This review is not spoiler-free – sorry about that! But hey, it’s book four of a series and BIG THINGS happen in the story so I couldn’t do the book justice without talking about some of the spoilery bits.
Hazel stands at a crossroads. She and the remaining crew of the Argo II could return home with the Athena Parthenos statue and try to stop Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter from going to war. Or they could continue their quest to find the House of Hades, where they might be able to open the Doors of Death, rescue their friends Percy and Annabeth from Tartarus, and prevent monsters from being reincarnated in the mortal world. Whichever road they decide to take, they have to hurry, because time is running out. Gaea, the bloodthirsty Earth Mother, has set the date of August 1 for her rise to power.
Annabeth and Percy are overwhelmed. How will the two of them make it through Tartarus? Starving, thirsty, and in pain, they are barely able to sumble on in the dark and poisonous landscape that holds new horrors at every turn. They have no way of locating the Doors of Death. Even if they did, a legion of Gaea’s strongest monsters guards the Doors on the Tartarus side. Annabeth and Percy can’t exactly launch a frontal assault.
Despite the terrible odds, Hazel, Annabeth, Percy, and the other demigods of the prophecy know that there is only one choice: to attempt the impossible. Not just for themselves, but for everyone they love. Even though love can be the riskiest choice of all.
Before I get to the main part of this review, I just want to say: How nice of Gaea. How nice of all the hideous beings who have attacked Percy and his friends over the years. They’re always so considerate, setting deadlines when they plan to take over the world!
Is it just me or is that a bit strange? I mean, come on. Isn’t it scarier not knowing when a villain will attack?
Anyway. Sorry about that rant. On to the review!
It’s been eight months since I heard wonderful things about this book and decided to read the series. It’s been five months since I began the series. And now I’m finally caught up! This book is the best installment yet in Heroes of Olympus and now I’m SO EXCITED for The Blood of Olympus in October!
Here are some of my thoughts.
I’m so proud of the characters! They grew up so much!
That was my favorite part of The House of Hades, honestly. They grew up – sometimes literally, as Frank did, but more often emotionally. They developed their powers. They became braver. They stopped dilly-dallying and started taking charge.
Hazel and Frank especially impressed me. I’ve liked them since they were introduced in book two, The Son of Neptune, but I never loved them. They lacked that little something. But Hazel’s storyline has since become darker, and Frank’s warrior-ish-ness finally caught up to him, finally had an effect on him. And it was GREAT.
Percy and Annabeth, on the other hand, traveled through Tartarus. TARTARUS! Poor kids. But I was proud of them, in that weird way that bookworms become proud of fictional characters. This was certainly their biggest and most dangerous adventure.
And then there’s NICO! Good job, Nico. You were brave. You came out. (Yes, that was the spoiler right there.) Sad, hiding Nico just makes me… sad as well.
And speaking of Nico – Jason was there when he told. And he, too, has really grown up and changed. He’s less of a stoic leader and more of a caring guy.
And then Leo became more serious!
There were too many narrators.
This is the only thing I didn’t like about The House of Hades. I guess that Riordan wanted to include all seven demigods of the prophecy, but that was too many. I also felt that it slowed the pacing – in, say, The Lost Hero, I was more likely to keep reading through the boring sections (read: those narrated by Jason or Piper) to reach more cool stuff about Leo.
With this novel, sometimes I ended up rolling my eyes and going, “Ugh. I don’t like the next narrator… or the next… and I’m not incredibly fond of the one after that.”
Also, I think Piper and Jason narrated far few chapters than the other demigods. Not that I mind, of course – zzzz – but it did seem weird. It’s like Riordan tried to include everyone but he then he gave up with a few characters and gave them just a handful of chapters. I don’t get it.
I devoted an entire post last October to Nico’s coming-out and how that was a great thing in the world of middle-grade books. So, I don’t want to talk too much about that here. What I do want to say is that I saw little hints dropped all over the place prior to that chapter.
Little comments about Percy, about avoiding Annabeth (because Nico was jealous), about love being difficult and weird. Gosh, it’s right there in the blurb – check the last sentence.
I loved the variety of settings in this book.
Piper, Jason, Leo, Hazel, and Frank (and Nico – but he’s not part of the prophecy) spent the book in Europe. They spent part of the previous book, The Mark of Athena, there as well. But I’m still excited about it because the earlier books, even the Percy Jackson books, characters spent ninety-nine percent of their time in the United States.
Europe was a nice change from that and better yet, allowed Riordan to stage battles between gods/monsters and demigods in actual Ancient Greek and Roman ruins. Instead of, you know, New York City. It’s just not quite the same in modern places.
Percy and Annabeth spent the book in Tartarus, however. And even thought the place is gross and terrifying… it was still kind of cool. It’s a gigantic body at the bottom of the world. Isn’t that cool? Or am I just weird?
I loved The House of Hades. I began the series so I could read this particular book and I’m happy to say that it was worth it. I think this is Riordan’s darkest, most mature book yet – which means it still has some issues, like fart jokes – but hey, I think he’s building up to a hopefully great conclusion.
I’m so excited for the fifth and final book! Who’s with me on that?
And what did you think of The House of Hades?