This novel is the fifth and final novel in the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. The series follows the events of the five Percy Jackson and the Olympians novels with many of the same characters appearing in both. This novel follows the format of its four predecessors, having a split narrative between multiple character points of view. The POVs this time: Jason, Piper, Leo, Reyna, and Nico. This is the first time we've seen the events from Reyna and Nico, so that is an interesting addition to the story.
The novel picks up where the previous novel left us: Percy, Annabeth, Jason, Piper, Leo, Hazel, and Frank are sailing the skies and seas aboard the Argo II, on their way to stop Gaea, the earth mother, from rising. At the same time Reyna, Nico, and Coach Hedge are trying to shadow travel the Athena Parthenos back to Camp Half-Blood before war can break out between the Greek and Roman camps; if they succeed they can unite the camps and allow the gods to return to their original forms (since they are all suffering from some severe split personality disorder at the moment). Both groups must succeed if they are to complete their quest and save the world.
In the previous two novels I really didn't care about Jason or Piper very much. To be honest, the only interactions involving these two I remember caring about were those that involved Percy. I found Jason and Percy's head butting very humorous. I was pleasantly surprised to actually enjoy these two characters again.
Nico. I have always liked this son of Hades and I was very glad to be able to get inside his head more. He's a character that's easily relatable for me because I've felt like an outcast so many times and in so many situations. It was nice to see what he thought about the other characters and situations and understand more about why he feels like such an outsider everywhere he goes. He's also just really funny.
Reyna. To be honest I didn't really care about Reyna one way or the other before this novel. Now I really like her. I found her to be a very interesting and complex character and I think a whole series could be written on her alone and her struggles with a messed up family life and feeling unloved. Like Nico, Reyna doesn't completely feel like she belongs anywhere or with anyone. What's great about Reyna throughout this novel is how much she grows. She's always been strong mentally and physically, but she developed in leaps and bounds in the emotional department. Sometimes you have to learn to open yourself up.
I also really enjoy Nico and Reyna's relationship throughout this novel. We've had interactions between the two in previous novels, but now we get to see inside their heads and what they really think of each other. We also get to see how their relationship develops as they fight their way back to Camp Half-Blood with the Athena Parthenos. These two do not have an easy time.
Leo-what can I say, the kid is hilarious. I wish we had gotten more of his sassy quips in this novel, but he was kind of heartsick after everything with Calypso and, of course, the whole trying to save the world thing. His chapters were very enjoyable though, particularly when they involved interactions with Percy. These two would make great brothers.
That covers everyone with a POV in the novel. Now for the other four demigods running around.
Frank and Hazel were cute and sweet and just, well, Frank and Hazel. I've never had extreme feelings for either of these characters. I did really enjoy them during The Son of Neptune and Percy's attachment to them makes me love them more than I probably would otherwise. There's not a whole lot going on with Frank and Hazel in this story. I mean, don't get me wrong, they play very vital roles in many situations, but it's nothing surprising or standing ovation material.
Percy and Annabeth are amazing as always. What we saw of their relationship was nice, particularly after their experiences in Tartarus during the previous novel. And although they didn't play as pivotal roles here, anything Percy does is fun and worth reading. It's great to see these characters from their beginnings in The Lightning Thief to now, they have developed so much and become so much stronger.
The main thing that bothered me about this novel was that I didn't really feel like I ever got to spend a lot of time with any of the characters. It was definitely more noticeable with the ones without POVs, but I feel almost the same about the other five as well. Nico and Reyna are the only two I can really recall feeling like I was getting to know them more and developing a bond with. I know part of this is due to never having had their perspectives before, but I still feel like the characters have developed more as a whole throughout the other novels. I honestly would have liked if the novel were just a little longer and we had had POVs from all nine demigods. That would have helped me enjoy the novel more than I did as it's written.
My other main complaint is that we never get to see enough of Percy and Annabeth's struggles after coming out of Tartarus. I mean really, that has to be a very frightening experience. It was just downplayed in this novel and there was so much potential there. It definitely would have added to the novel to have this as more of a focus. I know the last novel had them in Tartarus, but to know their struggles once they were out would have improved the novel as a whole.
Overall I really enjoyed this novel. I think I rated if a full five stars on goodreads. I'm not sure I would really say it's worth that much, but it was a nice conclusion to a great series. I hope to hear more from these characters in the future.
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Until next time. This is your book loving friend,