Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

The Son of Neptune
Rick Riordan
The Heroes of Olympus #2

Percy Jackson remembers his name and a girl named Annabeth. When he arrives at Camp Jupiter trailing monsters, he knows only that he is a demigod. Due to his unorthodox entrance, he is assigned to the disgraced Fifth Cohort, where he meets Frank Zhang and Hazel Levesque. When Mars appears and assigns the Roman demigods a quest, Frank, Hazel, and Percy set off for Alaska to stop another giant from rising, and maybe get Percy's memory back in the process.

Rick Riordan is an excellent example of why I still love reading kids' books. His style is humorous but his stories tackle serious challenges for the characters, while their friendships keep them sane. The Son of Neptune continues in this trend, introducing Frank and Hazel as new Roman demigods. While The Son of Neptune isn't anything particularly new from Riordan, it's certainly a terrific read for all ages.

I'm glad Percy's story was the second book rather than the first, because not knowing who Jason was made The Lost Hero much more interesting. Even though The Son of Neptune obviously doesn't share the same mystery about Percy's identity, the Roman camp differs significantly from the Greek, and I quite liked learning about it in this book. The politics of Camp Jupiter, unlike Camp Half-blood, are not related to the kids' godly parents but to their cohorts and prowess in mock battles.

One thing I disliked about this book (which applies to The Lost Hero as well) was the multiple perspectives. The Son of Neptune is written in third person, alternating between Percy, Frank, and Hazel. I loved hearing Percy's "voice" in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and I'm not entirely sure why it was necessary to change that here. There are times when numerous perspectives are appropriate - like when you have seventeen different subplots going in different places and no one knows what anyone else is doing - but when you have three characters all doing the same things and going to the same place, one voice is plenty. Having each of their perspectives at different points just lessened the suspense of not knowing their pasts.

But other than that, The Son of Neptune was a pretty great book.  I can't wait to see how the Greeks and Romans work together in the future and how they plan to stop Gaea. Mother Earth, evil? Now that's innovative.

Plot: 4 cupcakes
Characters: 4 cupcakes
Style: 4 cupcakes
Overall: 4 cupcakes

If you liked The Son of Neptune, try:
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane
Search for Senna by Katherine Applegate

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