I finished out my read of Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series just before the end of the year with The Blood of Olympus, fifth and final book. It was dramatic and exciting and a good conclusion to the series…if not quite everything I might have hoped for.
The waking of Gaea, the terrifying Mother Earth, has been drawing closer and closer throughout the series and now is only days away. Most of our (several) heroes are aboard the flying Argo II, heading towards the Parthenon, site of Gaea’s waking, fighting monsters and questing for the ingredients of the Physician’s Cure along the way. Meanwhile, the motley band of Reyna (Roman praetor), Nico (antisocial son of Hades) and Coach Hedge (war-mongering satyr) are trying to deliver a giant, ancient statue of Athena to Camp Half-Blood in time to prevent a war between the Greek and Roman demigods.
Everything that was here was good, and my biggest disappointment was what wasn’t here. Namely, anything from Percy or Annabeth’s point of view, because they’re my favorites. I actually flipped through when I was somewhere near the beginning to see what the POVs were going to be—and it turns out to be Jason, Piper, Nico, Reyna and Leo. To be fair, Percy and Annabeth got a lot of play in the last three books, especially 2 and 4, and there is a certain appropriateness to returning to Jason, Piper and Leo in the final book, when they were the focus of book 1…but I like Percy and Annabeth. And don’t get me wrong, they are here…but not the primary focus this time around.
I also realized that Jason and Piper just don’t really do it for me. I liked them well enough in the very first book, but then…we never really grew closer with the series the way the others did. They’re perfectly fine characters…but fine is not a great adjective, and with four other demigods aboard the Argo II as potential POVs…well, I wouldn’t have chosen these two. They tell a pretty exciting story, but it’s not strong on a character level.
However—I do enjoy Leo quite a lot, the funny man hiding his insecurities, and also his possibly doomed crush on Calypso, trapped on some distant, unchartable island. So I had fun with Leo’s portions of the story.
And Nico and Reyna were a nice addition too. We’ve spent a lot of time with the heroes on the Argo II (three books now), and it was good to get some new perspectives with Reyna and Nico. They both have dark challenges in their pasts, and more to overcome than the Argo II heroes (who did their character growth in the previous books).
As Riordan’s books always are, this was full of snarky one-liners and battles with monsters of mythology (sometimes at the same time). Lots of exciting and climactic moments, though Riordan did exhibit an annoying habit of cliffhangers, and switching to another plot thread while we were hanging. Which wouldn’t have been so bad, except I tended to forget what was going on by the time we got back to the cliffhanger’s resolution (though to be fair, this might not have been Riordan’s fault—I was listening on audiobook to another novel doing the exact same thing while reading this book, and the combination may have been slightly overwhelming).
I feel like this is a somewhat unenthusiastic review, but it really was a good read. Not my favorite of the series, but a good book to end a really great series! My favorite new series of the year, in fact.
Author’s Site: http://www.rickriordan.com/
Buy it here: The Blood of Olympus