(The Heroes of Olympus, Book Two)
by Rick Riordan
'Percy is confused. When he awoke after his long sleep, he didn't know much more than his name. His brain-fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight. Somehow Percy managed to make it to the camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he had to continually kill monsters that, annoyingly, would not stay dead. But the camp doesn't ring any bells with him.
Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she didn't do a very good job of it. When the Voice took over her mother and commanded Hazel to use her "gift" for an evil purpose, Hazel couldn't say no. Now, because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk.
Frank is a klutz. His grandmother claims he is descended from ancient heroes, but he doesn't even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery. His big and bulky physique makes him feel like a clumsy ox, especially in front of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely-enough, even, to share the secret he holds close to his heart.
Beginning at the "other" camp for half-bloods and extending as far north as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment in the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all of whom are destined to play a part in the most important quest of all: the Prophecy of Seven.'
*** MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS ***
This second book in the Heroes of Olympus series is a smidge shorter than the first but at 513 pages, it's still a bit of a beast. I really enjoyed this one. Although still a bit busy in the storyline, this one is a little easier to follow. Or maybe I'm just getting used to it and paying more attention as I read. Heh.
We reconnect with the missing Percy Jackson in this book. Like Jason in the first book, Percy has lost his memory but finds himself unknowingly be driven right to Camp Jupiter, where someone feels he's meant to be for now. We're introduced to Hazel and Frank, this book's main characters, as well as other demigods at this *other* camp. Things are strange here, yet somewhat familiar to Percy. Like Jason, he has a feeling he doesn't belong here. These Roman demigods peg him as Greek right away and consider him an enemy until one of their leaders settles them down and insists there must be a reason for his strange appearance in their camp. And who is the mysterious kid who the campers are nervous around and who Percy is sure he knows from somewhere?
As with all Percy Jackson books before, there is a prophecy in this one and our main characters set off on an impossible quest. It seems the dead are not staying dead anymore. This might seem okay in some cases, but when it means those monsters they're battling aren't staying dead . . . well, that's not okay. It appears the god of death has been captured and the doors of the underworld are now wide open and unguarded. Not only that, but he's being held by the most powerful of giants, in a land far away, a land beyond the gods. AND all of this is helping in Gaea's (evil version of Mother Earth) struggle to awaken and take over the world.
Frank and Hazel each have secrets from their past that they are keeping. Each realizes their lives are very much at stake with this quest, more so than just the usual threat of dying while fighting monsters. I found their back-stories more touching and interesting than Piper's and Leo's in the first book. Things seemed a bit more simple in this book, even though it was still quite busy. Hazel's story in particular really tugs at the heart. She's given a glimpse of what her future could have been and she (as well as the reader) is left wondering whose hand that was that she was holding at the altar. Was it Sammy, her childhood sweetheart before she was whisked off to this crazy demigod life? Or Frank's, who she's growing increasingly close to?
There is also something connected to this Roman camp that was so heartwarming when Percy saw it. Unlike Camp Half-Blood, Camp Jupiter has a whole city attached to it. It's hidden away from mortals, just like the camps, so demigods can choose to live and work there, and live normal lives away from the mortal world and it's threat of monsters. It reminded me of Idris from the Mortal Instruments series. Percy realizes he and Annabeth can settle down here and live simple, normal lives together. Except, well, they're Greek and therefore considered enemies.
As Percy, Hazel, and Frank struggle through their quest, they learn a lot of things about each other and about their pasts. They are reunited with some familiar characters, and some new alliances are formed for the sake of the final battle down the road. Just like Jason in the first book, Percy starts to regain his memories towards the end of the quest again. Along the way, little bits have come back to him, enough to help them through some tough spots here and there, but it's not till the end when it all comes back to him. And just in time because those back at Camp Half-Blood are on their way to help, which is the lead in to the next book in this series.
I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to diving right into book three!