The Lost HeroThis is the latest book out by Rick Riordan. Yeah, it’s a kid’s book. I dig me some good kid’s fiction.
Why? Because it’s so damn good. If you get your hands on a good kid’s book, it’s a lot like going back in time. You return to an age when everything was possible, imaginations were powerful vehicles, and you’re just lost in possibilities.
Plus, they’re full of humor – adult books are too heavy sometimes. They’re way too serious.
For those of you who don’t know, this is the first book in Riordan’s second series about the Olympian demigods, The Heroes of Olympus. The first series being Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
I’m going to pause here to say…if you saw the film adaptation of The Lightning Thief without first reading the book – you’ve failed on an epic scale. The movie is okay for a kid if you don’t already know the story – but it’s not going to live up to your standards if you’re an adult. If you’re an adult who read the book, it may flat-out disappoint you.
The book, however, is good enough for an adult; especially an adult who has some interest in Greek Mythology. But The Lightning Thief is not the topic here. I should’ve reviewed that series back when I first read it.
This post is about The Lost Hero. This time around we’re dealing with the Roman side of things – granted, we still have all the Greek goodness and our base of operations is still Camp Half-Blood – but this book is most definitely focusing on the merging of the Roman and Greek; two sides of the same coin.
It’s fantastic to read all the clever ways that Riordan weaves Ancient Greek and Roman mythology back into modern society.
When I was twelve or so, I was hit with an intense fascination with Greek Mythology – I read countless books on the topic. I knew almost every possible myth there was to know. Any movie or television show that referenced Greek Mythology had me following along, shouting out things like: “Oh, I know what’s gonna happen!” “That’s supposed to be so-and-so!”
So to read Riordan’s books as an adult is to be transported back to that little twelve year old who is constantly getting ridiculously excited each time she recognizes a reference to a myth she read or makes a connection between hints dropped here and there throughout the story.
I bought this book as an e-book because I didn’t feel like going to the bookstore. I had never read a book on anything as tiny as my iPod before, but I’m so glad I took the chance – I purchased the book and went to work. I started reading it half-heartedly at work around 8:30 AM and before I got off at 5:00 PM I had already devoured the story. I had to charge my iPod twice while reading to make it through.
I was going to link to a nice summary of the plot at Amazon or somewhere – but their summary is shit. Truly. I mean sorry, but it’s pretty worthless to me.
You can check it out on Wikipedia if you want a detailed plot summary, but I won’t encourage it because Wikipedia gives way too many spoilers and I hate to have books ruined for me.
So here’s my own brief summary for you: This is a story about Jason, a kid with amnesia who wakes up on a bus in the middle of a school field trip to the Grand Canyon. He’s accompanied by Piper, who claims to be his girlfriend, though he can’t remember her, and Leo, who claims to be his best friend, whom he also can’t remember. As happened with Percy, Jason and his friends’ field trip is rudely interrupted by a monster attack – Jason fights to save his friends and himself, discovering that the coin in his pocket – much like Percy’s magic pen – is really a weapon in disguise.
Jason and his friends survive and they then travel to Camp Half-Blood, where they meet Chiron and Annabeth (from the first series) – They hear some prophecies, accept a quest, and set out to begin their journey. Jason’s job is to somehow aid a captive Hera. The twist to the entire story is that while everyone else is living in the Greek World, Jason sees and relates to everything with a Roman’s perspective.
It’s wonderfully written. Children and adults can both relate to Riordan’s style of writing and storytelling. The pacing is fantastic. There’s not a dull moment in the entire book, but neither does it feel so rushed that your believability or powers of acceptance are put to the test. In other words, this book flows and doesn’t suffer from any of the jumpy, disjointedness that the film version of The Lightning Thief struggled with.
This book easily takes a 5 out of 5. And I am eagerly awaiting the next in the series – though that seems like it will be sooo far away. If you like Greek or Roman mythology or you just want a a good read, then I highly recommend you check it out. It’s really that good.