Tuesday, December 20, 2011

REVIEW: The Son of Neptune

Riordan, R.  (2011).  The Son of Neptune.  New York:  Hyperion Books.

513 pages.

Appetizer:  Percy has spent the last two months with almost no memories of who he is.  He has been evading two gorgons who just won't stay in the Underworld.  By arriving at a camp for demigods in San Francisco, he seems to have finally found a place he can rest.  Kinda.

Percy has found the camp of the Roman demigods, the Greek demigods and Percy's natural enemies.  But he'll have to join with them if he ever wants to restore his memory and find the one person whose name he remembers--Annabeth.

Stunned by Percy's arrival, two Roman demigods, who are outsiders among the ranks, find themselves on a quest with Percy. Hazel is a cursed daughter of Pluto. She keeps many secrets, including the fact that she has died before.  Frank has a few secrets of his own as well. But after learning who his true father is, he finds himself leading a quest which he knows will most likely lead to his own death. Uncertain and understandably frightened, the three new friends must travel to Alaska, the land beyond the gods, to try and prevent the next phase in Gaia's awakening and to restore the balance of life and death.

So, if you read the first book in this series, The Lost Hero and any or aaaaaaaaaaall of the Percy Jackson or Kane Chronicles, then you pretty much know what to expect of The Son of Neptune:  A bit of humor, a lot of action and a fun take on the Greek and Roman gods.  It is worth noting, that this particular addition to Riordan's series...es does include several major references to the original Percy Jackson series.  (So, it might be good to have read them...or to at least vaguely remember the events.)

The beginning of The Son of Neptune did feel a little slow.  Since several new characters were introduced, it felt more like a novel beginning a series as opposed to a middle novel.  It also felt like a bit of a slow start since Percy had to befriend Hazel and Frank before the adventure could even begin and play war games at Camp Jupiter.  (But having said that, the last 100 pages are action PACKED.  Like, beyond packed...the action box is overflowing and cannot be properly closed.)

Nonetheless, the way that Riordan has changed up this series to both include and grow beyond Percy is very interesting.  I like that he has continued to expand the states and lands that the characters visit as well as expand the racial and national representation of the demigods.  Plus, the inclusions of the Amazons as the owners of the company Amazon was particularly fun.

Dinner Conversation:

"The snake-haired ladies were starting to annoy Percy.
They should have died three days ago when he dropped a crate of bowling balls on them at the Napa Bargain Mart.  They should have died two days ago when he ran over them with a police car in Martinez.  They definitely should have died this morning when he cut off their heads in Tilden Park.
No matter how many times Percy killed them and watched them crumble to powder, they just kept re-forming like large evil dust bunnies.  He couldn't even seem to outrun them.  (p. 3).

"A chill went down Percy's back.  "The Feast of Fortune...The gorgons mentioned that.  So did Juno.  They said the camp was going to be attacked on that day, something about a big bad goddess named Gaea, and an army, and Death being unleashed.  You're telling me that day is this week?"
Reyna's fingers tightened around the hilt of her dagger.  "You will say nothing about that outside this room," she ordered.  "I will not have you spreading more panic in the camp."
"So it's true," Percy said.  "Do you know what's going to happen?  Can we stop it?"
Percy had just met these people.  He wasn't sure he even liked Reyna.  But he wanted to help.  They were demigods, the same as him.  They had the same enemies.  Besides, Percy remembered what Juno had told him:  it wasn't just this camp at risk.  His old life, the gods, and the entire world might be destroyed.  Whatever was coming down, it was huge."  (pp. 41-42)

"Um, what exactly does it mean--you standing for me?"
"I guarantee your good behavior," Hazel explained.  "I teach you the rules, answer you questions, make sure you don't disgrace the legion."
"And...if I do something wrong?"
"Then i get killed along with you," Hazel said.  "Hungry?  Let's eat."  (p. 90)

"'Thanatos has been chained,' Mars announced.  "The Doors of Death have been forced open, and no one is policing them--at least, not impartially.  Gaea allows our enemies to pour forth into the world of mortals.  Her sons the giants are mustering armies against you--armies that you will not be able to kill.  Unless Death is unleashed to return to his duties, you will be overrun.  You must find Thanatos and free him from the giants.  Only he can reverse the tide." (p. 146)

"'There!' Mars finished writing and threw the scroll at Octavian.  "A prophecy.  You can add it to your books, engrave it on your floor, whatever."
Octavian read the scroll.  "This says, 'Go to Alaska.  Find Thanatos and free him.  Come back by sundown on June twenty-fourth or die."
"Yes," Mars said.  "Is that not clear?"
"Well, my lord...usually prophecies are unclear.  They're wrapped in riddles.  They rhyme, and..."
Mars casually popped another grenade off his belt.  "Yes?"
"The prophecy is clear!  Octavian announced.  "A quest!" (p. 149)

"'First things first." Percy tried to sound confident, though he could feel the level of panic rising in the room.  "I don't know who the seven are, or what that old prophecy means, exactly.  But first we have to free Thanatos.  Mars told us we only needed three people for the quest to Alaska.  Let's concentrate on succeeding with that and getting back before the Feast of Fortuna.  Then we can worry about the Doors of Death."
"Yeah, Frank said in a small voice.  "That's probably enough for one week."  (pp. 173-174)

Tasty Rating:  !!!

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