I haven't written a review in forever but it's Rick Riordan, who, sadly, only gives me two opportunities a year to gush, so I gotta seize the day.
"Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up on a school bus holding hands with a girl. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper. His best friend is a kid named Leo, and they’re all students in the Wilderness School, a boarding school for “bad kids.” What he did to end up here, Jason has no idea—except that everything seems very wrong.
Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, and her vivid nightmares reveal that he’s in terrible danger. Now her boyfriend doesn’t recognize her, and when a freak storm and strange creatures attack during a school field trip, she, Jason, and Leo are whisked away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood. What is going on?
Leo has a way with tools. His new cabin at Camp Half-Blood is filled with them. Seriously, the place beats Wilderness School hands down, with its weapons training, monsters, and fine-looking girls. What’s troubling is the curse everyone keeps talking about, and that a camper’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist they are all—including Leo—related to a god."
Let me start out by saying that The Lost Hero is amazing. Rick Riordan is amazing. And I'm going to tell you how and why without giving anything, at least anything major, away.
Written in the third person, The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus, Book 01) volleys between the individual and combined experiences of Jason, Leo, & Piper, three out of the seven demigods involved in the new prophecy, revealing the secrets they keep, even from each other. The perspective changes between the three every two chapters and I think it translated better here than it did with The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles, Book 01). This style also keeps the book from feeling like a total PJ rip-off although there are a handful of glaring similarities which one cannot ignore. That said, the tone is slightly older than early PJ and R. Riordan does acknowledge, later in the story, that Percy and Jason serve as counterpoint to each other. As for the prose, well, this man can write. It just flows.
Jason starts out as the most intriguing character of the three for three main reasons: 1. The story opens with him, 2. The mystery surrounding his presence, and 3. the circumstances of his birth. However, R. Riordan fangirl I may be, I do think that he could have done more to make the Jason character meatier. By the end I wasn't as interested with him as I was in the beginning which is a shame, really.
Leo, now this guy, he was the dark horse of the story. Think Nico minus his Prince of the Undead charm. I found him pretty obnoxious initially but his vulnerability, ingenuity, and all around likability makes him, easily, my favorite of the three.
The weak link, in my humble opinion, is Piper who is neither offensive nor spectacular (although it felt like I was being constantly told that she is) but is definitely more likable than other leading-lady type demigods out there. Her godly parent is...blah...but she, at least, isn't as
useless as her cabin mates. The one thing I really did like about her is that she knows what she wants and isn't afraid to own up it. *side-eye Annabeth*
Familiar characters from the PJ books make an appearance, Camp Half-Blood does become their base after all, but they do not figure prominently in the story. Percy is not a part of The Lost Hero at all but his presence, or lack thereof, is keenly felt. By the end, one cannot help but speculate on what his role is going to be in the next installment. There is no question that Percy, who may or may not be "The Son of Neptune" (Heroes of Olympus, Book 2), will be in the next book but I'm positive it's not gonna be his story. The one spoilerish thing I'm going to say about this series is that R. Riordan meshes Greek and Roman Mythology so beautifully and seamlessly (not that much of a spoiler since you'll catch on early anyway) that you don't even question it. The emphasis on how the same God could be two separate deities, genius! Plot-hole problems - solved!
Yipes, already I'm going on and on about the next book in the series - obviously October 2011 cannot come soon enough - so let me end my verbal diarrhea with this: The Lost Hero is amazing. Rick Riordan is amazing. Flaws and all.
The Verdict: A-
Review was grabbed (with permission :P) from Reader Reads of The Scarlet Corset, one of my favorite review sites ever.