(The Heroes of Olympus, Book Five)
by Rick Riordan
'Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen-all of them-and they're stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood-the blood of Olympus-in order to wake.
The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it might be able to stop a war between the two camps.
The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.'
*** MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS ***
I struggled through this book. I think part of it was that I didn't read it consistently enough, and part of it was that it focused on the characters I didn't care much about. Then again, if it had interested me more I *would* have read it more eagerly.
This is the fifth and final book in the Heroes of Olympus series, the second series in the Percy Jackson franchise. We rejoin our seven demigods, who have now split into two groups to finish this massive quest. Nico, Reyna, and Coach Hedge are attempting to get the Athena statue back to Camp Half-Blood, while the others continue to travel on the Argo II to Athens for the final showdown. It was definitely the Nico parts of the book that I liked most. His is such a sad story. He deserves his own book, even just a short companion novel type thing. And now he's risking his life by shadow traveling half way across the globe with two other people and a forty foot statue in tow. Shadow traveling by himself wears him out. How will he survive this? After each jump, he needs more and more time to recover, and that's time they just don't have.
Reyna's story was my next favorite part. She has the ability to lend strength to those around her so she starts helping Nico on these shadow travel jumps. It's a bit of a two way street though. She pours strength into him, but she then experiences whatever emotions he's going through. And as she discovers, poor Nico is traveling with a lot of emotional baggage. They form a bond, and it really is touching when they start to open up to each other.
The rest of the story just didn't catch my interest enough. Once again, there is the main, most straight forward storyline (Nico and Reyna), and the rest of it seems overly busy and almost comical. The others (Jason, Piper, Frank, Hazel, Percy, Annabeth, and Leo) are constantly off on some lesser mission. Why did they need to capture Nike? Why were they in the underwater predicament? I don't even know because that stuff was so boring to me. It has always seemed like a way to cram as many gods or goddesses into the story. I suppose it's a handy way to learn about these others, but as far as story flow goes, it usually seemed like unnecessary sidetracking. It was especially boring for me this time because it was the characters I didn't care much about.
Percy and Annabeth are in this book, but barely. They are sort of background extras while the others carry the story. I can kind of understand that because I think this series was meant to be about the Romans of Camp Jupiter. Still, I really did miss those two.
I was disappointed in the end too. Of course, Gaea and the monsters were defeated . . . at least for now. Of course there are happy endings. But Nico's story went from so dark and emotional to sunshine and rainbows a little too quickly and easily. And Leo's story was left quite wide open. I wonder if he will show up in the Kane Chronicles, yet another mythology series by Rick Riordan. I guess I'll find out since I'll be reading those next.
So while this book wasn't terrible, it was probably my least favorite of this series.