Review: The Lost Hero

Title: The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus #1)
Author: Rick Riordan
Publication: 2010 by Random House Inc.
Format: Audiobook

Book Synopsis

Jason woke up on a bus to the Grand Canyon with no memory. A girl named Piper claiming to be his girlfriend and a boy named Leo reminding him that they are best friends are not helping matters. However, when the trio are attacked by storm spirits it soon becomes apparent that these three are no mere mortals but demi-gods. Taken to Camp Half-Blood in a chariot by Annabeth, it becomes clear that strange things are going on with Jason. Why does he refer to the gods in their Roman forms? Why can he speak Latin? And how did he get that strange tattoo on his arm? All these questions and more will be answered as Jason and his new friends set out on a quest to save Hera, who has been imprisoned while Olympus falls silent. Facing cyclops, insane wind gods, giants, and villainous mortals long thought to be dead, what could be worse? Our heroes are about to discover that there are worst entities to face than Chronos.

What I Thought About It . . .

The film adaptation of The Lightning Thief inspired me to read the books of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The books were fun and quick reads, but nothing that I would want to read again, which makes me glad that I checked them out from the library instead of purchasing a bunch of books that I would probably not read more than one time. I had mixed feelings when I heard that there would be a sequel series to it. I told myself I would just check it out from the library at some point as I decided to do with the Percy Jackson books. But I kept putting it off until I felt in the mood for listening to audiobooks during my work commute and as luck would have it I found this title available in such format. I prayed that the narrator was decent enough to get through because so often I check out audiobooks and abandon them due to a bad narrator.

Unlike the first person POV in the Percy Jackson books, The Lost Hero is told in third person and revolves around Jason, Piper, and Leo. Instead of amusing titles for chapters, each chapter focuses on one of these three heroes. Not that I don’t enjoy a first person narrative, but I was pleased with this change in tactic because I’d rather understand the thoughts and motivations of all the characters instead of seeing them filtered through the perspective of a single individual. There were times that I was annoyed by that limitation in the Percy Jackson books, especially when dealing with the character of Luke. So in this new novel we get to see the complexities from different angles. I like it. All of the main characters are likable too and I find that refreshing. Too often I find myself more interested in side characters rather than the main characters in stories. Since this book was so much longer than any of the previous volumes, I wonder just how long this series is expected to be. I’m not sure if I am at the point where I wish to own it, but I can see myself reading this book again. If The Lost Hero is any indication of how the rest of the series is going to be then I can already tell it will be a whole lot better than the Percy Jackson books.

The story and prose style were very engaging and I had no trouble listening to this book from start to finish. It was interesting to discover how the different aspects of the gods would determine their attributes in addition to their demi-god offspring. It makes me want to read books relating the myths again, and also reminds me how I’ve been meaning to read more about the mythologies of other cultures besides Greece and Egypt.

And did I mention it involves wolves? I like wolves. Especially werewolves. It’s always nice to see the Hunters of Artemis yet I think I enjoy their appearances more since Thalia joined their ranks. There were times when it was predictable, such as who was responsible for what happened to the dragon when the trio of heroes left Quebec. But this did not make it any less fun to read. It’s not often I find myself laughing during a book. (Or maybe that indicates that I read too many serious books?) I look forward to the release of the next book in this series because I want to join Jason, Piper, and Leo again in their adventures and find out who the other demi-gods will turn out to be from the Great Prophecy.

As for the audiobook itself, I was more than pleased with the reader. He did a good job of altering his voice enough to give the characters their own personalities. I get the impression that he had a lot of fun doing this book and I hope that he performs in the audiobooks of the remaining books in the series too. The only problem that I have with this presentation is what I notice in many audiobooks. At the end of the disc there was not announcement that the disc had ended so for several moments I’m wondering what’s going on until I realize that I’ve heard all this before and it’s time to switch discs. I’m not asking for an epic production like The Children of Húrin with all the dramatic music fanfare, but a simple “End of Disc X” isn’t so bad, right? It makes me wonder why many of the audiobooks I listen to do not have it. Anyway Joshua Swanson is one of the better narrators that I have heard in the last few years since I’ve been getting into audiobooks.



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