Book Review: The Lost Hero

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The Lost Hero The Lost Hero by
Series: Heroes of Olympus #1
Published by in 2010
Genres: ,
Pages: 557

Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?
Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.
Leo has a way with tools. When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god.

My Review:

OMG, MORE PLEASE! I flew through this novel in two days, constantly on the edge of my seat!

I’ll admit, mythology is kind of my thing. When we did Ancient Civilizations in Elementary school, I was always the one working on mythology for my final project. I still remember the boxes and boxes of notecards I had on Egypt (one of the more difficult ones because every single town had their own deity on top of the standards – who all had a different name depending on where the city was, talk about confusing!). I’ve also always liked the idea of those Gods in modern times. So when I first heard about the Percy Jackson series, I thought I had to read it, just to see what the hype was about.

When I finally did get around to reading it, I thought it was pretty good, but I could tell that it had been written for a younger audience than me. For what it was it was pretty awesome, so I kept reading. By the time I got to the end of the series, most of the enjoyment for me was recognizing the Gods I’d studied and loved when I was the same age as Percy. It was ok, and I would recommend it but it wasn’t on the level of Harry Potter.

Then I read The Red Pyramid. I had high hopes for this one, mostly because I absolutely loved the Egyptian Gods, and I thought they would be much more interesting. I was slightly disappointed to find I had trouble getting through that one. That may have been somewhat due to my extremely stressed mood at the time, but I found the characters too young to relate to, and aside from the occasional self-referentiality Riordan put in, there wasn’t much exciting. This may have something to do with the writing style – it felt uncomfortable that he made it a transcription of a recording, and every time he interrupted the narrative to remind us that we were supposed to be hearing a recording I got rather annoyed. Just tell the story! That said, when the next one comes out I’ll keep reading, in hopes that it was mostly due to my mood and not the writing.

So then, going in to The Lost Hero I had lowered my expectations slightly. After all, the previous books had mostly flopped for me because I had such high expectations, and honestly, no one could have lived up to them (not even if I’d tried to write them myself – that probably would have flopped worse!) I decided I would go in to this one not expecting anything from him. I tried my best to forget everything I knew about mythology and focus on the story.

I needn’t have bothered. Finally, Riordan has captured my attention! I found the characters engaging and relatable, even though they are a little young compared to me. I spent most of the novel trying to figure out what was going to happen (that’s a huge seller for me, and I have fun doing it, even if it does ruin the novel sometimes – the good ones it shouldn’t ruin, because I shouldn’t be able to figure it out). This one literally had me stumped until the final clue only a few pages from the end. This truly is a new myth, much as the very first Percy Jackson book seemed, not following the archetype of any of the ancient ones.

Another big seller for me in this novel was the mixture of Roman and Greek mythology. Most authors treat the two mythologies as completely separate entities – you have to chose one or the other – probably because they are so similar. I love the way that Riordan acknowledges these similarities, but highlights the fact that the Romans defined their Gods slightly differently. Riordan explains it all in his book, but the Roman Gods were shifted slightly from their original Greek to be more in line with Roman values, and that is portrayed beautifully, especially in the relationship between Thalia and Jason, and the different forms the Gods appear in.

I am so excited for the next book Son of Neptune and I cannot wait to see where he goes with his works in general. I find it interesting that he started with Greek mythology, and is concurrently running Roman and Egyptian (that’s the order I always thought of them in historically). I would love to see him add more mythologies to his world – there are so many to play with! He hints at a strong background in Cherokee heritage for Piper (wouldn’t it be awesome if her Grandfather, who is often mentioned was a Cherokee Demigod?). I also am waiting with fingers crossed for him to come out with a series on Norse Mythology, as that was always one of my favorites, and personally I think Rotterdammerung would be an awesome time to get Demigods of all mythologies together to save the world.

This novel, for me, has finally brought Riordan’s writing up to the standard of Harry Potter. I will be collecting all of his novels and recommending them to friends whenever I can!

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