Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Last Hero

Rick Riordan has released two new series. He is continuing his Greek Mythology series with a new group of heroes in The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero. His second new series begins an exploration of Egyptian Mythology with the story of a brother and sister. The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1) introduces readers not only to new characters, but a slightly different format for readers familiar with the Percy Jackson series.

Most of the reviews I have read about the Lost Hero have been excited about the new series. I liked the first book but am not as excited about it as I was the after reading The Lightening Thief.

The story begins with Percy Jackson missing and Annabelle setting off to find him. Three students, who we predictably know will be half bloods, are on a bus traveling to a field trip. Jason awakens not knowing who he is and the story begins with a typical Percy Jackson pace. The Titan's have been replaced with a more frightening opponent that even the Gods cannot defeat alone.

The author is trying to establish an arc using Jason's past and the issues arising from The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 5). The goddess Hera is missing and the Gods have stopped speaking. This was one of the great weaknesses of the book. The quest to find Hera was fine. However, one of the great strengths of the Percy Jackson series was the humor provided by Hermes, Hades, and the other Gods. Their missing interactions with the half bloods left a hole in this novel. While parent Gods and the missing Hera are still included the lack of the others was something I hope will not continue in the rest of the series.

The hints about Jason's past start to get old. Riordan has an interest in introducing the Roman Gods to the Percy Jackson series. This could have been a fascinating story line. He did a great job providing parents and teachers with a wonderful way to interest children in Greek Mythology. This new series is a great way to demonstrate the connections between Greek and Roman Mythology. The first book was disappointing in achieving this goal. He did introduce the idea that the Greek and Roman Gods were connected. We learn Zeus and Hera's Greek and Roman names.

Students familiar with the original Percy series will already be wondering why Jason was uncomfortable at Camp Half Blood. They will want to know if there are Roman Half Bloods where are they housed. Here Riordan does make an interesting connection to United States History. I thought that was one strength of the story.

For those concerned with the fate of Percy, the explanation of why Jason is at Camp Half Blood gives hints of Percy’s destination. Suspicions are confirmed at the end of the story when Riordan reveals Percy’s location and some of the dangers he faces.

As typical with the Percy Jackson series, the end of one book sets up the next. As the first book concludes the reader is left with Jason, planning the next adventure for his friends in their efforts to complete the task Jason now understands he was sent to Camp Half Blood to begin.

The author's website says the next book in the series is due to be published in October of 2011. The title listed is The Son of Neptune.

Riordan is promising a book a year for both series, so readers will have a book from each series to look forward to in 2011.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like an interesting book. I prefer nonfiction and my 9yo hates reading so not for us but I'm sure someone will greatly enjoy it :)