The House of Hades

Even though I’m not going to give too much away here, before you read The House of Hades by Rick Riordan, you MUST read the entire Percy Jackson & the Olympians series and the first three books in the Heroes of Olympus series.  These books, in order, are:

Seriously, read them all! 

Last night at exactly 11:06, I finished reading The House of Hades, the fourth book in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series. (I should have finished it sooner, but life got in the way. At any rate, I’m done now.) I then proceeded to dream that I was a demigod all night long. I’m kind of exhausted today, but I’ll do my best to provide just a little information on this intense fourth installment without giving too much away.

When last we saw our beloved demigods, Percy and Annabeth had plunged into the depths of Tartarus, and the remaining members of the quest were on their way to Greece in an attempt to stop Gaea from rising. Now, Percy and Annabeth are facing unspeakable horrors in an effort to close the Doors of Death from the abyss, and Leo, Hazel, Frank, Jason, Piper, Nico, and Coach Hedge are traveling through the ancient lands and trying to close the Doors from the mortal world.

Both groups are facing terrors that they couldn’t have anticipated, but there is hope. Help comes to them in some unexpected forms, and every member of this quest will find inner strength that makes them more powerful than they could have ever realized. But are they strong enough to perform the daunting task in front of them? What new obstacles will they face along the way? And can they find a way to complete their missions while keeping Greek and Roman demigods from destroying each other?

Everything will come to a head at the House of Hades. Who will be victorious? What comes next? I’ll leave that for you to discover…

_______________

So, yeah…I haven’t told you much. I didn’t want to. The House of Hades is a book that fans of this series (and the Percy Jackson series) must experience for themselves, so I didn’t want to post any blatant spoilers. I will say, though, that the ending didn’t make me want to hurl the book across the room like Mark of Athena did. (A lot of the action in this book was projectile-worthy, but the ending was borderline satisfying. That’s as much of a spoiler as I’m going to give you.)

There’s still, however, a lot of story to be told. (Will Gaea wake? What will happen when/if she does? Can a few demigods defeat the flippin’ Earth Mother? Will all of them survive? Will Leo ever find true and lasting love? Will Annabeth and Percy ever get a rainbows-and-fairy-dust happy ending?) Luckily, we have at least one more book in this series to give us some answers. The Blood of Olympus will be released next fall, and judging by the title, things are going to get much worse for our favorite demigods if before they get better.

If you’d like more information on The House of Hades, check out Rick Riordan’s website. You can also follow the author on Twitter @camphalfblood.

Published in: on October 21, 2013 at 12:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Mark of Athena

Spoilers!  If you haven’t read the entire Percy Jackson & the Olympians series (The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian) and the first two books in the Heroes of Olympus series (The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune), turn back now.  If you don’t, reading The Mark of Athena could be more confusing than trying to find a way out of Daedalus’ labyrinth.  (If you didn’t get that reference, it might also be a good idea to stop now.)

So, yesterday I finished reading The Mark of Athena, the third book in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series.  Just when I think that things can’t possibly get any worse for Percy Jackson, Annabeth, and their lovely demigod friends, I’m proven horribly wrong.  After reading The Son of Neptune last year, I knew things weren’t going to be all moonlight and roses in this book, but I don’t think I was prepared for just how bad things were going to get…and, if the way The Mark of Athena ended is any indication, the next book won’t be a day at the park either.

The Mark of Athena begins with Annabeth (daughter of Athena), Leo (son of Hephaestus), Jason (son of Jupiter), and Piper (daughter of Aphrodite) descending on Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent to Camp Half-Blood.  They’re not sure how welcome they will be, especially since they are literally descending on the camp in what can only be called a Greek warship.  While most of the Roman campers are not exactly thrilled with the presence of the ship (also known as the Argo II), one person at Camp Jupiter is delighted to see it…Percy Jackson.  He hasn’t seen his girlfriend, Annabeth, in what seems like ages, and he’s deliriously happy to be reunited with her.  That is, until his newly arrived friends accidentally start a war with the Romans who have taken him in, and he, Hazel (daughter of Pluto), and Frank (son of Mars) are forced to make a hasty exit with Annabeth and company.

Now, we have seven demigods aboard a Greek trireme heading off on a quest that is likely to kill all of them.  This deadly adventure takes them to such exotic locales as Kansas, Atlanta (specifically the Georgia Aquarium), and Charleston (South Carolina shout-out!).  But these are just pit-stops on the way to their ultimate destination…Rome.  Although the journey is treacherous, these seven demigods must work together to close the Doors of Death, stop Gaea and her giants from destroying the earth, and find some way for Greeks, Romans, and gods to work together.  On top of all that, Annabeth has an additional quest handed down directly from her mother.  She has to follow the Mark of Athena and restore something crucial to her mother.  All other children of Athena have failed (read:  died)  in this quest.  Should be a piece of cake, right?  (If you’ve read any of the previous books, you already know the answer to that question.)

