Book Brief: ‘The Lost Hero’

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Sam,

Last month I read the first book in the Heroes of Olympus series: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. I bought it several years ago, when it first came out, and never found the right time to open it. I admit; I thought I had outgrown this branch of Riordan’s writing. But I was looking for something simple and easy to read after A Dance with Dragons and Origins by Neil Degrasse Tyson. I’m happy to say I was wrong – to a degree that is. I’d like to talk about it briefly.

The biggest deciding factor to me sticking to this story was Riordan changing up his writing style and point of view since the Percy Jackson series. I’m glad he’s grown as a writer because the change makes his world much better. He switched the point of view from first person to third and divided narration between the main trio: Jason, Piper, and Leo. I thought this choice was far more generous to the reader. We are able to choose whom we want to root for. We aren’t forced to see the story from one character’s perspective (especially if we won’t like them). What is more, there’s more development of the characters. I grew attached to the main trio because more of their background was explained; their motivations, wants, and flaws were better expressed in this book. Character empathy from me, a reader, is something I pay attention to. I was pleased to see Rick gave more attention to the development of the characters. The Percy Jackson series lacked this severely. In my opinion, Percy did not change at all. I had to keep reminding myself he was and older teenager in the fifth book.

Ultimately, that’s why I read this story to the end, and why I’m going to give the subsequent installments a look through. The variety appealed to a broader scope of readership.the-lost-hero-festus-ice-castle

I’d like to add a few more things.

  • The content transcended the reading level or targeted age of its audience.
    • I don’t really like sorting books into reading levels (otherwise Harry Potter would hold much less weight than it does now). Instead, I like to interpret the content, what happens, to the characters and plot. Think of the Hunger Games trilogy. Stylistically, it’s written for a young audience. Content-wise, the events that transpire are much too mature and graphic for young readers to fully understand.
    • Moreover, the Lost Hero had its iconic Riordan trademarks of humor, but the content seemed a little more sophisticated than its predecessors.
  • It did not take me long to figure out the main villain of the story or that the plot would follow the same checklist as Percy Jackson: heroes meet, go to Camp Half-Blood, eventually hear prophecy, main trio volunteer to go (because who else would?) on quest, and monster encounters and interactions with gods occur on the way.
    • I’m not upset at the design of plot. That’s how every other book in Rick’s world went. Consistency would advise against deviating.
    • I guess I just wanted something different, something unseen before, to challenge his writing abilities.
  • I liked the explanation of the Roman sides of the gods. The relationship between the Greek and Roman camps is set up well. Rick clearly enjoyed playing with history to expand his world.
  • Because I’m so well-versed in Classical mythology and literature, I pretty much knew what bad guy or reference to lore was coming. That did not take away from my enjoyment. I was interested to see how Rick interpreted Classical subjects.
  • There were not as many plot holes in this story. Much confusion Jason (and the reader) had about his origins was answered by the book’s conclusion. If certain parts giving way to a continuation, this book could have been a nice stand-alone member of Rick’s world.

With all that said, it you’re interested in a light read with Classical characters in modern times, pick this title up.

Cheers.

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