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Thursday, January 01, 2015

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

Like the Harry Potter series, the Heroes of Olympus series gets deeper and darker with every book.  The House of Hades is one of the tensest yet!  Fans of action/adventure and mythology will absolutely not be disappointed in this book!

Fans of Rick Riordan will already know that the main characters are all demigods: the children of one human parent and one Roman or Greek god.  Thanks to this lineage, they all have special talents.  Frank can shapeshift into any number of different animals.  Leo can fix nearly any machine, and can also spontaneously combust.  Hazel can conjure precious metals and jewels from the ground.  I could go on...

The House of Hades opens mere minutes after the end of The Mark of Athena.  Pretty much the entire book is split between Percy and Annabeth in Tartarus and the rest of the gang on the Argo II.  But do not fear!  The split storyline is very well done, and I was never lost or confused.  Perhaps because there are multiple characters in each location, they are always talking to each other and mentioning each other by name, to anchor the reader in the correct place.  The point of view also rotates, between nearly all of the main characters.  Again, Rick Riordan does this very well, and I never found myself confused or having to hunt for hints to figure out who was talking.  All of the main characters are so well rounded at this point (this is Book #4 in the series), and each have their own distinguishable personality.   No stereotypes or 2D characters here!  As I mentioned, each demigod teen has a special power that helps the group on their quests.  But also--bonus factor--each teen has an Achilles heel.  This lends to their credibility as "real" teens, and help teen readers identify in the story.  For example, Percy can control the wind and the sea, but he's also dyslexic.  I absolutely love that any reader could identify with any one of these main characters, and could easily imagine themselves on the Argo II with the gang!

I also love the Argo II.  This is a bit of an aside.  But who wouldn't love a flying ship?  I'm prone to seasickness; I wonder if I'd fare better on a ship moving through the air instead of riding the waves...

Along with great, 3D characters, The House of Hades is also chock full of action.  In fact, my only (very small) gripe with the book is the lack of humorous dialogue between the characters.  In the first three books, I would literally laugh out loud at their back-and-forth.  In this book, the action was so nonstop that there was little time for witty repertoire.  Percy and Annabeth are totally trekking through Hell (always referred to as Hades or Tartarus in these young adult books) to try to stop Gaea and the giants from unleashing all the monsters onto mortal Earth.  The rest of the gang is on the Argo II, heading toward the same location to try to help Percy  and Annabeth close the the doors to Hades.  As you can imagine, things are just a little tense.  But the teens rely on each other, work together, and persevere.  The reader will definitely be kept on their toes as danger lurks behind every turn!

A note to the wise:  this fourth book in a series is best read as part of said series.  Someone picking up The House of Hades without any prior knowledge of the world or characters may feel lost.

A note on narration:  I listened to The House of Hades on CD and loved it!  Nick Chamian does such a great job.  He's a new narrator (someone else does the first three books) to the series, but he's spot on.  The cadence is smooth; not too fast and not too slow.  And I never had to fiddle with the volume during the book; it stayed nice and even.


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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2 People left their mark' :

  1. Great review Marie! I LOVE Rick Riordan's books. I'm still making my way though the Percy Jackson series but can't wait to read more of his work. How is this series different from the Percy Jackson one? Seems like it has the same characters.

  2. Hello Shan! I apologize for not replying sooner. The Heroes of Olympus series is very similar to the Percy Jackson series. Think of them like companion series. You can easily enjoy either series by itself, but you get a little extra enjoyment if you read both, as you'll see the characters cross over.