At the end of The Last Olympian, the final Percy Jackson book, the new Oracle of Delphi – Rachel Elizabeth Dare – stated the next Great Prophecy, which goes something like this:
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.
Leave it to Rick Riordon to never truly close a book series… Unless of course it’s about Egyptian mythology.
Greetings. I am on a re-reading run of the Heroes of Olympus books – for my own reasons – and have decided to review each one as I go along in a little early 2010’s nostalgia series. I can’t actually believe it’s almost been three years since the last book in this series was released. I’m starting to feel old.
Anyway, the aforementioned prophecy became the ground for a whole new, much larger (and much crazier) book series succeeding Percy Jackson, the Heroes of Olympus, the first book being titled The Lost Hero and released in 2010.
Cutting right to the chase, Rick Riordan’s genius shines, as always, in this book. Being told from multiple points of view, in this case from three completely new characters in Jason, Piper and Leo, The Lost Hero centres around three of the seven demigods in the Great Prophecy and lays the groundwork for a masterful book series. After having five books narrated by the same person in Percy Jackson, having new viewpoints, styles and stories from different half-bloods is a fresh breath to any reader.
The characters in question are great in their own rights. Riordan finds a balance for all three characters in this book, not giving any extra spotlight than needed. A pattern that is seen is that all three are given individual moments across the book to be the ‘hero’, building up to the end when all three have to play their own parts. This was clever, given that all three had to be introduced effectively. What was also interesting is that none of them are typically ‘weak’ characters – more of which will be explained in the Son of Neptune review – giving all of them the opportunity to learn from each other and allowing the story to progress with a fast pace. It’s also nice how all the characters have special traits that set them apart from other half-bloods of their kind, particularly Jason, the mystery behind whom adds a layer of welcome suspense to the pages.
Something Riordan does in all of his book series is use dreams to further the plot. Yes, it’s effective. But it can also be lazy, and one common flaw across all his books is that dreams tend to drag the book along as you’re eager to get back to the main focus of the story. This is particularly evident in this book as all three characters have back stories that need to be told, and while they are all intriguing back stories, there may have been a little too much ink dedicated to them.
The main story itself is, without the ability to find a more suitable term, smart. It combines elements which are vital to the overall story arc of the series with personal elements for all three main characters, leading this to be a story that lends to itself. It allows the characters to learn about each other (and allow the reader to learn about the character) and has them progress as individuals and as a group of friends. The chapter pattern got a little robotic, with Jason having two chapters, then Piper two, then Leo two, then repeat, but Riordan deserves praise for his ability to create distinction between the different narrators. When Jason narrates, there’s an air of confusion (having lost his memory). When Piper narrates, there’s always a hint of worry because her father is being held hostage and she may have to betray her companions to save him. When Leo narrates, there’s a welcome sense of humour with some hidden insecurities about being noticed and fitting in. It’s quite brilliant once you start to notice little things like this.
Plus, having a narrator who isn’t a child of Poseidon and learning about different demigods’ lifestyles adds so much to the world Riordan was building.
Overall, The Lost Hero is a strong opening chapter in the Heroes of Olympus series and introduces Jason, Piper and Leo as if they were known as much as Percy or Annabeth. The story, although sometimes heavily dragged down by dream sequences, is gripping and progressive in every sense, and the multiple points of view gimmick is effectively utilised. I look forward to reading the rest of the series again and having my reviews up for the other four books.
On a scale where M is the lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating: