When The Lightning Thief first came out, I devoured it, and then introduced it to my students, who devoured it, too. My sons loved it, too, as we read each book as a read aloud.
I thought writer Rick Riordan’s use of Greek Mythology mixed with action and adventure — along with liberal humor told from the view of a spunky, impulsive protagonist — was a fun, lively twist to most of the books we read, so we began to read it as a class book. I have mixed feelings about the movie version (see my review) and the graphic novel version (see my review), and not all of the other books in the series were as strong as the first.
But many of my students were bummed out when that series ended.
This past year, Riordan came storming back with a new series (The Heroes of Olympus) that introduced new characters and a pretty impressive story arc. The Lost Hero pits three new demigod friends together to save the day as Gaea (yes, Mother Earth, but not the kind gentle one we know but the vindictive mother of the Titans and other monsters) is coming out of her slumber of eons and wants revenge against the Gods of Olympus for defeating her children.
Jason, the son of Jupiter (the Roman version of Zeus); Piper, the daughter of Aphrodite; and Leo, the son of Hephaestus must join forces. They do, with plenty of plot turns and character development. Riordan spends a lot of time with the back stories of Piper and Leo (not so much Jason, who has lost his memories) and it is time well-spent.
I read The Lost Hero aloud to my six year old, but my older sons also dove right into the book and seemed to like it, too. (I know, because they fought over the book and hid it from each other).
What I found interesting is that while Riordan confined his vision to Greek Mythology in The Lightning Thief, here he is moving into the conflicts between Greek and Roman Mythologies, and the only way to save the Gods is for demigod heroes of both mythological backgrounds to work together. The Giants who were created by Gaea to destroy the Olympian Gods are rising and only the demigods, working with the Gods, can destroy the giants. But, the Gods have mostly abandoned their children. (Mostly, but not completely) It only through a plot and ploy by a jealous Hera, who has been captured by Gaea, that a foretold prophesy can begin to take shape with Jason, Piper and Leo at the heart of it.
The book ends with plenty of foreshadowing for what is to come, including mentions of our old friend, Percy Jackson (from The Lightning Thief), who has gone missing from Camp Half-Blood. By the end of this book, the three heroes have a good idea of where Percy is and how to save him. If there is time …
Peace (in the story),