Monday, November 1, 2010

The Lost Hero

Okay, I know I'm a little late to the party. This book came out about a month ago and I am only just now getting around to writing about it.

But wow, what a book!

If you liked the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, this one picks up just a few months after The Last Olympian left off, with a trio of demigods visiting the Grand Canyon. Jason wakes up on a bus, completely unsure who he is. On one side of him is Leo, his best buddy. On the other is Piper, his girlfriend. All good -- if he could just remember them.

Eventually the three are "extracted" from their field trip and brought to Camp Half Blood, where the mystery around Jason deepens further: Chiron tells him he's supposed to be dead. In Cabin One, where the children of Zeus are housed, Jason sees a picture of Thalia and realizes that she's his sister. But how is this possible? Chiron knows but is sworn not to talk about it. No less mysterious is Jason's ability to speak Latin and the odd tattoo on his arm. Who is this guy?

Add to this the fact that Zeus has closed Olympus -- no communication in, no communication out -- and Hera appears to have been kidnapped. Jason, Leo and Piper are sent on a quest to rescue the queen of heaven and hopefully prevent the rising of someone or something that will make Kronos look like a Sunday School Picnic. A nice touch is that the story is told from three viewpoints: Jason's, Leo's and Pipers. It's a good move away from the Percy Jackson series that makes this one feel more like it's a new series, albeit with many familiar characters.

Like all Riordan's books, this one's a thrill ride. Action comes thick and fast and it's a compelling read, not least because of the tantalizing clues to the mystery surrounding Jason. This one is targeted for older kids -- the heroes are 15 and act it. There are a few OMGs, but it's otherwise clean. Violence is, as before, somewhat softened by monsters turning to dust when struck. Themes are a little more serious; the infidelities the gods indulge in are touched on with a little more directness and the consequences of those infidelities are played out in people's lives to negative effect. This one might be best for 7th or 8th grade and up.

The Lost Hero is what I like best about kid lit. It's pure entertainment, well written and leaves you dying to find out more. I can't wait for the sequel, due out in the Fall of 2011, and am hoping it's just the beginning of a nice long series.

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