The Son of Neptune: The Heroes of Olympus, Book 2

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
The Son of Neptune: The Heroes of Olympus, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Percy is back! And on a quest with Roman demigods.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 42 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Something new to the world of Percy Jackson, which normally deals with Greek gods and their demigod children: Percy meets up with a Roman camp in California where gods are called by their Roman names and demigods live like Roman soldiers. So this is a fun way to compare what the gods were to the ancient Greeks and Romans, from their names to differences in personalities to which beings were revered more -- like Mars, the war god -- and less -- like Neptune, Percy's father. Plus a quest takes Percy, Hazel, and Frank from Northern California to Alaska with accurate details about various places (like the food carts in Portland), making a map and some pushpins a fun way to follow along.

Positive Messages

Certain themes resonate throughout the series, such as friendship, loyalty, and trust. And that people with diverse backgrounds need to learn to work together to defeat a common evil. Believing in yourself, facing your greatest fears, and rising to meet extreme challenges are also important -- this is a series about heroes, after all. Specific to this book in the series is coping with loss and letting go of guilt about the past.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Percy is back! He may have lost his memory, but he's still incredibly loyal, brave, and determined to stick up for the little guy; he's a hero's hero. Hazel is very guilt-ridden about her past but finds her strength and bravery. Frank is very unsure of himself but slowly grows into a leader and embraces his gifts. Hazel has an African-American mother, and Frank is Chinese Canadian. Both are worried about being outsiders in a camp of Romans but are still embraced for their heroic deeds.


Two main characters are constantly reminded that death could claim them at any time. Heroes face a number of foes and fight with special weapons; usually the monsters disappear, but in this book the monsters won't die, thus there are more mentions of injured creatures reforming and fighting again. There are many mentions of the Underworld and souls being judged and facing punishment, including one of the main characters; other fearsome creatures come back from the dead or are raised from the dead. There's a flashback to Frank mourning the death of his mother, a soldier in Afghanistan. A house is ambushed and burned to the ground, and a train is derailed by monsters. Mentions of Hazel's mother getting possessed -- and her sad death.


One romantic kiss and some mild flirting.


A horse curses a lot -- Percy understands him but won't translate. Demigods in danger shout, "gods!" A couple of jokes revolving around a large pile of the rock known as "schist."


A big (and rather funny) plug for, plus quick mentions of Ding Dongs, iPads, Pillowpets, Beanie Babies, and other products.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A son of the wine god indulges in really sugary Kool-Aid, depending on it as if it were alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is the second book in a spin-off series to the very popular Percy Jackson books. Percy is back in this one but has lost his memory and ends up in a Roman camp filled with heroes descended from the gods' Roman aspects -- making this a rather painless lesson in how the Greek and Roman gods differ. Two heroes traveling with Percy on his quest are constantly reminded that death could claim them at any time; one is also dealing with the recent loss of his soldier mother. There are many monster battles with fearsome creatures, but, as in all of Rick Riordan's books, the tension is broken by plenty of humor, and the heroes' bravery and loyalty always win out.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDemi-god _6 July 24, 2012

Out standing!

This sequel is more compelling than the first, I can't put in words how great it is.
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byalways_first_re... April 14, 2019

if deciding to buy this book or not read this.

It seems that this book can be hard to follow the younger you get, but it has a very good plot and story to it. how it is put together, you can really think wat... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byshoopsmash December 10, 2018

I could not put it down!!!!

This book is thrilling, adventures and awesome. Every spare moment I had i was reading this book. Their is to much hard words for kids 9 and under. But for ki... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old October 29, 2012

Will Keep you Flipping 'Till the End

I thoroughly enjoyed the banging return of our favorite hero, Percy Jackson. I was absolutely mesmerized by Hazel and Frank's terrifyingly wonderful back s... Continue reading

What's the story?

Pursued by gorgons and with no memory of who he is or how he got to California -- or why, after killing the gorgons more than once, they won't just stay dead -- Percy finds his way to the entrance of a secret camp. Camp Jupiter is a special place for Roman demigods, organized neatly like an ancient Roman army. Percy arrives just in time for some serious warnings from the gods: Gaea the earth goddess is waking and has a force of monsters on the way to attack the camp in just four days. And even worse than that, Thanatos -- who usually guards the gates of death -- is chained in Alaska, where an ancient giant is also awakening. With no one to control death, no monsters will ever die. Can Percy and two new Roman friends, Hazel and Frank, make it to Alaska, free death, and get back in four days? Even for Percy, that's a tall order.

Is it any good?

Readers meet two new heroes here, Hazel and Frank; they're not as lively and fun as Leo and Piper from the first book, but they're even bigger underdogs who really come into their own. 

With the introduction of Jason in the first book in the Heroes of Olympus series, fans of Camp Half-Blood got hints that somewhere, there was another special place for heroes. It's fun to see the differences between the Greek and Roman camps, their war games, and their ways of making predictions about the future (all those poor stuffed animals!). And Frank's big mystery gift is pretty cool.

There are some slow moments during the heroes' travels to Alaska and a few too many detailed flashbacks, but Riordan makes up for it in the final rush for Percy and friends to save the day.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the return of Percy. Is he the same, even with his memory gone? Did you miss him in The Lost Hero? How are Jason (from The Lost Hero) and Percy similar? Different?

  • Talk about what you learned about Greek vs. Roman gods. Were you surprised by all the differences? Were the details hard to follow? Did it make you want to learn more?

  • What makes a fantasy series stand out? Which are your favorites, and why?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

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