Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Jason wakes up in the back of a school bus with no memory. Everyone around him knows who he is, including his closest friend Leo, and and his girlfriend Piper. When they are attacked by storm spirits, he, Leo, and Piper are launched into the world of gods and demigods, finding a place for themselves at Camp Half-blood. But for a reason Jason can't explain, he feels like he doesn't quite belong. Nevertheless, they all discover the secret of their parentage and a dire threat to the gods, demigods, and humanity alike.  Together they set off on a quest to restore Jason's memories and stop the destruction they believe is about to unfold.

I've been trying to get my hands on the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series from the library for some time. But, without realizing what had happened, I put a hold on The Lost Hero, which is the first book in The Heroes of Olympus series, instead. I cracked it without bothering to read the jacket and was surprised to find not Percy, but Jason. However, I was immediately drawn into the story and stopped caring about whether I was reading the books out of order.

I love what Rick Riordan has done with this and his previous series: he's made Greek and Roman mythology accessible and interesting to youth today. Like Shakespeare, there's a large overlap of ideas and themes between Greek mythology and contempoary writing that makes the mythology accessible if you can get past the language. The gods and heroes of olden times struggled with many of the same things we mortals have been struggling with for time immemorial: love, envy, greed, lust, hope. The list goes on. But reading Bulfinch's Mythology or some other text is not exactly electrifying unless you're already a mythology junkie. So, The Heroes of Olympus and Percy Jackson series give readers the flavour of the mythology in a modern package.

As for my nitpicky editorial thoughts, I don't have a lot to say. This is a trade book; unsurprisingly, I didn't see any typos. One thing that did irk me a little, however, were the flashbacks and backstory. I found them a little clunky. But, I'm willing to forgive them, since the structure of the book requires a modicum of backstory. This book wouldn't have worked if it had started when the main characters were children.

For any adult readers, you should know that this book (and hence the series) is very adolescent. It is written for and about teenagers. But don't let that discourage you from reading it if you're over the age of 18. The humour and action kept me from putting this book down for long. Riordan builds a lot of tension and drama into this book, and I'm dying to find out what's going to happen next (and get my hands on the Percy Jackson series).

Copy source: library
Genre: young adult fantasy
Format: hardcopy

View my suggested books by Rick Riordan

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