The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus)
I can’t imagine the work involved in taking a pre-existing character, removing them almost entirely from the world you built specifically for them, and throwing them into what feels like a completely new world filled with completely new people. Now, having said that, holy shiz Riordan, that was incredible. Despite the jarring nature of the story, it never failed to captivate me. Besides, given the amnesia that Percy has to deal with, similar to Jason in Book 1, it’s supposed to be jarring. But on top of that lies an enticing tale filled with monsters, heroes, and secrets to be found.
Percy Jackson can’t remember anything about his life except the name: Annabeth. He’s traveled through San Francisco, having been approved and trained by Lupa. Now he knows that he needs to go into the door that’s guarded by two Roman legionaries, but an old hippie bag lady tells him that everything hangs on this decision. Go through the door or run into the ocean. Heroes will be made and remade as Percy, Frank, and Hazel race to free Death and save the world before it’s too late.
Riordan gives us even more new characters to love and hate and I don’t mind saying, I did both in spades. I immediately loved Hazel and Frank. Octavian had the rather instant effect of raising my hackles. There’s one character, though, who won my heart as soon as she spoke: Ella, the harpy. (Yes, you read that right.)
We meet Ella when she’s weak and vulnerable because she has been cursed to only eat a prophet’s food and he defends it pretty well with a weed whacker. I can’t really describe exactly why I love Ella so easily. It could be the fact that her preferred roost is composed of books and/or scrolls or perhaps the way she randomly quotes the books she’s memorized as a means of communication. It could be her tendency to say yes or no in threes which reminds me of Ducky from the original Land Before Time. Either way, Ella makes me smile just thinking about her. She’s brilliantly intelligent, but somehow endearingly innocent as well. When Hazel, Frank, and Percy instinctively protect Ella, I was completely behind that. Riordan wrote Ella in such a deceptively subtle way that you won’t even notice that it’s a harpy who’s winning over your heart.
I also enjoyed the blue giants our group of heroes finds in Alaska. The pictures Riordan paints with these guys is just too much for me. In a book filled with monsters and a very evil Mother Earth, the giant who’s playing with two live moose like they’re action figures is refreshing. Ella has the same effect. A little shot of innocence in a book wherein there’s a monster seeking to take over the world on every other page. It feels like the sun peeking out of the clouds on a winter’s day, fulfilling and warming at the same time.
Riordan will entrance, once again, with his tale of humans and the gods they have to work with. The story is vividly written and never fails to entertain. Fans of Riordan will enjoy watching Percy in this new world he’s been thrown into.
4 ink bottles.