Son of Neptune (“SoN”) picks up the story introduced in The Lost Hero tracking the progress of seven heroes who will rise against a burgeoning evil. In the final installment of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series we first heard the prophecy which foretold the struggles to come:
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
The Lost Hero introduced Jason, Leo and Piper to us and Camp Half-Blood (see Nat’s review here). The Lost Hero also warned us that our beloved Percy had gone missing, causing frantic searches by Annabeth, Tyson and Percy’s friends.
SoN picks up several months after The Lost Hero and finds Percy fighting to survive without his memory. He knows he is a demi-god and he remembers his girlfriend, Annabeth, but other than that, he has no memory. Percy is led to a hidden camp filled with the descendants of the Roman gods. Percy is declared a son of the Sea God, Neptune, and the goddess Juno vouches for him. He is accepted into camp and befriended by two warriors, Hazel and Frank. The three set out on a quest to the land beyond the gods to stop the rise of powerful giant.
The Heroes of Olympus series is a little more complex and confusing than Percy Jackson and the Olympians because of the distinction between the Romans and Greeks and the duality of the gods, monsters and even the heroes. My nieces and nephew (5, 7 & 9) just finished a family reading of Percy Jackson and the Olympians and I am not sure they would understand the duality in SoN. These themes were hinted at in The Lost Hero; however, Hero took place in the familiar world of Camp Half-Blood and the Greeks. The issues and differences are much more pronounced and essential in SoN. While Camp Half-Blood deals with life and death situations, the Roman camp seems much more intense, making Camp Half-Blood seem light-hearted in comparison.
All this aside, it was wonderful to spend time with Percy again, like hanging out with an old friend you had not seen in a long time. SoN allows you to catch up with Percy and see how he has grown and changed in the 10 months since the Battle of Olympus. We also get to meet some fun new heroes and friends, as they try to defeat Gaea and her giants.
Unlike Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, where each book seemed self-contained, Heroes of Olympus leaves you hanging and clamoring for answers. SoN ends just when things were getting good and left you needing to know what happens next. I hope that Mark of Athena starts where SoN left off, but if Lost Hero and SoN are any indication, I cannot begin to guess where Rick Riordan is going to pick up the story.
Heroes of Olympus is darker, funnier and more mature than the Percy Jackson series. Riordan really brought the funny in SoN, there were several sections that had me laughing out loud. I thoroughly enjoyed Son of Neptune and was sad to see it end. I rarely give 5 stars, but I am giving them to Son of Neptune because Riordan really is brilliant to enthrall me so…