My rating in stars: 4 stars
My rating in words: I really liked it!
What it’s about:
Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.
Percy is confused. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn’t know much more than his name. His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket. Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he has to keep killing monsters along the way. But the camp doesn’t ring any bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth
Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she didn’t do a very good job of it. Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem — when the Voice took over her mother and commanded Hazel to use her “gift” for an evil purpose, Hazel couldn’t say no. Now because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wished she could ride away from it all on the stallion that appears in her dreams.
Frank is a klutz. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn’t see it. He doesn’t even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery — although not good enough to win camp war games. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially infront of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely — enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart.
Beginning at the “other” camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment of the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophesy of Seven.
My thoughts (spoiler-free):
Buddy read with the lovely Uma of Books. Bags. Burgers. Thanks for an amazing buddy read, Uma!
“I’m fine!” Percy yelled out as he ran by, followed by a giant screaming bloody murder.”
So I’ve been bravely continuing my personal quest of finally getting to The Heroes of Olympus series, which I’ve been buddy reading with Uma of Books. Bags. Burgers. And I could summarize everything with just this: When in a reading slump, reach for a Rick Riordan book. Even in a big reading slump, it’s impossible not to fly through these books. They’re all fast-paced and easy reads, with still a lot of humor and heart and of course, lots of mythology!
That said, I must say I expected these books to get better and better with each next book in the series, and… The Son of Neptune didn’t get better. It didn’t get worse, either, but it just kind of stayed average. It wasn’t my favorite Rick Riordan book to date. Though it did have a lot of great things about it, I also had a few issues with it that kept me from giving it a 5-star rating. So let’s list the good and the bad, shall we?
PERCY IS BACK! I didn’t realize how much I missed Percy in my reading life until I read his very first chapter. There’s a reason he’s one of my all-time favorite characters, and I was very quickly reminded of that! The memory-loss storyline could have easily been stale and predictable, but I still enjoyed every minute of it. I feared it would feel like Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief all over again, but I shouldn’t have worried. The journey Percy goes on throughout this book only builds to his character and never feels like a repetition.
More non-stereotypical demigods with previously lesser explored parentage! Okay, that felt weird to write, but let me explain. In the previous book, we got Piper as an unexpected daughter of Aphrodite. While previously they had mostly been described as rather shallow and only interested in their looks and love, we were now introduced to Piper who threw the stereotype out of the window and introduced us to Aphrodite from another perspective. I don’t want to spoil the godly parentage that we discover in The Son of Neptune, but I felt it followed the same trend and I LOVE IT. Nothing pleases me more than seeing people kick sterotypes’ ass!
More Roman mythology. I loved discovering more and more about the Roman mythology and how it relates to everything in the Percy Jackson world. Am I still confused as hell? Definitely. But I’m still eager to find out more and I’m sure it’ll start making more sense soon. The introduction of the Roman camp and their traditions and customs was definitely one of the highlights of the book.
The characters and their backstories. I can rave about Percy all day long, but he’s not the only character in this book and the others deserve a shout-out as well. Both Hazel and Frank felt like solid additions to the team and to my surprise I actually did really like this new trio. They all felt so fresh and unique and themselves. There was nothing about them that had me thinking ‘Oh, this is such a Percy/Annabeth/Grover or Jason/Piper/Leo resemblance’. Though we did have the typical mystery parentage and mystery past for both of these new characters, I was still invested in both of them. Also, we see another favorite demigod of mine again, which had me squeeing in joy.
The humor! I laughed out loud several times throughout the book. I guess my selection of favorite quotes says it all.
The pacing. Despite my love for this book, I did struggle a bit with a few chapters in the first half. Maybe I’m just a bit over the general format of these books so far: characters go on big quest, get into lots of troubles along the way and get side-tracked while meeting different characters. I just didn’t enjoy a lot of these side-tracks as much as I enjoyed them in the previous books and was just hoping we’d carry on with the story sooner rather than later.
The tone. I also didn’t like the tone of these chapters. I was expecting this series to get more YA than middle-grade and adapt a darker tone. But most of this book still felt very middle-grade to me, especially the little side-tracks mentioned above. Which of course isn’t necessarily a bad thing as middle-grade can be amazing, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting or wanted from this series.
The ending. The ending just frustrated me. I was confused through a lot of it, the big battle felt too easy and quickly solved and don’t even get me started on that cliffhanger!
But don’t get me wrong. Despite my few issues, I still couldn’t bring myself to give The Son of Neptune any lower than a 4-star rating. The good still greatly outweighed the bad and if anything, I’m only even more excited for The Mark of Athena. I can’t wait for all these lovely characters to meet and interact. I’m sure it will be GLORIOUS!
“And he got that gift from Poseidon,” Percy said. “That’s completely unfair. I can’t turn into animals.”
Frank stared at him. “Unfair? You can breathe underwater and blow up glaciers and summon freaking hurricanes — and it’s unfair that I can be an elephant?”
“You seem to be clean,” Terminus decided. “Do you have anything to declare?”
“Yes,” Percy said. “I declare that this is stupid.”
“Look,” Percy continued, “I know I’m new here. I know you guys don’t like to mention the massacre in the nineteen eighties-“
“He mentioned it!” one of the ghosts whimpered.”
“There!” Mars finished writing and threw the scroll at Octavian. “A prophecy. You can add it to your books, engrave it on the floor, whatever.”
Octavian read the scroll. “This says, ‘Go to Alaska. Find Thanatos and free him. Come back by sundown on June twenty-fourth or die’.”
“Yes,” Mars said. “Is that not clear?”
“Well, my lord…usually prophecies are unclear. They’re wrapped in riddles. They rhyme, and…”
Mars casually popped another grenade off his belt. “Yes?”
“The prophecy is clear!” Octavian announced. “A quest!”
“Yours in demigodishness, and all that. Peace out!”