Well, this was an extremely enjoyable case of a literal blast from the past.
Percy Jackson returns in the second instalment of the Heroes of Olympus series, after having gone missing from Camp Half-Blood for the better part of the year. He finds himself near the entrance of the Roman camp for demigods, with no memory apart from a single name: Annabeth.
Maybe its because Rick Riordan had already based an entire series on this character, so he found it easier to get inside his head; or maybe old Rick just finally hit his stride and found his rhythm while writing this second book. Whatever the reason, I found this so much easier to get into than The Lost Hero.
The added elements of Roman mythology seemed to infuse new life into what could have potentially been a tired and recycled plot. Heroes going on a quest is nothing new for demigods, but add uncertainty and a brewing civil war between the Greek and Roman factions and you get a really good and highly entertaining story.
The plot devices in this book felt less contrived and the relationships felt less forced. Percy and his new friends Frank and Hazel had a kind of chemistry that was sorely lacking in the first trio of Jason, Leo and Piper. I enjoyed getting to know these new characters and learning their individual backstories. They added something to the plot and were central characters in their own right rather than being mere sidekicks.
The gods and goddesses were still noticeably absent in this book and I’m beginning to think this is a deliberate oversight. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing much more of them later on in the series. In fact, the seeds for betrayal, loss and pain have already been planted in this book and I for one cannot wait to see them bear fruit. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Rick Riordan is going to untangle this massive mess he’s woven.
I’m still not a fan of how there were so many references to what went on in the previous Percy Jackson series, but I suppose this was only to be expected in this book, what with Percy having amnesia and all. But I’m really just nitpicking here; nothing can detract from the fact that this book was well-plotted, well-written and just jolly good fun all-around.
Overall rating: 4 stars