by Rick Riordan
Read: May 11 - 15, 2014
Published: October 8, 2013 by Hyperion Books
Source: Kindle purchase
Category: Greek gods, demigods, Middle Grade
Series: The Heroes of Olympus #4 (after Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5)
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?
They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.
This review is SAFE for all readers, whether you've read this series or not. In fact, I encourage you to read this if you're curious about these books but have yet to tackle them.
If you have never met Percy Jackson, well, I'm sorry for you. But I bet you're feeling daunted by the prospect of all of the books you'd have to read to get to this point. Five books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and then three books in The Heroes of Olympus series, before reaching this one, book four, The House of Hades (that's nine total if you count the series together). Let me tell you that it's definitely worth it.
I never read long series. Five or six books is about my limit, but I enjoyed The House of Hades as much as the previous set. I can't wait for the final book, The Blood of Olympus, which will end the series and hopefully let Percy and Annabeth rest a little bit.
If you're wondering whether or not to give these a go, here are some reasons I can't get enough of these books:
1) Greek mythology in a modern setting - Okay so that's a given. But I've always been a huge fan of Greek mythology, and I have been majorly impressed with how it's been presented in this series. These books are rich with characters and stories that make Greek mythology come to life in all its messy complexity. I have learned so much about gods, goddesses and myths that surround them. But it's also fun to see how they've been put into the modern world - some are more adaptable than others - and how Riordan has explained details like why Mount Olympus is now in New York? I thought for sure we'd have run out of material by now, but every book is a new experience, and The Heroes of Olympus series has taken everything in an even more exciting direction.
2) Not formulaic - Way back when I read the first two books in the first Percy series, I enjoyed them, but the quests were structured the same, so I started to think that the whole series would contain the same plot flow. Nope. It would be easy to go that direction, but I remember being pleasantly surprised when book 3 set the story up differently. Although the demigods are always going on quests and encountering dangers, tests and vengeful gods, each book has been fresh and exciting. In this installment The House of Hades, Percy and Annabeth travel through Tartarus, which is a whole new experience.
3) Witty - These books and the characters in them amuse me. I'm constantly highlighting lines that make me laugh. They aren't comedies, although they're funny at times, but the language is delightful and constantly entertaining.
She kicked and struggled, trying to keep both of them afloat. Another cosmic joke for Gaea to laugh at: Annabeth dies trying keep her boyfriend, the son of Poseidon, from drowning. Not going to happen, you hag, Annabeth thought.Example 2:
He tried to get up. His limbs were useless. Someone was tugging at his waist, maybe a friend trying to help him up? No. His friends didn't smell like heavily perfumed monkey cages.
4) Percy and Annabeth aka Percabeth - I love these two individually, but together they are incredible. They have grown up a lot in the series (from 13 - 17 years), and they form one of my favorite literary ships ever. We are nine books into their relationship (they didn't start dating right away, but they began going on quests together in book 1), and watching them literally navigate through hell together has solidified them even more as a YA power couple. They are aware of their own strengths and insecurities as well as each others, and they trust and support each other implicitly. Constantly battling outside forces intent on their demise, they would not have survived this book without the strength of their relationship.
Reyna shrugged. "Says the demigod who fell into Tartarus and found his way back."
"He had help," Annabeth said.
"Oh, obviously," Reyna said. "Without you, I doubt Percy could find his way out of a paper bag."
"True," Annabeth agreed.
"Hey!" Percy complained.5) Everyone else - Although they are my favorites, Percabeth are not the only characters in this book. Percy voices the entire first series, but the second set of books has a cast of demigod narrators, all of whose lives I've become invested in - Jason, Leo, Piper, Hazel, Frank. Each of them plays an integral role in in this installment. They all have their own struggles, insecurities and triumphs. It's also fun (and sometimes not) to meet other former characters again - some friends, some definitely enemies.
1) With 7 different narrators in The House of Hades, it was hard to focus as much as I wanted on each storyline. I wanted to see more of all of them! If this worries you greatly, this book is the first where we've all their voices together, usually it's only a few of them at once. Thankfully, we got a lot of Percabeth. And I'm hoping that the final book finally gives us Nico's perspective. I love him.
2) I read the first 5 books in this series in 2010, but I've read the new series as it's released. The House of Hades especially includes a lot of reminiscing between Annabeth and Percy. With so much packed into each book, I struggle to remember the individual stories from the first series set. I loved Bob in this installment, but I could not remember him at all in previous books.
I don't know how Riordan does it every time, but this series has been consistently excellent from the beginning. Despite the ever present quest and conniving gods and goddesses, it has stayed fresh and exciting throughout. I can't wait for the finale!
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Definitely less than the last book! But these characters have a lot more to come.