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!