The "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series is over, but the adventures of the young demigods at Camp Halfblood continue in a series called "Heroes of Olympus," which begins with this book. When Jason wakes up on the bus during a school field trip to the Grand Canyon, he has no memory of who he is or how he got there. This is disturbing news to his best friend Leo and his girlfriend Piper, who both have months worth of memories of their relationship with Jason—but before they can cope with the truth that these memories are false, the three friends must survive an attack by wind spirits sent to destroy them.
You see, all three of these youngsters happen to be demigods—children with a human parent on one side and a Greek or Roman god on the other. I add the words "or Roman" because, for some reason, Jason speaks Latin rather than Greek, and keeps blurting out the names of Roman deities such as Jupiter and Juno, rather than their Greek counterparts Zeus and Hera. It is Hera who has taken Jason's memory; Hera who sends a vision to Annabeth, a veteran halfblood camper, telling her that Jason will be the key to discovering where her boyfriend Percy disappeared to; Hera who sends the campers a terrifying prophecy of what will happen if she, Hera, is not rescued from a new enemy who holds her captive and who will sacrifice her, Hera, in four days' time. Unless the halfblood kids put a stop to it, Hera's sacrifice will be the beginning of a conflict even bigger than the recent Titan War II, threatening the health and well-being of everybody on Earth. And though Hera has heretofore been the least demigod-friendly of the Olympian gods—especially where the kid's divine parent is her husband—she has personally sponsored Jason son-of-Jupiter at Camp Halfblood, claiming that he is the key to bringing together the seven heroes who must save the world.
To start with, however, three heroes must go on a quest to save Hera. Jason, naturally, is to lead the quest. He is joined by Leo, a son of Hephaestus with a knack for building gadgets, fixing things, and—his big secret—handling fire. A rare and dangerous talent, that. Piper, meanwhile, learns that she is a daughter of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty—ironic qualities for a girl who is secretly under orders to betray her friends to the death, if she wants her kidnapped movie-star father to survive. Together with a flying mechanical dragon, a gung-ho satyr (a dude with the horns, hooves, and appetite of a goat), and an occasional leg-up from somebody or other's newfound mom or dad, the three kids make their way across the continental U.S., while each of them separately struggles with a painful secret or a personal mystery. Jason discovers more about who he is and where he's been. Leo begins to get over his mother's fiery death and grows more confident as a monster-slaying hero. And Piper learns to face the danger to her father and to her friends with honor.
The threat they will face, however, is more deadly than any of them could have anticipated. No longer must monsters wait in line to be returned to the world after being destroyed by a demigod; no sooner are they turned into gold dust than they start to re-form again. Mortal villains from the most savage chapters of history are returning to life—fiends like witchy Medea, gold-crazy Midas, and a swordsman who styles himself the Reaper of Men. Clearly, someone has opened the door that separates the world of the living from that of the dead. And that someone is awakening, gathering a terrible army, and recruiting minor deities to betray the gods and sabotage the campers' quest. As their chances of survival shrink to ludicrous littleness, the realization grows that if the kids fail in their quest, the result will be really, really bad.
Cheer up, though! You can't seriously think they fail. There are at least two more books in the series! But nor is the crisis over. Saving Hera may be the easy part. Getting the gods and demigods to work together will be even tougher, now that Zeus (or Jupiter) has closed Olympus. And perhaps even more dangerous is the threat of civil war among the demigods who... Well, let's not give too much away. If you really want to find out what could tear the halfbloods apart, read this book. And then watch this hilarious, action-packed, and surprisingly educational series continue in The Son of Neptune and The Mark of Athena.
Saint Louis USA
Recommended Age: 13+
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