THIS IS A MUST READ! Exciting, unexpected, dark, and complex (keeping the intended age group in mind.)
Riordan writes a story that any child (or adult) can relate to. He has characters from all walk of life, gender, and preference beautifully portrayed working as an effective team in an incredibly entertaining story.
Riordan weaves yet another story better than anything he has written before. The House of Hades contains multiple and intricate plots that are complicated and weave together perfectly. The plot twists and character relationships and development are more exciting and surprising than could have already been expected from one of Riordan’s works. The House of Hades is written appropriately for the intended age group and reads just as well as any adult fiction fantasy novel.
SOME SPOILERS BELOW
Darker writing than the previous novels
The relationship dynamics feel real and connect with readers.
Frank, Leo, Hazel, and Piper characters develop well.
Nico’s plot twist
Beginning felt too similar to previous Riordan Novels
Jason’s character doesn’t develop much.
Barley any Grover
Nico’s plot twist
The first 1/3 of this novel was enjoyable. It reads how you expect a Riordan book to read. I was expecting the entire book to read like this, and would have given it 4 stars. I gave it 5 because I believe the few cons I found look like they will be fixed in the last instalment and are not enough to take away even half a star from a great read.
The rest of the book was filled with twists and unexpected surprises; It deserves 5 stars without a doubt. Old characters are brought back, and not always ones you expect. New gods and creatures emerge as well. Many of the new characters are not ones I would have anticipated. The protagonists and their relationships become complex and connect well with readers. The multiple plot lines twist unexpectedly and come together so fluidly at the end, I am left to wonder if Riordan wrote The entire series from back cover to front cover.
I will be short here, since most readers know what the storyline is about. Percy and Annabeth need to get to one side of the doors of death. The rest of the team has to get to the other side of it, get them out, and save the day.
The story picks up right where the cliff hanger from The Mark of Athena left off. The first four chapters in the POV of Hazel bring us right into the action upon the Argo II and dust off the cobwebs from what we forgot from reading The Mark of Athena. The next few chapters and a few chapters give us the POV of Annabeth, figuratively and literally brushing away the cobwebs of The Mark of Athena and Arachnae.
Annabeth and Percy do the opposite of what instincts would say; they travel as deep as they can into the pits of Tartarus in order to get out. Hazel, Frank, Leo, Piper, Nico, Jason, and Coach Hedge take the Argo II through a typical amount of demigod sidetracks and obstacles to get to the doors of death from the other side in order to save Percy and Annabeth. The odds seem insurmountable, and a prophecy leads them all to believe that some of them will not see the end of this journey.
Riordan writes in the POV of the 7 demigods on the quest. Riordan does an excellent job making each character’s POV unique to their personalities, and at no time did I lose track of what character I was reading. Nico is the only demigod on the Argo II with no chapter written in his POV.
Riordan does an excellent job at being able to depict an intricate scene in only a few sentences. I feel like I can clearly see the movie version of his stories play out in my head as I read.
Riordan adds character depth to all the demigods. Self-reflection is set in between action scenes, but does not feel out of placed or forced. It was always the right amount. The friendships/relationships between demigods also blossom and evolve in ways that felt very natural.
Hazel, Leo, Piper, and Frank all morph from unsure kids into self-confident demigods through the novel. You can feel the conflict and emotion involved in each of their internal struggles and I felt like any reader could relate to their problems on some level.
Frank is forced into the role of hero and leader a few times, and has to make the decision to leave the awkward, bumbling Frank in the past and become a savior for much of the demigod team. It was a breath of fresh air to see a new leader emerge, since the obvious candidates were Jason and Percy.
Hazel and Piper both take on struggles of developing their true powers. They become friends and help each other develop their weaknesses into strengths. Both of them hone in and perfect their demigod abilities. They both become assets to the team success and transform throughout the novel.
Nico’s development was the only one that truly shocked me and I did not see it coming (look elsewhere for this spoiler.) I worried that it might be an overplayed or misplayed topic, but Riordan did not over or underuse this topic. It, again, felt very natural and fit into the story. Nico’s part could have been written in a more standard view and it would not have changed the story, but I like that Riordan added this depth to a character in one of his stories. I hope Nico develops more in the last novel, and I believe he will with the responsibility he took on in the end.
Leo seemed to have the greatest change. He went from boy to man from beginning to end. He finds love in someone other than Hazel, and it seems like it brought his head and heart to peace. The change in Leo ends up bringing him closer to Hazel and frank. This love strengthens Leo’s resolve, and helps create a great side plot to return to in the last novel.
Percy, Annabeth little individual development, but their relationship flourishes. Percy and Annabeth have been strong characters throughout two series, so they don’t need as much depth. The reader really gets to see their relationship hit that level where they have the utmost care and confidence in each other. The journey through Tartarus really brings out there connection to each other. It is amazing to look back on the independent Annabeth and misguided Percy from their very first debut; now they both seem to be halves of one whole relying on each other’s strength and calmness to push on, even when their journey seemed hopeless at every turn.
Jason makes a decision toward the end that helps him understand himself better. He was more sure of himself in previous novels. Other characters comment how they cannot get a read on him as well. I have to assume this is intended for some purpose in the last installment. I wish there was a little more of him in this novel.
Coach Hedge is the same belligerent Coach Hedge I love, but gets a little softness around the edges. It was nice to see him change a little as well.
Bummer! Reyna was only in a chapter here or there. Octavian, and Rachel dare made minimal appearances. Worst of all is Grover was seen once! And by a character other than Percy. If Percy dies, Grover dies due to their connection. Percy was practically dead the whole book, I figured Grover would have been involved more.
A five star read!!! It is what you expect from Riordan, plus a little bit more. This is Riordan’s best work to date.
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