book: the lost hero

"the lost hero" by rick riordani am beginning to think that rick riordan writes greek/roman mythologies better than he does egyptian.

THE LOST HERO is the longest riordan book i’ve read, so far–but it’s every bit as entertaining as the shortest PERCY JACKSON book. the first novel off a new series that features camp half-blood, this one tells the story of jason, piper and leo; three new demigods who must answer the call of a new prophecy.

if the PERCY JACKSON series was told through the main character, and the KANE CHRONICLES‘s first book was told through the perspectives of a brother-sister tandem, the first book off HEROES OF OLYMPUS tells the story through three points-of-view. and unlike in THE RED PYRAMID (which is the first book off KANE CHRONICLES), the narrative in this book is smoother and less disjointed.

it probably helped that there were no annoying asides. and, as i mentioned before, greek/roman gods really are more mainstream than egyptian gods.

okay, here’s the backgrounder:

jason is a demigod with no memory of who he is, or what he is suddenly doing with two other demigods about to be kidnapped by storm spirits. and unlike other demigods we’ve met already, jason doesn’t seem to be familiar with greek mythology–but he is well-versed in its roman counterpart. also, he speaks latin. and on his first day at camp half-blood, he is given a quest to free a goddess trapped by a new enemy.

that’s the main plot of the story, and it is supplemented by two side stories that feature the other two main characters. piper is a demigod who doesn’t seem to be happy with her famous parents: a movie star and a god, who wouldn’t feel pressured, right? meanwhile, leo is a conflicted demigod who blames his abilities for the death of his mortal parent when he was a child.

unlike THE LIGHTNING THIEF (book 1 of the PERCY JACKSON series) and THE RED PYRAMID, THE LOST HERO doesn’t waste too much time setting things up. and it works for the book because our main protagonist, jason, doesn’t remember a thing. so the things that are brought up that should’ve read as set-up, actually play like integral parts of the plot.

but no book is perfect. THE LOST HERO suffers, i think, from the HARRY POTTER formula: the hero, the loyal friend, and the encyclopedia. do i have to name who’s who? unlike in PERCY JACKSON wherein your hero was flanked by a female warrior and a comic relief, THE LOST HERO‘s team reads a bit too much like harry, ron and hermione at times. the only difference is, in THE LOST HERO, the encyclopedia falls in love with the hero and not the friend.

that said, THE LOST HERO seems to have learned a lot from the mistakes of the PERCY JACKSON series. unlike in THE LIGHTNING THIEF where our characters traveled from one place to the other, and spent way too much time on the road; THE LOST HERO successfully gives our characters a mode of transport that takes them from one point to the other without too much travel time. in this way, the author successfully takes out the lulls that peppered THE LIGHTNING THIEF.

sure, we never actually saw the lulls in THE LIGHTNING THIEF. but in all the traveling they did, did you never wonder what the bad guys were doing? in THE LOST HERO, you got updates of what’s happening with the good guys and the bad guys!

i have to say, finishing THE LOST HERO, i can’t wait to read the next book off the HEROES OF OLYMPUS series: THE SON OF NEPTUNE.

the red pyramid

"the red pyramid" by rick riordanto be honest, i wasn’t completely sold on buying THE RED PYRAMID yet. i held off from buying the PERCY JACKSON series until my mom bought the whole set (and then, i borrowed it from her) so i was thinking of doing the same thing with this release. after all, the wait would be shorter as this is supposedly part of a trilogy, not a series.

but in the end, curiosity won out. bought the book, and i finished it within the day.

what THE RED PYRAMID has working for it is that the PERCY JACKSON series was highly successful. which means people would be curious with rick riordan‘s other work. and that’s a good thing, because contrary to what the author says, egyptian mythology is not as popular as greek or roman mythology. it does okay, don’t get me wrong. but aside from the few popular ones, and the ankh, people don’t go around invoking egyptian gods and goddesses in daily conversations. unlike their greek or roman counterparts.

that aside, THE RED PYRAMID was an enjoyable read. it stars two heroes, and we follow two different perspectives, but only one journey. i was initially worried that it would come off as confusing, what with following two different narrators–but that fear was quickly put to rest within the first few chapters. you see, the book is presented as a transcript of a series of recorded messages. a very good way of making the characters, and the fantastical events, easy to relate to. because it feels like you’re reading a friend’s or a colleague’s accounts of their very interesting christmas vacation.

what i didn’t like so much was the small interruptions the “narrators” put in. i know that we’re to believe the conceit that it is just a transcript–but the interruptions actually derailed me while reading. i get it that their siblings, and siblings tease each other while the other is talking (i have sisters, i know what i’m saying), but in THE RED PYRAMID, it doesn’t add anything to the story. it actually distracts.

but aside from this one complaint, THE RED PYRAMID as a whole was very enjoyable. it’s certainly different enough from the PERCY JACKSON series that it doesn’t feel like a retread of the teenagers-as-gods storyline, but it doesn’t deviate so much from the successful formula that this feels like a cheap knock-off.

what i like about the book most is this one moment when a character tells our protagonists that she’s not very fond of manhattan because there are other gods there. i see this as an establishing moment wherein the characters in this series are affirming that it’s in the same universe as the other series. and i for one am looking forward to a crossover event–or even just a moment. wouldn’t it be funny for the kane siblings to suddenly bump into percy jackson in one of their journeys? the kanes are in brooklyn and camp half-blood is just over at long island. it’s impossible that they don’t bump into each other sooner or later.

do i recommend the book? definitely. especially since by book’s end,  there are no immediate mysteries that one must quickly have the answer for. i mean, there are hanging story threads–but not like the ones in THE DREAMHOUSE KINGS series by robert liparulo that would keep you sleepless for a few days while you wonder what happens in the next book. but they’re intriguing enough that you definitely know that you’ll be buying the next book in the trilogy as soon as it’s released.