Kelly Reviews “The Lost Hero” by Rick Riordan

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
Genre:
Adventure, fantasy, mythology, tween fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary: Set months after Percy Jackson and Co. battle it out with Kronos  in The Last Olympian, The Lost Hero picks up the story of Camp Half-Blood.  Three new protagonists are introduced: Jason, who wakes up without any memory of who or where he is; Piper, the reluctantly beautiful girl who steals to get attention from her celebrity father; and Leo, the Latino kid who has never belonged since he was orphaned at the age of eight.

Thrown together by fate, the three kids learn they are demi-gods and are brought to Camp Half-Blood. It is quickly realized they are three of the seven heroes mentioned in the great prophecy from The Last Olympian. With the help of a bronze mechanical dragon and a new supporting cast of mythical beings, they set off on a quest across North America to help a trapped goddess, solve the mystery of who Jason is, and try to quell another threat to Mount Olympus.

When I got to the new great prophecy in The Last Olympian, I was slightly annoyed. “How often do these great prophecies occur?” I asked myself. It was obviously a set-up for a new series, but I wasn’t convinced it was necessary. The kids had saved the day; Percy chose mortality. All was well. Then – BAM. New problem. After reading The Lost Hero, I am glad Riordan chose to continue the story of Camp Half-Blood. While there were some definite flaws, the story was overall enjoyable and left me wanting to continue with this new crew.

The biggest departure from the Percy Jackson series is the change in narrative structure. Riordan writes this series in the voices of three different characters. The sequence goes: two chapters as Jason, two as Piper, two as Leo. Repeat. It’s also done in third person, as opposed to the first person Percy narrative. The transition between characters is done well. The switch is never jarring, as Riordan builds natural bridges between the characters. I also liked getting different perspectives on the action, and seeing how the choices of one kid affects the others. The group has a good dynamic, and it’s fun to watch them go from pretend friends to real ones as the story unfolds. However, the three-person narrative causes one huge problem for me. The book is way too freaking long.

553 pages is about 150 pages too many. I believe The Last Olympian was about 375, and that was the end of the series. I hope the editor cuts down some of the bloat in the next installment, because there were some points where I wanted to break out my red pen and start scratching out paragraphs. So much time is spent establishing each back story, and then each character’s connection to the trapped goddess, that it’s page 200 before they even leave on the quest. By then, I had pretty much guessed both Jason’s origin and the new enemy. If Riordan spent more time on the present story, revealing things while moving the plot along, he could’ve cut down the length and made the story more suspenseful. Another issue that I hope he resolves in the next book is Jason.

Jason is such a Mary Sue – his only discernible flaw is his amnesia. But even that is beyond his control. He is blonde, super-muscley, a natural leader, an instinctive fighter. He can even FLY. (No, I am not kidding). He doesn’t want to date Piper just in case he is involved with someone in the life he can’t remember. How noble – and boring. I think his chapters are the reason the length was such an issue for me. He doesn’t have much spark, which is unfortunate as it’s pretty clear he will be the leader in this series. I am hoping the introduction of his real life will reveal some flaws or dark secret. Otherwise, I’m hoping Percy takes him in a cagematch.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed reading Piper and Leo’s parts. I thought Piper was going to be the Mary Sue. Misunderstood pretty girls with money usually annoy me to no end. But Piper doesn’t want pity, she wants her dad to spend time with her. There is a fairly complex relationship between her father, their heritage (they are of Cherokee descent), and Piper. I also liked the twist on Piper’s godly parent, as it’s not the one you’d expect. While she started out slightly annoying, Piper grows into her skin and becomes a relatable character. I liked Leo from the start.  Even with a tragic past, he has resiliency and resourcefulness that make him the most believable and likable character.

