Price: INR 399
Surprisingly, not many people around me seem to have read Rick Riordan inspite of his bestseller status. I was introduced to Riordan’s work through the Percy Jackson series. Percy Jackson made Greek mythology cool, gave Greek gods fantastic personalities (mostly of the unstable variety) and won Riordan countless fans from around the world.
The Heroes of Olympus series is a spin-off of the aforementioned Percy Jackson chronicles. Unlike the previous series, however, this one deals with Roman mythology. Frankly, if I judged book by their covers, this one wouldn’t appeal to me at all. However, in my books, Riordan has a rock solid reputation as a fun storyteller and I couldn’t resist another mythology-based adventure. (He tackles mythology for the third time in this series. After the Greek came the Egyptian via The Kane Chronicles).
If you’re reading the work of a bestselling author, you can’t help but compare the current work to the past work. I’m not saying it’s fair, but it happened with Rowling with The Casual Vacancy, and it happens here (especially when this is quite literally a sequel).
The book begins by introducing three unfamiliar demigods – Piper, Leo and Jason – the latter of whom is in the uncomfortable position of having no memory. We meet Annabeth, one of the heroines from Percy Jackson, and discover that the last series’ eponymous hero is missing. Throughout the course of the book, we discover that the series deals with the Great Prophecy that made an appearance at the end of the last book in the Percy Jackson series. Now the three demigods have to go on a quest to prevent an ancient giant from rising and destroying the world as well as launch a rescue attempt for a kidnapped goddess. And they only have four days to succeed. All in a day’s work for Riordan’s heroes.
After reading eight of Riordan’s books, you notice the formula they follow. Impossible deadlines. Fate of the world at stake. Massively underprepared heroes. Distracted by psychotic gods. Not to say that I don’t enjoy his books. I love his mad mythological tales and can hardly wait for the next one to appear.
But as much as I enjoyed the book, and as much as I hate making comparisions, I have to say this: Percy Jackson was better. The plot twists in the first book weren’t exactly shocking – I could see them coming a mile away. In the Percy Jackson books, the surprises usually mugged me at an unsuspecting corner. And this, even though I have minimal knowledge about Greek and Roman mythology (they overlap quite a bit); most of what I know is thanks to Riordan.
Unlike the Percy Jackson series, this book employs a technique where the point of view shifts between the three main characters – which is interesting but I can’t make up my mind whether I like it or not. Mostly because I find Piper’s character really annoying and have to resist the urge to smack her on the head. I missed Percy’s voice and personality.
But Riordan’s strengths remain intact. He is a master world-creator, his sense of humour and fun shines and the plot itself is detailed and interesting. I’ve read the two books that come after The Lost Hero, and even though I liked them better than this one, it’s still an entertaining read.