I’m of two minds about this book. On the one hand, it’s not Percy Jackson. It wasn’t as funny (I missed the chapter titles!), it wasn’t as tight (I kept wondering: were all 553 pages necessary?), it wasn’t as fun. I feel bad for Riordan, having everything compared to Percy. It’s just that those books are so good, so clever, so well done, that it’s hard to top them.
We’re given a new trio of heroes to root for: Jason, son of Jupiter (aka Zeus), who doesn’t remember anything about where he came from or who he is, and why he ended up with these other guys; Leo, tinkerer, mechanic, builder and fire-wielder, and he makes nice with a really cool mechanical dragon; and Piper, angst-ridden daughter of a movie star, who has a gift for convincing people to give her things. They’re an unlikely trio, and when they set off to free Hera, of all gods, from an unseen rising force, you wonder how it’s all going to turn out.
I don’t really want to give away much more than that, because, in spite of his book’s length, Riordan has the gift for making you turn pages. You want to know what’s happening, you want to know how the puzzle pieces fit together, and yes, while he doesn’t end with “to be continued,” he does give us a nice lead-in to the next book in the series. He keeps you wondering what’s going to happen next, and for that, we’ll give him enormous credit. He’s working his way through Greek mythology, weaving lesser-known stories (though there are a couple of well-known ones as well) through the book. It’s not deep, and yes, it’s much of the same sort of clever that Riordan’s known for.
And it’s fun. For this sort of book, that counts a whole lot.
Rated: Mild, for mild violence and action sequences. There are also a lot of occasions of taking the name of Deity in vain.