Author of the wildly successful Percy Jackson and the Olympians books, Riordan here begins a new series that involves some of the same characters and settings but adds Roman mythology and an expansion on a prophecy mentioned in the final volume, The Last Olympian. At the start of the story, Percy is missing, and a new kid, Jason, appears with no idea who he is or what he is doing. No one really has time to figure out these smaller mysteries, though, because a much larger emergency looms: Gaea is waking up from her eons long slumber, and if she becomes fully conscious, the world as it is known will essentially end. Thus begins a quest to soothe and quiet Gaea, which will require a group of daring and talented teens and an extremely unlikely alliance between the Roman and Greek gods (and their offspring). Fans of the earlier series may be startled to find that their hero, Percy, is literally nowhere to be found the entire novel, but Jason and his friends Piper and Leo are worthy replacements, especially as Riordan is careful to develop them as individuals even as they are quickly thrown together as a dragon-riding, world-saving trio. Newcomers may find the brief references to backstory a bit baffling, but the details are more likely to send them back to the earlier titles than mar their understanding of this new series. While a few minor plots are wrapped up by book's end, the major quest is still very much in the air (and actually looking pretty daunting, even for the sort of intrepid offspring of gods that make up Riordan's books), so expect plenty of anticipation for the next volume. BCCB"
Camp Half-Blood, home to the mortal children of Greek gods (see the Percy Jackson and the Olympians books), has three new arrivals: Piper, a daughter of Aphrodite, good at persuasion; Leo, a son of Hephaestus, good at fixing things; and Jason, a son of Zeus, who is suffering from amnesia. With the Titan war over, a new threat has emerged: a prophesied clash with Gaea's youngest children, the giants, who are returning to overthrow the Olympians. Riding a bronze dragon rehabilitated by Leo, the three demigods go on a quest to free Hera from one such giant; another giant secretly holds Piper's father hostage in order to force her to betray her new friends. Jason's missing memories point to another mystery: why does Jason speak Latin rather than Greek like the other demigods? Why are the initials SPQR tattooed on his arm? Why does he know the Roman names for mythological creatures? Riordan extends the franchise in a logical direction while maximizing the elements that made the first series so popular: irreverent heroes, plenty of tension-filled moments fighting monsters, and authentic classical mythology mixed in with modern life. Completely in control of pacing and tone, he balances a faultless comic banter against deeper notes that reveal the characters' vulnerabilities. With Percy Jackson slated to make an appearance in later volumes, fans nostalgic for the old books should find in this new series everything they've been pining for. Horn Book"
This book will delight fans of The Lightning Thief (Hyperion, 2005) as Percy, Annabeth, and others play roles in the new prophecy and its subsequent quest. A few months after The Last Olympian (Hyperion, 2009) ends, Jason wakes up on a bus filled with problem kids from the Wilderness School who are headed to the Grand Canyon. He has no memory of his previous life, but seems to be with his girlfriend, Piper, and his best friend, Leo. The action takes off quickly: storm spirits attack them and capture their coach, who turns out to be a Satyr. Searching for Percy, who is missing, Annabeth arrives and takes the three to Camp Half-Blood, where they learn that they are demigods. Their parents are gods in their Roman rather than Greek personae. By sunset of the solstice in three days, the teens must rescue Hera, Queen of the gods, or Porphyrion, the giant king created to destroy Zeus and unseat the gods of Olympus, will rise. Their quest takes them across the United States, sometimes flying on a mechanical, 60-foot dragon, as they use their power and wits against Medea, King Midas, and the giant cannibal Enceladus. Riordan excels at clever plot devices and at creating an urgent sense of cliff-hanging danger. His interjection of humor by incongruous juxtaposition Medea, for example, heads up a New York City department store provides some welcome relief. The young heroes deal with issues familiar to teens today: Who am I? Can I live up to the expectations of others? Having read the first series is helpful but not essential, and the complex plot is made for sequels. SLJ"
Readers longing for a return to Camp Half-Blood will get their wish in the first novel of the Heroes of Olympus series, which follows Riordan's popular Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and includes some of the same characters in minor roles. The new cast features Jason, Piper, and Leo, teen demigods who are just coming to understand and use their unique abilities as they learn how much depends upon their wits, courage, and fast-developing friendship. Setting up the books to come, the backstory of a master plan to unseat the gods is complex but is doled out in manageable bits with a general air of foreboding. Meanwhile, the action scenes come frequently as the three heroic teens fight monstrous enemies in North American locales, including the Grand Canyon, Quebec City, Detroit, Chicago, Omaha, Pikes Peak, and Sonoma Valley. Flashes of humor lighten the mood at times, but a tone of urgency and imminent danger seems as integral to this series as the last. With appealing new characters within a familiar framework, this spin-off will satisfy the demand for more. - Carolyn Phelan Booklist"