narfna’s #CBR5 Review #103: The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

house of hadesPlot has taken over where character development used to be in Riordan’s writing. I suppose it was inevitable when he started writing two books a year (at least he’s back down to one, now that the disappointing Kane Chronicles series is over with). And actually, the action and the mythology are still really, really fun, I just prefer the old version of this story. The original Percy Jackson series felt intimate and original.

In fact, I kind of hope after he’s done with this series that he moves on to writing about other things besides mythology-is-real books. I think he’s pretty much milked the concept for all its worth at this point. (I say this knowing full well he’s got a Norse mythology series in the works.)

That’s not to say I don’t like this book or this series, because I do. I especially liked this one, which I think is my favorite in the series so far.

It’s been almost two months since I finished it, so details are a little hazy. The action is basically split in two: half of it lies with Percy and Annabeth in Tartarus, and the other half with the remaining demigods as they fight their way to the Doors of Hades from the other side, encountering gods, monsters, and mythological creatures along the way. Frank in particular got some great stuff in this book, after basically being a doormat in the last two. And the mythological tricksters The Kerkopes made me laugh out loud.

But really, my heart belonged to Percy and Annabeth in Tartarus for this one. That whole arc, as they make their way to the heart of Tartarus, is genuinely terrifying, and frankly, kind of ballsy for a middle grade author. The themes they were dealing with down there were super intense. Also, Riordan introduces the Titan Bob, who gets some good stuff out of Percy, and is completely delightful (and surprisingly heartbreaking) in his own right. He almost entirely makes up for the fact that the Titans have been sort of neutered by this series. They were horrifying in the original series, and here they’re barely a concern.

Anyway, very much looking forward to the next book in the series, and I have faith that Riordan can pull it off.

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Bunnybean’s #CBR5 Review 7: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

UnknownI listened to this audio book on the way to our family’s beach trip on Cape Cod. Its the second book about a boy named Percy Jackson (I alreadyreviewed book one of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Lightning Thief), who goes on a quest to save his beloved camp, Camp Half-Blood. Percy is the son of Poseidon, and Camp Half-Blood is a place where all of the children of the Greek Gods can live in safety.

Thalia’s magical tree that protects the camp’s borders from monsters is dying, and the magic is slowly fading away. And that means that there is no safe place for the half-bloods anymore. Percy and his friends Annabeth and Tyson (as well as Percy’s enemy Clarisse, daughter of Ares) go on a dangerous journey to save their old friend Grover, who knows where the famous Golden Fleece is. The Fleece is the only thing in the world that can cure Thalia’s magic pine tree.

Luke, a villain from the first book, is the one who poisoned the tree. He’s also trying to raise an army to destroy all of the half-bloods and the Gods on Mount Olympus.

Meanwhile, Polyphemus, a terrible cyclops, has captured Grover the satyr. Grover needs help and can also lead his friends to the Fleece.

While on their quest, the demigods face many terrible monsters, such as the hydra, the sirens, and Charybdis and Scylla. They travel on many different boats, and all of the either got lost, blew up, or sunk.

In the end, the get the Fleece and save Grover. The Fleece cures Thalia’s tree, and turns her into a regular girl again (she is the daughter of Zeus).

I really liked the new character of Tyson, a baby cyclops, who turns out to the Percy’s baby brother and new friend. I also liked Annabeth, Percy, and Chiron the centaur who helps to save Percy and get back to the camp.

I liked this book a lot and am already reading the third one!

You can read more of Bunnybean’s reviews on her mom’s blog.

Bunnybean’s #CBR5 Review 3: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Unknown-2I just read The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & The Olympians, Book One) by Rick Riordan. Its a book about a boy named Percy Jackson, who lives in New York, and one day finds out that he is actually the son of Poseidon, and that the Greek Gods are real. And that Mount Olympus is on the top of the Empire State Building.

Someone has stolen Zeus’s big lightning Bolt, and if he doesn’t get it back, the Gods will go to war. Percy has to go on a quest with his friends to go and return Zeus’s master Bolt. He meets up with lots of monsters, including the minotaur that killed Percy’s mother. At least, that’s what Percy thinks he did. Percy really wants to get his mother back.

The three friends cross the country and make their way to the underworld (in Los Angeles), because they think that Hades has the Bolt, and Percy sees his mother there. Hades’s helm of darkness is stolen (it turns him into a shadow), so the only way to get back his mother is to find Hades’s helm too.

Ares, the God of war, actually stole the helm and tricked Percy by giving him a backpack with the Bolt in it. When Percy sees the Bolt, he runs from the underworld, leaving his mother behind for now.

Percy has a fight with Ares, gets the helm back, and sends it back to Hades, who returns his mother to the living. Then he goes to Mount Olympus and gives Zeus his Bolt.

Percy and his friends go back to their special summer camp for half-bloods and enjoy the rest of the season. Until one of Percy’s friends admits he was the one who stole the Bolt and then tries to kill Percy. The friends all go their separate ways in the fall, but will get back together for the next adventure.

I just studied Greek and Roman history and myths in school, so this was really interesting to me, and a little bit familiar. I knew about Medusa, the minotaur, and the 12 Gods on Olympus. And this week, we saw the movie made out of this book, but it wasn’t very good at all. I’ll definitely keep reading the rest of these books, but no more movies for me.

 You can read more of Bunnybean’s reviews on her mom’s blog.