The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus)
It’s impossible to write about this book without mentioning Riordan’s last Hero series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians. And I have to say, Riordan hit the exact right balance between including the heroes from that series and giving the new heroes room to become who they were meant to be. I don’t think, at this point, it’s even possible for Riordan to write a story that I don’t enjoy. In this book, in particular, he did a wonderful job of keeping me guessing. Whenever I thought: no, there’s no way for them to get out of this situation, Riordan just blithely sent his heroes to the rescue and always for the right reasons. It was pretty much never self-preservation, but instead the need to make sure their friends survived to fight another day. Riordan’s heroes are a study in chivalry and altruism.
Jason wakes up bouncing along through the desert in a school bus with a girl’s hand held warmly in his. For most kids this would be a perfectly good day, but Jason’s isn’t going so well. You see, he has lost all of his memories, which means that he doesn’t know how he got on this bus or who this girl is. A boy who is allegedly Jason’s best friend pops over the seat to crack a joke, but Jason has never seen him before in his life. Bravery, true friendship, and a goddess who needs rescuing lead Jason and his friends on a quest they’ll not soon forget.
All of the old heroes make an appearance or two in the story (it feels a little weird to call seventeen year old kids old). Annabeth, Rachel, and Chiron (admittedly not a hero) all make appearances and haven’t seemed to change much in the intervening time. The major change is that Percy is missing and Annabeth is killing herself with worry. However, this part of the plot plays second fiddle to the new heroes, as it should. Yes, it’s concerning that Percy is missing, but we know about Percy and one doesn’t really need to summon a whole lot of worry since we know that he’s capable of getting himself out of almost any scrape he might find himself in.
Jason, Piper, and Leo, however, we know nothing about when the story begins. We only know that these three have banded together at a school for troubled children and they are definitely not in the popular crowd. It’s enchanting to watch these three kids become heroes in every sense of the word. I’m not sure if I would have been able to fight a giant when I was fifteen. There’s no doubt in my mind that I would have tried, but equally I’m pretty sure I would have failed. Part of the reason I love these stories so much is that these kids are the people we all want to be more like. Fearlessly brave, altruistic and honorable, they never so much as hesitate on the precipice of battle. They just plunge in and do the best they can. These kids go from being frowned upon by society at large to being society’s only savior.
As to the story, Riordan offers his usual fare: an action packed tale of kids fighting evil gods and gods who invariably make the wrong decisions. There’s really no down time in the story, which only serves to make it that much more enjoyable. One of my favorite things Riordan does is back story. He weaves it in seamlessly and he uses it to make the story more rich and vivid. It helps the story to know that Leo had a babysitter when he was two who put him in the fire (yes, you read that right). Though he doesn’t just do it with back story, he also weaves in dream visions which are universally delightful (my favorite was with Leo’s dad).
It’s a delightful tale of friendship and bravery with some vengeful gods thrown in for good measure. 4 ink bottles. Highly enjoyable in every way.