Book Review: The Lost Hero – Rick Riordan

My love for Greek mythology is an open secret. In fact, I spent the entire month of January so immersed in everything to do with Ancient Greece that I’m surprised I didn’t give in to the urge to change my name to Aphrodite.

I am of the opinion that the Ancient Gods and Goddesses of Mount Olympus could give the citizens of Westeros a run for their money in terms of violence, betrayal, bloodlust and intrigue. Of course, seeing as this is a YA novel (and published by a company that’s owned by Disney for crying out loud) the books in this series are probably a lot tamer – and I can almost guarantee that they won’t make any mention of sex or incest (both very common in Ancient Greece!).

But, despite being watered down into something more palatable for teenagers (and their parents), if the first book is anything to go by, then this series promises to be a heady mix of adventure, romance and good old-fashioned fun. It weaves elements of Greek and Roman mythology into a seamless narrative that makes me want to give Rick Riordan a standing ovation.

There is a sense of confidence and surety in his writing here that was notably absent (or perhaps underdeveloped) in the Percy Jackson series. He’s not afraid to take risks, and while some scenes felt a little contrived, and while it took me a while to warm up to the characters, there is no doubt that the man can write a page-turner.

I understand that these books tie in to the aforementioned Percy Jackson series, and it was a bit frustrating to find a reference or a throwback to those earlier books as its been a while since I read them. I think that was my main issue with The Lost Hero: it felt like a continuation of Percy Jackson and The Olympians rather than the separate, standalone series that it was advertised to be.

Some fans will probably find it nice to re-visit Camp Half-Blood and catch up with favourite characters again. However, Camp Half-Blood is no Hogwarts, and I certainly don’t remember caring enough about the supporting cast of characters when I was reading about Percy Jackson’s adventures, so if Rick Riordan was aiming for nostalgia, J.K. Rowling-style, then he didn’t quite succeed.

Personally, I think that Rick Riordan should give credit where its due and pay more attention to the real stars of this story: the ancient gods. When he focuses on that aspect of the plot, the true strength of the book shines through. In addition, may I just say, he remains impressively accurate and canonical when it comes to portraying the characters of Greek mythology, even as he takes liberties with their stories in order to make it more relevant to the modern world. Stephen Fry would be proud.

The ending of the book sets readers up perfectly for the rest of the series, and I truly look forward to finding out how all of this will unfold. Intriguing, well-written and just straight-up fun, this is truly a worthy addition to my growing collection of books centred on Greek mythology.

Rating: 3.5 stars