We’ve learned that Greek gods and Egyptian gods still like to hang out in the world. But what about Roman gods? In his new series, The Heroes of Olympus, Rick Riordan once more brings the stories of ancient gods and their demigod children to life.
I’ve reviewed the Percy Jackson series and the Kane Chronicles already, so it made sense to also review The Heroes of Olympus series, where we get a fun mixture of old and new heroes in Riordan’s style of writing that I love so much.
The Heroes of Olympus is, like Riordan’s other novels, a series of middle-grade fantasy novels. One huge difference from the previous novels is that, instead of being narrated in the first-person style, it’s narrated third-person, a change which was definitely necessary in this particular series as there’s a lot more characters with individual stories that need to be explored.
Now, I know what you’re wondering. You said “many characters,” but does that include the ones we both know and love? And I’m here to tell you that, yes, we do get to see a lot of familiar faces in this series, but we get a lot of more new faces. Jason, Hazel, Leo, Piper, and Frank are brand new characters who are hugely important to this brand new quest the demigods have going on to save the world from total destruction yet again. What’s nice is that they don’t all get introduced to us at once, and since the world is already rather familiar, it’s a nice way to ease into meeting a bunch of new people in a brand new series. This combination of the old and new worked for me, although I occasionally preferred some of the characters I had known for a longer time. It didn’t last, and soon I loved them all the same. It helped that Riordan made sure to give all of them compelling backstories and personalities, all of which interact with each other beautifully, giving the group occasional necessary conflict but also growth.
I also have to admit that I quickly came to have a favorite character. And that character is Leo. Leo is awesome and quirky and funny and creative, and every chapter I got from his point of view immediately cheered me up. Leo was just the best. Sure, I still love Percy and all our old faces, but somehow Leo’s youth and sense of humor beat Percy out. Maybe it’s because the other characters have become too mature? But Leo just stood out and I adored him.
I can tell there’s another question on your mind. With this mix of old and new, is it possible to read The Heroes of Olympus without first reading the Percy Jackson series? I want to say yes, since we get pretty good re-introductions to familiar characters, and the plot doesn’t base itself too much on the last series. I’d say that reading the other books adds a lot more to the reading experience, and will help to understand a lot of the references that are made in this series, but it’s not completely necessary. I would generally suggest reading them all, though, as they’re all amazing.
Something else that is very familiar is the style of the story. The style is for these characters to be sent on an epic quest and they only have a certain amount of time to accomplish it or it’s the end of the world. Like all the other books, they’re heavily plot-led instead of character-led, but the characters do have some flexibility, and they try to fight against whatever fates lie in store. And all these plots occasionally got confusing, as different characters had different things going on at different times, and it was hard to keep up what was going on sometimes. But with so much going on, I didn’t really have a chance to rest, and I kept flipping the pages as quickly as I possibly could.
So what’s my final verdict? This was such a fun series of books, and I had a fantastic time reading every one of them. Rick Riordan gave me another fun adventure with the demigods, and left me hungry for more as he often does. I definitely recommend this series, especially if you’re already familiar with Riordan’s books. I know you’ll enjoy them.
Have you read The Heroes of Olympus series? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!
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