After far too long – thanks to the huge gap between The Mark of Athena and the House of Hades – my Heroes of Olympus review series has come to a close with The Blood of Olympus. Coincidentally, this is my one-hundredth post – not review – and so it comes with a sense of completion in more than one way.
After closing the Doors of Death and being reunited, the seven demigods of the Great Prophecy must travel to Athens to put a halt to Gaia’s plans once and for all, while Reyna, Nico and Coach Hedge travel with the Athena Parthenos back to Camp Half-Blood to try and prevent an imminent war between Roman and Greek demigods.
There is no doubt in my mind that The Blood of Olympus is the worst book of all five. This isn’t to say that it is great, but not as great as the other ones. It is just not great.
I read the first four Heroes of Olympus books at a stretch and actually had to wait for this book to release (that was three years ago. I’m old). The book released two days before my birthday, so it was one of my presents, and for the first time in my life I experienced disappointment in a book, perhaps because I expected too much.
There are two very big problems I have with this book, but let me talk about the good stuff first.
Jason Grace, who I felt was unbelievably the least developed of all seven heroes up to this point, finally lives up to his name and presence in this book. It is truly a delight to see Jason become what I always wanted him to be.
The same can be said about Leo. By the end of the book, all seven demigods feel as if they have achieved their purposes, played their parts and have completed their arcs.
Generally speaking, the plot of this book is inferior to the other four, mostly because they all had more focus. This book is about pay-off and sadly it does not deliver. This is my first major issue with this book. The first and second thirds are great, but the last third is a hurried mess, which ultimately is a disappointment considering the four prior books of set-up and the sense of urgent danger that was created. Sure, it was incredibly clever, the way everything was written, but it could have been told much better.
The second problem with this book is its narrators. The first time I read this book, I had to do a double-take when I saw ‘Reyna’ as the second narrator, and had to do so again later on when I saw ‘Nico’.
I like both characters and I think they deserve spotlight, but this seems wrong. They hadn’t had anything up to this point in all four books, and every time this book would move away from the seven demigods on the Argo II to Nico or Reyna, it put me off a little.
What could have been done to track the progress of Nico and Reyna is pretty simple and is a trick Rick Riordan always uses: Dreams. Every now and then a chapter could be dedicated to it through someone’s dream. Progress could have been checked in Piper’s blade Katoptris, or displayed on Leo’s giant screens in the dining room of the Argo II. But drawing attention away from the main characters really didn’t help this book.
An even worse consequence of this is that of the seven demigods that the story actually centres around, only three narrate in this book: Jason, Leo and Piper.
Look, I realise that everything in this book leads up to the three of them, but I can’t help but feel this is a poor decision. The Roman demigods get nothing, and in the last time Percy and Annabeth save the world together, we see things from neither of their perspectives. The House of Hades equally shared the glory of the book across the seven heroes (except, slightly less, Jason), but this book clearly leans towards only three. As the culminating chapter, it doesn’t feel right.
Nevertheless, the story that is told (albeit a little sloppy towards the end) is truly epic, and for Rick Riordan to be able to think of this massive spectacle across five books amazes me. It is incredibly commendable, and I do believe that he is one of the most underappreciated writers of our time.
On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:
The Blood of Olympus: MIHIR
Considering that this is the end of this series, I’ve decided to leave links to the other four reviews in the series below.
It feels strange that I’ve written a hundred posts. Thank you, no matter how long you’ve been here, for reading. Even if I reach one reader per post, it feels great.