Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Heroes of Olympus Series By Rick Riordan- Book One: The Lost Hero

I LOVE Rick Riordan! His Percy Jackson and the Olympians books were the catalyst to getting my six year old son to care more about learning to read about this time last year. Eli and I did the Percy books in both print and audio book format and LOVED them. For Eli's six birthday, his father and I took him to see the Percy Jackson movie in his very own Percy Jackson shirt. The Percy books are about kids in the middle grades age range but elementary age kids can get into the books just as easily. My favorite part of the series is the way that Percy keeps things from getting too heavy, but still manages to convey the feeling that the bad things are very real. The language is easy to read and I recommend these books to EVERY parent I meet.

Now, my love for PJO being thrown out there, I was worried that I would not be able to get into the new Heroes of Olympus books because it feels a little like betraying a friend! Percy is not the main character in the HOO books. The main characters are all new and all our old friends are now background characters. I avoided reading this book for as long as I could. I managed to hold out until early last week when my husband (who had already finished it) finally drove me to read it. I did the audio book format first then reread with the print copy. I have to say- I like Jason Grace, the new main character in the Camp Half-Blood universe. He is not my favorite though- more on that later. I don't want to give anything away from The Lost Hero because it is worth reading and experiencing on your own but I will say that the new lead characters are wonderful and the story is riveting.

The viewpoint of the narrator is different in HOO as opposed to PJO because in The Lost Hero, we see a switch every 3 chapters or so- Jason, then Piper and then Leo. I kinda like this style of storytelling because the story is so involved that it helps to see things from each perspective in turn to get the full picture. Jason is a classic hero, in my opinion, because we see that he is not only a battle hardened fighter but a caring and moral individual. He is the kind of hero you expect to find in a world of demigods, unlike Percy, who never really set out to be a hero or a leader but kinda stumbled/was thrown into it. Piper is a great, strong female lead. I really appreciate that even though she is a demigod daughter of Aphrodite, she is not into clothes, makeup or hair and she wants nothing more than to be her own person from of all the trappings of the world. Piper is a great female role model for young girls. And my personal favorite underage fictional demigod, Leo. *Sigh* I LOVE Leo. Leo is the one who brings most of the humor to the group, trying to keep things light even in scary situations. Leo is a mechanical genius and demigod son of Hephaestus, of course. Leo is extremely gifted and a great friend. Leo brings the story to life, for me any way.

The next book in this series, The Son of Neptune, comes out next fall. This series will be great to read together as a family or this book would make a great gift for children of all ages. The main characters are slightly older, as they are the same age as Percy and Annabeth are NOW, but the story remains ageless. Just like PJO, there are some dating references and some kissing references/scenes but nothing worse than what a child would see on Disney in the evenings.
You can find out more about Rick and his works on his website, his blog and you can even follow him on twitter!!

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