Review: The Lost Hero

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Jason has a problem.
He doesn’t remember anything before waking up on a school bus holding hands with a girl. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper. His best friend is a kid named Leo, and they’re all students in the Wilderness School, a boarding school for “bad kids,” as Leo puts it. What he did to end up here, Jason has no idea – except that everything seems very wrong.

Piper has a secret.
Her father, a famous actor, has been missing for three days, and her vivid nightmares reveal that he’s in terrible danger. Now her boyfriend doesn’t recognize her, and when a freak storm and strange creatures attack during a school field trip, she, Jason, and Leo are whisked away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood. What is going on?

Leo has a way with tools.
His new cabin at Camp Half-Blood is filled with them. Seriously, the place beats Wilderness School hands down, with its weapons training, monsters, and fine-looking girls. What’s troubling is the curse everyone keeps talking about, and that a camper’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist they are all – including Leo – related to a god.

Oh gods, this book. What have I gotten myself into? After The House of Hades and Nico di Angelo came out (see what I did there?) this fall, I said I’d give the series another try, having not made it past the first few chapters.

Now I’m not totally sure it was worth it. But let’s look at the good parts first.

Diversity! Diversity is good. I’m trying to read more books with minority characters, and two of The Lost Hero‘s three protagonists are Cherokee and Hispanic. I’m pretty sure the sequels have more such characters – Hazel, Frank, and Reyna? Anyway, that’s really cool. Whatever I may think about Riordan’s latest storytelling abilities, I can’t ignore that his books are more diverse than, say, the Harry Potter series.

Thalia and Annabeth! Sadly, their appearances were brief so they didn’t get to do much, but without those characters there wouldn’t be many girls in the book, and certainly not any that kicked butt. I’m looking at you, Piper.

Leo! He was by far the best part of The Lost Hero and I wish he’d narrated more than a third of the book. Leo is a son of Hephaestus, can create fire, and was the most complex protagonist in addition to being completely hilarious. I mean, just look:

The camp was overflowing with fine-looking girls. Leo didn’t quite understand the whole related-to-the-gods business, but he hoped that didn’t mean he was cousins with all these ladies. That would suck. At the very least, he wanted to check out those underwater girls in the lake again. They were definitely worth drowning for. (Page 66)

“I don’t know if she’s completely unkillable,” he said, “but she cannot be defeated by toilet seats. I can vouch for that. She wanted me to betray you guys, and I was like, ‘Pfft, right, I’m gonna listen to a face in the potty sludge.'” (Page 276)

A thousand years from now, when this quest was being told around a campfire, he figured people would talk about brave Jason, beautiful Piper, and their sidekick Flaming Valdez, who accompanied them with a bag of magic screwdrivers and occasionally fixed tofu burgers. (Page 384)

I related to Leo on so many levels, you guys. If/when I read the sequels, I will cry if he’s not a major character.

I’ll give partial credit to Riordan for including Medea, King Midas, and the Cyclopes. Although they are among my favorite characters from Greek mythology, I felt their scenes were underwhelming. I mean, seriously. Where was the gold in Midas’ palace / mansion / thing? Why did his touch either make things only gold-tinted or not affect them at all? Wouldn’t his clothes, the floor, et cetera become gold too? At least that’s how I always imagined the myth.

Aaaand I think that marks the beginning of my complaints, so let’s carry on to the bad stuff now.

Piper. Huh? She has no depth. I don’t mind that she’s girly and interested in Jason. I don’t mind that at all – not by itself. But there’s little to her character except her adoration of Jason. I don’t remember what page it was (and I’m not interested enough to flip through the book and find it as I did for Leo) but there was some quote that basically boiled down to, “Piper did [insert heroic thing here] so Jason would notice her and then they would be boyfriend and girlfriend forever and always.”

That’s right, folks. She didn’t do [insert heroic thing here] to save her friends, or because it was the right thing to do. She did it so Jason would see, despite the fact that at that part of the book I’m pretty sure Jason was smiting an earth-giant-thing with his Mega-Awesome Lightning Powers That Bring All The Girls To The Yard and Piper was probably the last thing on his mind.

So, very disappointing. I mean, a child of Aphrodite should be cool! Being able to use your beauty and charisma to make people do whatever you wish should be much more interesting (and complex) than it was. Please go away, Piper. I can’t believe you’re one of the seven demigods of the prophecy because I really don’t want to read any more about you, and definitely not from your point of view.

And then there’s Jason. He doesn’t do anything exceptionally annoying, but that’s because he just doesn’t do anything. He’s a perfectly nice and polite young man who is also incredibly dull. He has no personality because he doesn’t even remember it. How Jason can be related to someone as intelligent and spunky not to mention gorgeous as Thalia is beyond my comprehension.

Speaking of Jason and Thalia being related, it really bothered me how Riordan closed his plot holes by pulling things out of thin air. Jason and Thalia have the same dad, only not really? (Zeus was Latin, but it was just a phase.) There’s a version of Camp Half-Blood located across the country and it’s for Roman demigods and it was never mentioned before because… well, no real reason, really? Don’t even tell me it’s due to the Mist, Riordan. Demigods are supposed to be able to see through it. It felt like very lazy storytelling.

(I will admit, though, that I was pleased to learn why Camp Half-Blood demigods are supposed to stay away from the West Coast – it’s not so much that there are so many monsters but another group of campers live there and they fought the Greek group years ago. I liked the explanation, but I didn’t like how it was done, if that makes any sense.)

Most of The Lost Hero felt like very lazy storytelling, to be honest. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was reading a first or second draft – the book needs that much work. Characters have weak motivations, villains are two-dimensional, the dialogue sounds nothing like what “kids these days” would say. The author’s ideas weren’t bad, but he needed to revise. Majorly.

