The Lost Hero: The Heroes of Olympus, Book 1

 
Percy Jackson series spin-off is almost as delightful.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Mythological creatures abound in the Percy Jackson series and in this spin-off series as well. More heroes emerge with family ties to the gods, and more about the Titans, giants, and other ancient creatures emerges. There are also references to mortals from ancient history like King Midas, Helen of Troy, and Medea. It's fun to take out a map and see where the heroes' travels take them; the author usually includes some facts about each North American location.

Positive messages

Friendship, loyalty, and trust are big themes, and as the series progresses, characters with different backgrounds and talents will need to work together to fight a common evil and save the world (of course). Believing in yourself, facing your greatest fears, and rising to meet extreme challenges are also important -- this is a series about heroes, after all.

Positive role models

The three teen heroes -- Jason, Piper, and Leo -- are great examples of loyal friends, risking their lives many times for one another. They all come out more confident in their abilities and more sure of the importance of their friendship. When Piper is burdened with a fear that she will have to betray her friends in order to save her father, she makes the tough choice to confide in her friends, who are determined to help her anyway.

Violence

Violence falls into two camps here: First, there are multiple attacks by mythological gods and monsters that include swordplay, spears, and some bloodshed; the three main heroes almost die multiple times in these battles, while the creatures they kill just turn to dust and reform. Then there's the emotional stuff: Leo replays the death of his mother in a fire as his fault, and Piper is frantic over her father's kidnapping and worries that she'll have to choose between her father's life and her friends' safety.

Sex

Piper and Jason talk a lot in their own heads about their interest in the other, but there's no kiss just yet. Leo flirts very unsuccessfully.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Peppered with pop culture references and a few product mentions, but nothing except Wheel of Fortune is mentioned more than once.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Percy Jackson spin-off has the same mix of fast-paced battles, scary monsters, and humor. The three new heroes -- Jason, Piper, and Leo -- are in mortal danger multiple times and risk their lives for one another. These heroes are already in their mid-teens, so there's romance in the air between Jason and Piper, though nothing happens just yet. Just like the Percy Jackson series, The Lost Hero will get kids immersed in the details of Greek mythology ... and hopefully clamoring to learn more.

What's the story?

Jason is pretty confused when he wakes upon a school bus on a trip to the Grand Canyon with no idea who he is or how he got there. Earnest Piper acts like Jason's girlfriend, and goofy Leo thinks he's Jason's best friend, but Jason can't remember either of them. Before he can ask many questions, all three are attacked by storm spirits and rescued by a Camp Half-Blood chariot. The newly revealed heroes have barely broken in their cabin bunks when they're called on a quest to rescue Hera (who knows who Jason really is) from dark forces stirring in the Earth -- giants and much more. Riding off in a metal dragon expertly fixed by Leo (Hephaestus' son, of course), the three seek out the nearly-as-dangerous wind gods to help find Hera. But Piper has another secret quest: Her father has been kidnapped by another giant who wants to trade her friends' lives for her father's freedom -- a horrible choice to make.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

If the summary above sounds confusing, it'll help to read the Percy Jackson series first. This spin-off uses the same camp that trains heroes and churns out three more intriguing demigods. Whether they're as likable as Annabeth and Percy is still up in the air, but it's a promising start. Like Percy and Riordan's Egyptology series, The Kane Chronicles, the story set-up isn't terribly smooth, and this is a denser read than the first few Percy Jackson books, but once the action heats up, that's easily forgotten.

Always a draw with Riordan's books is his sense of humor and ingenious mix of myth and modern. Aeolus makes a compelling argument for why meteorologists are wrong so often, and Medea makes for a divine charmspeaking saleswoman (ready to talk you into buying a wide variety of poisonous potions, right this way). This sense of fun and adventure makes every one of Riordan's books a quest worth undertaking.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about this series vs. Percy Jackson. Were kids as excited about this new series if they loved Percy Jackson? How is Jason different from Percy? How is he the same?

  • Talk about the mix of myth and modern. How does the author make it work so well? Did you learn anything about mythology that you didn't know before? Are there other myths that you're interested in exploring?

Book details

Author:Rick Riordan
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Hyperion Books for Children
Publication date:October 12, 2010
Number of pages:557
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 17
Read aloud:10
Read alone:10

This review of The Lost Hero: The Heroes of Olympus, Book 1 was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old March 15, 2011
age 9+
 

Incredible Book- Iffy for 9 yr olds, but perfect for 10+

I heart this book!! I bought this one, and I cannot wait for the next one in the series to come out. I miss Percy, and go crazy just thinking what might happen, but it is most definitely a must buy.
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old January 1, 2011
age 10+
 

Love the author, Hate the Book.... Please Percy Come Back!!!

Ok, I know, I know this is going to sound bad when I look at all the five stars here, but I really did not like this book. I love Rick Riordan and I LOVED the Percy Jackson series, and I kind of freaked out when I heard a new Camp Half-Blood series was coming. But this book did not live up to my expectations. The characters were replaced with self-centered new ones, that in my opinion had no place being there. Piper is a self-centered Aphrodite girl who's literally obsessed with Jason. Jason seems completely sure of himself and awesome to the extreme, and Leo who's actually the only slight Percy Jackson-like character in this book is strange and brings about to much focus on the Hephaestus cabin. This also kind of brings down the Percy Jackson series because it makes it seem like quests like that happen every summer. In Percy Jackson it made it seem like it was just Percy's bad luck that made him the star of so many little quests, but now it gives off the feeling that quests like this are a normal occurrence every year. It was also quite hilarious how much Piper loved Jason. The best thing about the Percy Jackson series was how Annabeth and Percy didn't like each other from the beginning. They were best friends of course and learned to care for each other. Piper loves Jason immediately and in my opinion there is no such thing as love at first sight like that. Plus, Jason only thinks she's beautiful and doesn't seem to care what her personality's like except for one mention of it in the book. The only thing to look forward to is that Percy Jackson might be in the next book in the series SPOILER with his memory totally wiped SPOILER. So, please Percy come back and talk some sense into these new idiotic dweebs that are running around Camp Half-Blood with their heads held high. P.S. Below it says that there was a mention of the F word in the book. I don't know if you were thinking of a different one or if your kid said he was reading that book, but wasn't, but as far as I can remember this is a children's story, and there isn't one instance where profanity is used.
Kid, 12 years old May 10, 2011
age 11+
 

BEST BOOK EVER

Rick riordan is amazing... as a writer i am jealous =)
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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