From the very beginning of this quest, things go wrong, and it’s going to take something drastic to turn everything around.  Are these seven demigods up to the task?  What sacrifices will be made to ensure the success of this dangerous crusade?  And are these young people prepared for the fallout of the decisions they will be forced to make?  Discover the answers to these questions and many more when you read The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan.

It should be obvious to all that I loved this book (just like its predecessors).  The Mark of Athena was filled with humor, horror, danger, heavy doses of Greek and Roman mythology, love, giants, disguises, and loads of adventure.  (Kind of sounds like the description Peter Falk gives Fred Savage for The Princess Bride.)  I was enthralled from the very first page, and when I finally finished the book, I had to give myself quite a bit of time to process everything that happened.  (Especially the ending.  That was brutal.)

I can hardly wait to read the next book in this epic series, The House of Hades.  It should be out in the fall of 2013, so wait I must.  There will also be a fifth book in this series.  I’m pretty sure Rick Riordan is trying to kill me with all of this waiting.  (I’m not the most patient of people.)

If you’d like more information about The Mark of Athena and Rick Riordan’s other amazing books, check out his website at http://www.rickriordan.com/home.aspx.  You can also follow the author on Twitter @camphalfblood.

For those who are interested, here is a book trailer for The Mark of Athena from DisneyHyperion.  It tells absolutely nothing about the book, so you don’t really need to concern yourself with spoilers.

Published in: on October 29, 2012 at 12:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mad Love

Even though I think Valentine’s Day is a stupid non-holiday (yes, I’m single), I found myself reading a book with a big ol’ heart on it yesterday.  Purely coincidence, I assure you.  When I first started reading Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors, I was expecting standard chick-lit fare.  I was pleasantly surprised, though, by the depth of the main character, Alice, and how she approached issues that no teenager should have to deal with.  It also didn’t hurt that Mad Love threw in some mythology and supernatural goings-on.  That’s always fun.

Alice Amorous is the daughter of world-famous romance novelist Belinda Amorous. People probably think that being the Queen of Romance’s daughter is glamorous and full of flowers, hearts, and candy…but they couldn’t be more wrong. Alice is doing her best to hide the horrible truth from everyone. Her mother is battling a mental illness in a private psychiatric hospital, and she hasn’t written a word in three years. 

It’s up to Alice to make sure the bills get paid, books get autographed (or forged, as the case may be), and eager fans and publishers are kept at bay.  But it’s getting harder and harder to cope…especially when her mom’s publisher wants a completed manuscript or a return of the $100,000 advance for the next book, and the hospital needs payment for Belinda’s care and treatment.  Alice doesn’t have the money needed, and she doesn’t know how she’ll get it…until she gets the bright idea to write a romance novel herself…in her mother’s name, of course.  There are a few problems though:  1.  She’s not a writer.  2.  She’s never even been in love (and how can you write about romance if you’ve never experienced it?).  3.  The publisher needs the novel by the end of the summer, so she’s got about a month to come up with something.  What’s a girl to do?  Well, someone comes along who may just have the answer to all of Alice’s problems…

When Alice first meets Errol, she thinks he’s crazy.  Also, he reeks of clam juice.  After talking to him for a bit, she still thinks he’s crazy, but she’s willing to hear him out if it will ultimately help her mother.  See, Errol thinks he’s Eros, better known as Cupid, and he wants Alice to write the real story of Cupid and Psyche, the story that the gods wanted hushed up.  Alice has quite enough crazy in her life, but she agrees to help Errol–even though he’s wrecking her relationship with Tony, the new guy in town.  As Alice works on the book that she’s sure will fix everything, she learns a little about what a love story truly is and the power of love in all its forms.

Will Alice be able to tell Errol’s story before it’s too late?  Will it be enough to keep her mother’s illness a secret?  Is this guy really Cupid?  Will her mother ever get better?  And will Alice finally get her own love story with Tony?  Answer these questions and many more when you read Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors.

Mad Love is a quick, easy read that will definitely appeal to tween and teen girls.  (It will be a hard sell for most male readers.)  Despite the cover, this is an emotional read that highlights what children of depressed parents go through.  It also gives a new look at a story you might have encountered before.  Many mythology enthusiasts–like myself–know the story of Cupid and Psyche, but Mad Love presents it in a whole new way…without the “happy ending” that we’ve grown accustomed to.  Author Suzanne Selfors does a great job of showing readers how truly powerful love can be, whether it’s the love between parents and children, friends, romantic interests, or even total strangers.  Mad Love is a wonderful, heart-wrenching book that will leave you examining the love in your own life.  I know it did for me.

