding this book: http://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews/the-house-of-hades-the-heroes-of-olympus-book-4

      I hope I was able to help! (even if just a bit) 🙂

      • You’re welcome!

        Thank you for your help! He has read everything he can find on the topic of Mythology. He’s his mother’s son, I fear. 🙂

        I will also check the link you provided. It’s always good to get multiple thoughts.

        I enjoy your posts very much. Keeps me in the loop and offers great reading ideas for my pre-teen. Thanks!

      • I love mythology too! That and fairy tales started my love for reading at a young age.

        I haven’t gotten around to writing a review yet, but I’d like to recommend The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series (6 books). It’s based on myths from different countries and historical figures. It’s an interesting and enjoyable read. Book 1 is called “The Alchemyst.”.There’s a bit of fighting and deaths, but it isn’t graphic or gory and nothing too violent. No concern for sexual content either. I think you and your son might like it. 🙂

        Thank you! Please feel free to drop by again anytime.

  2. Great post! Been waiting for this review.

    Well! It seems stellar. Half of this professorish professor wants to wait until the last book comes out to read. ( I can’t stand waiting!)

    I love how you put the quotes in. Cupid seems hilarious, is he?

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