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…

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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.

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.