After a long, long, long hiatus, my House of Hades review is finally here.
The fourth book in the Heroes of Olympus series, the House of Hades, as the title suggests, divides the seven demigods of the Prophecy of Seven into two and five, with Percy and Annabeth falling into Tartarus – basically the evil pit of all things evil – at the end of The Mark of Athena. As the five other demigods on the surface world journey across the Mediterranean to the House of Hades in Epirus, Annabeth and Percy must travel to the heart of Tartarus, with both groups having the same intention: finding and closing the Doors of Death in order to stop monsters from regenerating after being killed.
That is a confusing and complicated synopsis to someone who is unfamiliar with the previous three books, but that is the simplest version I could write.
Simply put, this book is the best in the series and there is nothing bad about it.
This book is my favourite Rick Riordan book to date because it is so different from the rest. There are two stories being told simultaneously and yet it all works perfectly. The time in Tartarus with the two characters that have been around the most is enthralling, as Percy and Annabeth learn things about themselves never previously imagined, and it feels like everything Percy Jackson-related to this point has come full circle. Even though I personally wish it was Jason and Piper who had to voyage through Tartarus, I can see why Riordan chose to have it be Annabeth and Percy.
The House of Hades doesn’t just separate Percy and Annabeth, it separates everyone individually at some point in the book and gives everyone time to shine. This is the only book of the five that is narrated from all seven perspectives of the titular characters (even The Blood of Olympus doesn’t do that, but more on that in my last review of this series). That makes it a long book, with a total of 78 chapters, or as it is depicted in Roman numerals, LXXVIII.
Frank becomes much more than he was (in more than one way), Hazel develops greatly as do Leo and Piper in their own ways. Perhaps Jason had the least in this book, which is really rather strange, but his relationship with Nico di Angelo in this book (and Nico as a character himself) is something valuable.
If this book is anything, it’s a character book and everyone emerges a more complete character by the end of it. There are so many revelations and arcs in this book, it’s incredible. Everyone is fighting their own battles despite being together (except, you know, Percy and Annabeth) and it is brilliant. It makes the team feel more like a unit by making them all individually greater, which sounds weird, but by the end of this book you can’t help but sense that.
The way Tartarus is depicted in this book is fascinating, and, among other things, it really puts Riordan’s world into perspective. It’s already a marvel that he has been able to craft a world in which Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, and only Riordan knows what else co-exists, but the setting of Tartarus tops everything off because it expresses the sheer scale of evil that exists in this world, despite everything that the mortals and demigods on Earth have to endure everyday.
The House of Hades, to date, remains my favourite Rick Riordan book, with its simple – yet gripping – plot, mind-bending settings and compelling characters and character arcs, and it will take something special from the Myth Master to top it.
On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating: