Monday, March 17, 2014

Book Review: House of Hades

Book Review
House of Hades
The Heros of Olympus #4
Percy Jackson #9
By: Rick Riordan

I was feeling super “write-y” today, so this review is very, VERY detailed. This is your spoiler alert.  If you haven’t read the book just read my “Likes” and “Dislikes”.

At the end of the Mark of Athena Rick Riordan left us at a cliffhanger.  Percy and Annabeth had just fallen into Tartarus, Gaea had open the Gates of Death, and Camp Halfblood was about to be attacked by the Romans. 

For ease, I will refer to
  •  “Mark of Athena” as MoA
  •  “House of Hades” as HoH
  • “Doors of Death” as DoD
  •  The Seven or 7 includes: Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, Jason Grace,  Leo Valdez, Piper McLean, Frank Zhang, and  Hazel Levesque

Like in MoA, the entire gang of nine (In addition to The Seven I’m included Nico di Angelo and Coach Hedge) is never in the same part of the book.  This is good, because it would be impossible to keep up with everyone at once.  They are really two main groups: Percy & Annabeth in Tartarus and the others who are on the Argo II, but also make stops here and there.   This book is what I call a “Meanwhile” story.  You’ll read about Percy & Annabeth in Tartarus and then it shifts to the demigods on the Argo II.  It’s as if Riordan is saying… “Meanwhile on the Argo II…” then later “Meanwhile in Tartarus…”

Percy & Annabeth Summary
Percy and Annabeth fell into Tartarus at the the end of MoA, while trying to retrieve the Athena Parthenon.  They must journey through Tartarus and find the DoD in the heart of Tartarus.  They begin by following the River Phlegethon. The River Phlegethon is "a stream of fire, which coils round the earth and flows into the depths of Tartarus"; its waters have the power to keep Annabeth and Percy alive, but just barely.  Each time they drink the firer liquid they are burned by it.  Then Percy and Annabeth run into Kelli, the empousai cheerleader from Battle of the Labrynth.  They are then saved by Bob.  Bob is not your ordinary hero.

You may remember him from the short story Sword of Hades. Bob was once the Titan Iapetus, but was pulled by Percy Jackson into the River Lethe—which took his Titan memory from him.  Percy gives him a new identity; Iapetus becomes Bob, the Titan friend of Percy, who works in Hades as a janitor.

Bob becomes loyal ally to Percy and Annbeth; he guides them all over Tartarus in search of the Door of Death.  Not only does Bob act as a guide to the two, but he also introduces them to Damasen a peaceful giant who is unliked by his parents Tartarus and Gaea.  Later, Percy and Annabeth meet Akhlys; the goddess of  misery and poison.  Akhlys tricks the pair and envelops them in a death mist.  Percy uses his power to move water and turns the poisons back onto Akhlys. 

Finally, Percy and Annabeth make it to the DoD, which is an elevator that looks exactly like the ones in the Empire State Building.  There are monsters EVEVRYWHERE, but they can’t see Percy and Annabeth because of the death mist.  Bob explains to them that they must enter the elevator without any monsters, then the up button must be pressed for 12 minutes without interruption.  Ordinarily, the DoD are unpredictable and can pop up anywhere on earth, but enchanted chains have been placed on them, so that whoever enters the DoD will be transported to Necromanteion. Because the button has to be held down, Percy knows that there is no way he, Annabeth, and Bob can all come back to earth. Tartarus appears in a solid form to destroy Percy and Annabeth, but Damasen comes to their rescue.  He holds off Tartarus, while Bob pushes down the button. Percy and Annabeth board the elevator and are transport to the Necromanteion.

The Other’s Summary
The Argo II and it’s passengers (Jason Grace, Leo Valdez, Piper McLean, Frank Zhang,  Hazel Levesque, Nico di Angelo, and Coach Gleeson Hedge) are trying to travel across the Apennine Mountains of Italy. The ourae, evil mountain gods who are in alliance with Gaea, are making the trip impossible by throwing boulders at the ship. The gang has no idea what to do until Hazel sees Arion, her immortal horse.  Arion takes Hazel to see Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, who gives Hazel some advice and leaves her with Gale, a farting polecat.  Based on Hecate's advice, Hazel decides it is best to travel north to Bologna and then to Venice. This will require Hazel to use the Mist to protect the Argo II.  In Bologna the demigods meet Akmon and Passalos who steal many of their possessions including the Archimedes sphere and Piper’s knife. Leo and Jason track Akmon and Passalos down and to retrieve their stolen items as well as an astrolabe and an old book about agriculture.  They also convince Akmon and Passalos to slow down the Roman Army that is headed to Camp Half-Blood.

Off the coast of Croatia, the Argo II gets stuck in a trap laid by Sciron, who is aided by his enormous turtle. Historically, Sciron tricks demigods into meeting him on top a large cliff where he forces them to wash his feet. Once the unsuspecting demigod begins to wash his feet, the demigod is kick off the cliff and eaten the turtle.  On remembering this story, Hazel uses her power over the mist to make Sciron think he has kicked Jason off the cliff.  Sciron is knocked off the cliff and eaten by the turtle.  Hazel has made Hades proud, he appears to her and tell her where to find the DoD—in the lowest level of the Necromanteion.

Jason then receives a vision in the form of a dream that tells him that Reyna must bring the Athena Parthenos to Camp Half-Blood to stop the impending war between the Roman and Greek demigods. More misadventures occur including the gang running into Favonis, Cupid, and Kione. 

Leo ends up in Ogygia, the island where was Calypso banished to.  Leo and Calypso slowly fall in love as Leo builds an escape boat and Calypso makes him new fire proof clothing.  Once Calypso falls in truly love with Leo a raft shows up for Leo to escape on; she gives him a fireproof bag for Frank’s life log. Leo swears on the River Styx that one day he will return to her and free her from Ogyglia.

Jason convinces Notus to blow the gang to Malta where they find Leo in a café.  Leo is able to fix the ship, and they continue on their journey.  When they finally make it to the HoH, they are separated by and earthquake (Nico, Jason, and Frank in one group and Hazel and Leo in the other.) The HoH is full of monsters; Nico uses the Scepter of Diocletian to summon the souls of Roman ghosts.  Even though Jason is a Roman praetor he is not “Roman enough” to command the ghosts.  Jason gives up his title to Frank Zhang, who proves to be a great leader.  The Roman ghosts slay the monsters and Jason, Frank, and Nico continue to the DoD.

Leo and Hazel encounter Pasiphae and Clytius and discover that the Labyrinth is being rebuilt.  The elevator with Percy and Annabeth arrive, and Hazel uses the Mist to outsmart Pasiphae and Clytius.  Hecate aids Hazel; Percy and Annabeth are saved.

When the Seven plus Nico return to the Argo II, they are shocked to find Reyna is there with Coach Hedge.  Nico, Reyna, and Coach Hedge decide to take the Athena Parthenos back to Camp Half-Blood to bring peace to the Roman and Greek demigods.  The Seven must continue on their journey to Athens before Gaea is awakened. And now we wait for Blood of Olympus which will release in October of this year.

>>     That Percy had guilt about what he did to Bob.  He also has guilt about kill all the monsters in his past.  It’s good that he realizes there are consequences to actions.

>>        I loves that Bob tells us that Nico checked on him and was his friend.  Nico is sometimes hard to like; I’m glad Riordan reminded us that he has a good side.

>>        Jason struggles with whether or not he is fully Roman.  I think it’s great that it is a process that he is going through.  You can’t just change the way you see the whole world in one day.
>>        Hazel really comes into her own in this book. She learns to use the Mist and saves the day.

>>        I love that Frank became a little bit more macho.  Baby-faced Frank is now a praetor—yes!

>>       Leo finally gets a love interest! Leo is probably my favorite non-Percy or Annabeth character in the series. I'm glad that he isn't 7th-wheeling anymore.

>>        Coach Hedge has a kid!  Wow, that’s unexpected.

>>        Jason never got to shine in this book.
>>        I think Piper charm speak working on Festus was a little odd.

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