Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Book Jacket

Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper, and his best friend is a guy named Leo. They’re all students at the Wilderness School, a boarding school for “bad kids,” as Leo puts it. What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly? Jason doesn’t know anything – except that everything seems very wrong.

Piper has a secret. Her father, a famous actor, has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare about his being in trouble. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits during the school trip, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out, whether she wants to or not.

Leo has a way with tools. When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too – like the curse everyone keeps talking about, and some camper who’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them – including Leo – is related to a god. Does this have anything to do with Jason’s amnesia, or the fact that Leo keeps seeing ghosts?

Join new and old friends from Camp Half-Blood in this thrilling first book in The Heroes of Olympus series.


We had a launch party for the release of Rick Riordan's newest book (and watched Mr. Riordan himself via the interwebs as he read an excerpt from this book!) back in October, but I resisted using my librarian powers for selfish purposes and signed up on the waiting list like a normal patron.  Well, my turn to read the newest saga of Greek-gods-meets-modern-America has arrived!

Riordan has outdone himself.  Part of my love for this book might stem from the fact that I have gotten used to myths merging with the world I live in, but mostly I think it has to do with some really fully-formed and likable characters.  Jason is the quintessential hero, but he has no memory of who he is, and is therefore crippled with confusion and fear.  Piper is beautiful and sassy, which should by all rights cause me to roll my eyes at yet another dream-girl character, but instead she confronts all those stereotypes and made me admire her.  Leo is hilarious, but he avoids being a useless funny sidekick by realizing he is exactly that--and revealing to us that he is far more scarred than his witty exterior lets on.

I'm amazed at Riordan's depth of psychology, and his gleeful distortion of literary tropes.  Awesome, sir.

But don't let your eyes glaze over in boredom.  The story is fast-paced, with battles and mysteries and hilariously characterized Greek gods and monsters.  The addition of Roman mythology is wonderful--instead of ignoring the fact that our world has two different names for the same gods and goddesses, Riordan weaves it all together in his own Riordan Mythology.

I should also mention that yes, Percy and Annabeth and all the rest appear in this book.  They'll have even bigger parts in the books to come, unless I'm completely off my prediction game.  So there's that, even if you don't love Jason, Piper, and Leo (which you will).

Five out of five mechanical dragons.

Release Date:  October 2010
Reading Level:  Grade 4+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection:  YPL RIO

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