As for the plot structure, well it’s very similar to the Percy Jackson books. They go from place to place, encountering different mythical beings. Some try to kill them, some help them out. It’s not a bad thing, as it serves the purpose of the book. Nonstop action, a few fart jokes thrown in, some romance along the way. The big mystery (which you’ll probably figure out by the halfway mark) will have ramifications in the next book. It should cause major tension and drama, something which this first book lacked.

THE GOOD:
– Story differs enough from the Percy Jackson series that it feels fresh and necessary
– Riordan’s use of language is light yet realistic
– Piper and Leo are great characters, with strengths and flaws that make them dynamic
– Steampunk dragon = awesome

THE BAD:
– Way too long, with a very bloated beginning
– Jason is too perfect to be interesting, especially after you solve the mystery of his origin

Despite starting off painfully slow, The Lost Hero steadily picks up steam. By the end of the book, you’ll be clamoring to find out what happens to our trio in the next book. The final chapters promise lots of fighting, juicy drama, more revelations, and even more secrets that have yet to be uncovered.

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18 thoughts on “Kelly Reviews “The Lost Hero” by Rick Riordan

    • He is made of bronze and was originally designed during the Civil War, so I kept imagining him as a steampunk dragon. And his name is Festus. So cute!

      • Well I guess you have to *build* a steampunk dragon, right? I’ve been reading excessive amounts of Scott Westerfeld in the past few days though so your one steampunk dragon does not impress me, haha.

      • Well we’d have to go to Camp Halfblood, trap the dragon in the woods with some oil, and then take him back to the secret bunker to fix him.

        Or we have to build him, like Pokey suggests.

        …can’t someone just *give* us a cool, functioning steampunk dragon on which to fly?

  1. I’m super excited to read this book!

    Also,

    “The kids had saved the day; Percy chose mortality. All was well.”

    ALL WAS WELL.

  2. Seeing that I did not read any of the Percy Jackson books and only watched the movie where apparently everything was all wrong…I will probably not be reading this anytime soon. But it seems I should get into these at some point in my life. I like mythology and fantasy books where kids have to save the world, so – perfect, right?

    I hate Mary Sues though. Or I guess in this case, we have a Gary Stu.

  3. Is percy jackson still be the main character of this sequel even the upcoming books? I would like to know the answer please..

    • Hi Marion!

      Percy is not the main character in this book. In fact, part of the plot is that he has gone missing. It’s all tied into the mystery of Jason’s origin.

      As for the next book, I’m not sure if Percy will be found or not. I am also not sure who the main character(s) will be in the next book, as the ending didn’t give us any concrete answers.

      Even though Percy is not in the book, I still recommend reading it. Let me know if you have any more questions.

  4. Hey kelly! i really liked your review, but i’m going to have to disagree with you on one point – i found that piper was really, really the epitome of a mary sue. her power “charmspeak” is basically the definition of a deus ex machina – she doesnt have to work on it, she inherited it without any trouble and whenever she uses it she gets overly praised. As well, she is not a nice person. she puts down leo too much (he’s definitely my saving grace in this book) and overall, she just thinks jason is super hot. she doesnt even like his personality! what do you think?

    • Hey! Thanks for reading! And you raise a very good point. Piper does have a case of the Mary Sues, now that I’ve had some time away from the book to reflect. Each of the kids had a power that was too convenient for my tastes – Piper had the charmspeak, Jason could fly, and Leo could create/be engulfed in fire. And that magical toolbelt… so I was willing to overlook that trait in Piper. (plus it reminded me of Ella Enchanted, so positive associations may have clouded my judgement a little). I think Jason was just so boring that even though Piper was annoying and Mary Sueish, she provided some relief. And Piper always talked about how hot Jason was, but that made me more annoyed at Riordan for writing like that. I don’t know if this was his first female first person character, but Piper does fall a little flat in hindsight. But not nearly as dull as Jason.

      Leo was the most interesting of the characters, by far. I really hope there is more of him in the upcoming releases! I would be much happier reading his point of view the entire time.

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