Sunday, November 20, 2011

Book 40: Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

This is the second book in the Heroes of Olympus series, moving the action to San Francisco so that we can find out what happened to Percy Jackson.  This series focuses on the Roman aspects of the Greek gods and the children that they have.  Let’s just say that Roman demi-gods are a bit more serious than their Greek counterparts. 

The book begins where Riordan’s series usually do, with a kid fighting monsters.  This time Percy Jackson, with his memories wiped, is fighting the Gorgons who are still upset with him for killing his sister when he was 11.  Percy has just come from training with a wolf pack and was sent to find Camp Jupiter, where the Roman demigods are trained.  Percy knows how to fight and understands that it is unusual that the monsters won’t stay dead, but beyond that he only remembers Annabeth (but not where she is, or really who she is).  He finds the camp and avoids being killed by its inhabitants because he unknowingly helped Juno, who vouches for him.  Not that everyone in the camp trusts him—he is too old to have just discovered his heritage, uses Greek names for the gods, and is the son of Neptune (an unlucky god for the Romans). 

Despite this, Percy quickly makes a couple friends, Hazel (daughter of Pluto) and Frank (son of Mars), who both have some unusual secrets of their own.  As usual though, Percy has no time to relax before he is sent on a quest by Mars with Frank and Hazel to go to Alaska and free Thantos, the god of death.  Gaia’s son, the giant Alcyoneus, has captured him and that is why monsters, and others, won’t stay dead—Gaia is now in charge of who stays in the underworld.  Percy, Hazel, and Frank encounter many other monsters and mythical figures on their quest and find out more about their abilities and destinies.

This book was a lot of fun, but if you don’t already enjoy the type of stories that Riordan does, you will obviously not enjoy this.  There is an incredible amount of research that he puts into these books, but just enough humor to keep it fun.  For instance, one of my favorite parts of this was the modern version of auguries.  Instead of slaughtering and animal and reading the entrails, a toy is sliced open and the stuffing is read.  This made me laugh probably more than it should have.  So, if this is the type of story that you enjoy, read it, you won’t be disappointed.

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