Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Title:     The House of Hades [Heroes of Olympus, book 4]
Author:   Rick Riordan
Rating:   ★★★

The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan is one of my favorite series to date, so it comes as no surprise that I was very excited for The House of Hades, the sequel to The Mark of Athena, which I consider as the best in the series so far. So far, I have given five stars to each book in the series, and with the cliffhanger in the last book, I was expecting my heart to be pounding at every turn.

At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.

For some reason, I wasn't so excited while reading the book. I just kept turning page after page, but it just didn't hold the same pizzazz for me as The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, and The Mark of Athena. My heart wasn't racing, but because I was curious I read until the end. I wasn't bored, exactly, it just wasn't as exciting for me. Or maybe I just needed a more stimulating visualization of the place.

The House of Hades' twists and turns didn't surprise me much. There wasn't any moment where I was going, "oh my God, I didn't see that!" It was just steady reading all the way and after reading it, I wasn't going, "you have to read this!!!" Such a buzzkill. That twist with Nico wasn't so surprising because there were clues throughout the book. However, I am surprised that Rick Riordan included that facet to Nico's personality, which does explain some things about him, but it was definitely unexpected prior to reading the book. Plus, Rick has never delved into that side of personalities before, but I guess it's part of the characters' growth as well? I wonder how readers will react to this, and I look forward to reading other reviews!

One of the new additions to the book, however, are the friendly titan and the giant. They saved Annabeth and Percy's hide, but the story about them ends on a really sad note. I hope we'll read more about them in the final book, The Blood of Olympus, but if not, I'm sure Annabeth will honor their memory because she's cool that way.

It was a good idea to separate Annabeth and Percy from the other demigods because the latter's powers and prowess were finally highlighted and not overshadowed by the two. The most impressive of them all, however, was Hazel, and I'm hoping we'll see more great things from her next time. We see that she has more to her than just being a demigod who helps out Frank. At the same time, Annabeth and Percy were not forgotten. It was great to see their rapport with each other, and how their combined skills and wits make them a great team.

The House of Hades is told from the perspective of the different demigods. I think Rick Riordan must have heard the feedback from the Kane Chronicles' confusing switch of perspectives because at the top of the book beside the page number is the name of the demigod doing the narrative. This was particularly helpful because when I get distracted or stop then resume reading, it was great that I didn't have to keep going back to the first page of each chapter just to remember who was talking.

I'm thinking that Annabeth and Percy might switch camps with Jason based on all the hints that Rick dropped in the story. However, since they don't know yet that they want to switch, Jason is having a hard time facing the choice he wants and eventually has to make.

The House of Hades has all the necessary elements for another awesome story - lots of action, a cool adventure, some ugh gross but interesting tidbits, and great character growth among the demigods. However, I just wasn't getting that exciting feeling. But maybe that's just me, from all the hype from the previous three books. I think it's normal for a series to have that one book that's just not at par with the others, and this fourth book is that for me.

What about you, what did you think about The House of Hades?


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