By Rick Riordan
Release Date: October 8th, 2013
Genre: Children's Fiction
I’ll be honest. At first, I wasn’t even going to review this book, as it just wouldn’t be fair. Just like the Warrior Cats Saga, this is an automatic five star book for me for the sheer reason of it being written by Rick Riordan. He’s never written a book that disappointed me, to be completely honest. So, I mean, how can I review something that is close to perfection? By splitting hairs, I guess. And, since I haven’t uploaded a review in a while, here’s my somewhat-biased-hair-splitting review of House of Hades. I know I’m late to the party, seeing as Blood of Olympus is already out, but school got in the way!
So, this book follows up pretty much immediately where Mark of Athena left off. Percy and Annabeth are still plummeting into Tartarus and the rest of the Argo II crew is trying to make it to the House of Hades on the mortal side, so that they can hopefully help their friends escape…
I won’t go into too much of the details here, for those of you who haven’t read the book or the series yet, as much of the fun of Rioardan’s books is not only the climax of the story, but how his characters reach the climax and ending. With Riordan, there are so many whimsical twists and turns the characters are thrown, and the godly entities and mythical creatures are so well imagined, that – yes – I read the book more for the side characters and the side quests than the actual plot of the book. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the main plot, I definitely do. I wouldn’t have stuck through a 600 page book if I didn’t. But I couldn’t help but catch myself flipping through the pages with Percy and Annabeth in Tartarus to get back to Leo stranded on an island with a beautiful crush. There’s just something about Leo and Frank and Nico that are just so alluring and I guess more… vulnerable than Percy and Annabeth.
And that’s really where my main and only complaint with this book came into place. Percy and Annabeth are in FREAKIN Tartarus and they are still pretty much invincible. For every danger thrown their way, they are on top of it. Dying of noxious fumes? Drink some fire water. Dying of curses put upon you by crazy bird monsters? Get rescued by a Titan. I dunno... it just would have felt much more genuine if it seemed like they were legitimately in danger of dying. I didn’t hold my breath for their next chapters simply because I knew that luck was either on their side or Annabeth would just talk her way out of getting killed by Gods.
And, seriously, this happened to just about EVERY god or goddess they met in Tartarus. Akhlys? Eh, just convinced her to help you with reverse psychology. Nyx, just distract her by condescending her. Tartarus? Well, I won’t tell you about that one. But seriously? I get she’s a daughter of Athena, but you can’t TALK yourself out of every danger you come across. These gods and monsters are thousands of years old. You think they’d be a little more knowing about mortal tricks of the mind.
And, yes, I get it. It’s not like Percy and Annabeth can die. They’re the main characters and every Percabeth shipper out there would want Riordan’s head on a stick if he did write it that way, but I little suspense would be nice every now and then.
I guess that was one of the main reasons I looked forward to the rest of the crew’s chapters. We knew their weaknesses and that they weren’t invulnerable. There were times where it seemed like they really had no way out of a situation and they had to use their imagination and skills to get out of it. Hell, sometimes they even failed at what they were trying to do, but they were quick to think up an alternate solution. I just didn’t find that in Percy and Annabeth’s chapters.As much as I rip on it, though, this was a fascinating book and had all the elements of an awesome Riordan book. Magic, myths, adventure, humor, and romance. He touches on every one of these and, with the varying points of view throughout the entire novel, we really get to delve deeper into each character’s thoughts and actions. And, really, who never wondered what Tartartus looked like? Now, we know!
And let me just say – that twist with Nico? How did I not see that coming??? Bravo, Mr. Riordan, bravo. You know only someone who is truly versed in writing can throw even the most loyal of readers a ball from left field.
Now on to Blood of Olympus!