Additionally, many pages could’ve been cut. At five hundred and fifty-seven pages, The Lost Hero was bloated. I’m not saying that the Percy Jackson books were short – my copy of The Lightning Thief is just under four hundred pages – but at least the length of that series felt necessary. Something important, from an action scene to a character revelation, happened on every page.

Here, it was like Riordan was making the story long just to be impressive. But it wasn’t impressive – it was just a paperweight. If I read one more scene in which a character has a long, pointless dream and then spends several pages recounting / analyzing it with their friends, I may have to end my misery by falling on a sword.

With all that in mind, I think The Lost Hero would be most enjoyed by Riordan die-hards. Can’t get enough of Camp Half-Blood? Never take off your orange shirt? Yeah, go for this book. Otherwise, it is an utterly ordinary teen read, lacking in the humor, splendid twists on old myths, and action sequences of its predecessors.

What do you think of The Lost Hero, readers? Would you recommend that I continue reading the Heroes of Olympus series?

Rating: 2/5

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
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13 Responses to Review: The Lost Hero

  1. DK says:

    I can’t agree wih you more. Jason is a Gary Stu, Piper is a Mary Sue, the plot stinks, the writing is mediocre, and the entire series seems like just a way to make money. The only saving grace is Leo.

    Ordinarily, I would thinm HoH is badly done, but the fact is that House of Hades is the best in the series, largely because it doesn’t focus on Piper and Jason so much. The series is so bad that even Annabeth and Percy come off as annoying.

    Basically, it’s a disappointment. I agree with you

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ah yes, I remember you saying something similar in the comments of my post about what was next for Rick Riordan. And I disagreed about Piper, foolish child that I was. 🙂
      (Maybe because in the beginning, she seems OK? I mean, it’s the start of the book, no one expects a hugely complex character right away. But then SHE NEVER GETS ANY DEPTH.)
      Does Leo narrate any of the sequels?

      OK, that’s good. I HAVE heard that the series gets better and it seemed like Riordan just needed to get into spirit of a new series.
      Noooooooo, annoying Annabeth + Percy? *pouts* *rages* They’re not the greatest characters in the world but as middle-grade-book characters go, they’re pretty neat.

      So – to continue or not to continue? Is the series worth it?

      • DK says:

        Haha. Yay, you agree now!

        The series in itself is rubbish. But Leo does get a more important role later on. Though let me warn you, Son of Neptune has no Leo at all! Not until the end. You get introduced to Frank and Hazel, both of whom are just…there, without any real complexity to them. Hazel’s immaturity annoys me.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I have seen the light! I no longer bow down to the Piper!

      Ick, I’m disappointed to hear that. I *might* continue just for Leo, I dunno yet.
      *blerghs* Is… let’s see… Reyna any better? More interesting than Frank and Hazel? *throws out names of characters she’s heard of*

      • DK says:

        Reyna is a fairly minor character, which is sad because I think she has real potential. Let’s see, though. Maybe we’ll see more of her in the next book. I like Coach Hedge or whatever his name is because he’s funny in a classically Riordan kind of way.

  2. Lydia says:

    When I read this book, the first sentence totally threw me off and I couldn’t focus for the first couple chapters. It was something like “My day was going great until I got electrocuted.” Um, no. If you are electrocuted, you die. No storytelling afterwards. I know it’s a weird thing to be bothered by, but my dad taught highschool science for years and that’s one of his pet peeves.

    Also, my dog is named Piper. I don’t remember much about Piper the demigod (probably because she wasn’t a very good character, like you said), but I’m pretty sure Piper the dog can kick more butt than she can. Maybe I should call her my demidog.

    • nevillegirl says:

      But Jason has Mega-Awesome Lightning Powerz, so Riordan uses that Gary-Stu-ness to say it doesn’t work that way with a son of… gods, I just blanked on Zeus’s Roman name. *is apparently trying to forget this novel* Ah yes, Jupiter. A son of Jupiter. 🙂

      *pats Lydia’s dog* I’m sorry you share a name with that character, Lydia’s Dog.

  3. Erin says:

    I have to say that The Lost Hero is the weakest book in the HoO series so far. I’m not a fan of Jason or Piper, and Leo was basically the only good character in the book. I did enjoy The Son of Neptune a lot more, but this may be because Percy is my favorite character and both Frank and Hazel are more interesting than Jason and Piper. Again, this is just my opinion, but I’d say keep reading the series. Or if anything, definitely give The Son of Neptune a try.

  4. Lilooooooooo says:

    My gods, you have complETELY SUMMED UP THIS BOOK THIS IS MY FAVORITE REVIEW OF ALL TIME. That aside, I really agreed with your points against Piper (she is bland and much like plain pasta; boring) and the like. I would definitely encourage you to keep reading because PERCY, but in fair warning Nico’s character was HUGELY degraded. NO SPOILERS I PROMISE but the whole coming-out scene was kind of overdone (I would know, believe me) and his entire character was basically reduced from ‘awesome little kid who happens to have a temper problem and misses his sister’ to ‘mopey and miserable and frankly kind of creepy and weird and nobody likes him’. I don’t know, I just thought I should say it….(And it’s definitely not because he’s LGBT+. I just feel like Rick gave up, ya know?)

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ha ha, I’m honored that you think so! I love writing sarcastic reviews, and for some reason it’s usually more fun to write bad reviews than good ones.

      *legasp* Are you insulting plain pasta? Plain pasta is lovely… OK, maybe with a little butter added.

      So basically, you think Nico was like a caricature of his old self? That sucks.

  5. Pingback: Review: The House Of Hades | Musings From Neville's Navel

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