For more information about Suzanne Selfors and her books, visit http://www.suzanneselfors.com/index_flash.php.  (I’ve only read one of her other books, Saving Juliet, but it, too, was great, so I’ll probably check out a few more!)

The Son of Neptune

Before I get to my latest read, I’d like to wish everyone who follows this blog a very merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, wonderful Winter Solstice, and lovely Festivus for the rest of us.  I hope everyone’s holidays are super!  I spent half of today finishing a great book, so my Christmas is off to a great start!

I’ve been meaning to read The Son of Neptune, the second book in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series, for a couple of months now.  Life (and a few other books) have prevented that from happening, but I finally got around to this book during my much needed winter break.  (Of course, my students had a little to do with this.  They want to talk to me about this book, so I promised them I’d have it read before we returned to school in January.  I am a woman of my word.)  Now that I’ve finished The Son of Neptune, I wish I had read it sooner.  Like all of Rick Riordan’s books, it’s a wonderfully complicated story filled with secrets, tragic heroes, danger, and help in unexpected places.  I was engrossed from the very beginning–especially since the story started off with Percy Jackson–and, now that I’m finished, I’m eager for the next installment.  I hope that you’ll feel the same.  I will warn you, though…if you haven’t read the entire Percy Jackson & the Olympians series (The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian) and The Lost Hero, read those before starting with The Son of Neptune.  All of these books are beautifully connected, and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on something important.

In The Son of Neptune, Percy Jackson has just risen from a very long sleep. He doesn’t remember much of anything. He only knows his name and that he’s fighting two gorgons (sisters of Medusa). His only hope of surviving is to get to the camp for demigods that’s nearby. Something about Camp Jupiter seems familiar, but it seems a little off to Percy…and the residents of the camp think there’s something a little off about Percy as well.  He’s not exactly welcome with open arms, especially when it becomes clear that he is a son of Neptune (a bad omen at Camp Jupiter).  In this Roman camp, people seem to recognize that there something a bit Greek about Percy, and Romans and Greeks don’t exactly have a history of getting along.  Percy knows his true place isn’t at Camp Jupiter, but he soon discovers that he has a part to play in helping the camp survive…

Immediately upon arriving at Camp Jupiter, Percy encounters two young demigods who become his instant friends:  Hazel and Frank.  Hazel is a daughter of Pluto who is hiding a bunch of secrets, including where (or when) she came from and her role in Gaea’s war against the Olympus.  Frank is seen as a bit of a loser and is still waiting to learn who his godly parent is.  When the answer he’s always waited for finally arrives, Frank is less than pleased with his father’s identity, for it means that his life is about to get a lot more complicated.  (He’s not wrong.) 

Percy, Hazel, and Frank are sent on a quest to prevent Gaea’s giant Alcyoneus from taking the war against Olympus to the next level.  There’s a bit of a problem, though.  (Isn’t there always?)  The three demigods have just a few days to make it from San Francisco to Alaska, and they have to battle lots of monsters along the way.  They’ve also got to make a few important pit stops to communicate with potential allies (who may or may not have their own agendas).  On top of that, once they deal with Alcyoneus, who cannot be killed in his home, they’ve got to return to Camp Jupiter to help save the camp from the monsters on their way to destroy it.  Easy peasy, right?  Yeah…not so much.  On this journey, secrets will be revealed, old (and new) foes and friends will be encountered, and the young demigods will encounter Death himself.  Will they be able to complete the nearly impossible task before them, or will Gaea find a way to further her cause against Olympus?  Will Percy regain his memory?  If he does, what will it mean for his life at Camp Jupiter?  To find the answers to these questions and more, read The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan!

It should go without saying that I thoroughly enjoyed The Son of Neptune. It is a great book for readers ages 9 to 99.  The things that I loved about Riordan’s previous books also apply to this one:  fully developed characters, an intricate plot, tons of action, friends and enemies in unexpected places, and a liberal dose of humor.  I can’t wait to see where the third book, The Mark of Athena, takes us.  It should be an interesting ride.

By the way, The Mark of Athena is scheduled for a fall 2012 release.  In the meantime, I urge you to read Riordan’s Kane Chronicles series–The Red Pyramid and The Throne of Fire.  There’s no word yet on when the third book in this series will be released.  Also, I heard recently that Rick Riordan may be writing a series centered around Norse mythology when he’s done tackling Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians.  If you’d like more information about Rick Riordan and his amazing books, visit http://www.rickriordan.com/home.aspx.  Happy holidays!

Published in: on December 24, 2011 at 10:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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