Thursday, March 13, 2014

House of Hades: Rick Riordan

Rating: 9.5/10  
Series: Heroes of Olympus #4
Genre: Middle Grade, Greek Mythology, Roman Mythology, Publication Date: October 8, 2014  
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Page Count: 583  
Format: Hardback Copy borrowed from friend  

Goodreads Synopsis: At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.

Drumroll for dramatic effect!!!

My very first March Madness Reads and Control Your TBR Pile book; The House of Hades by Rick Riordan. I was extremely hesitant with this book because I HATED The Mark of Athena. I'm bracing myself for a mog of angry fans. The Son of Neptune was and still is one of the best book of my childhood and nothing can live up to it. While HoH wasn't quite as good, it lived up to and most definitely surpassed my expectations. I've grown up with Rick Riordan's hilarious narration, and after my reading slump in January, I welcomed the sense of familiarity with open arms. HoH could have very easily been a filler book. It was one of those Rick-Riordan-lots-of-action-but-nothing-huge kinda books. Anyway, just warning you that this review might be on the longer and rambly side than my usual just because it is such a big book and because I have so much to say about it.

*By the way, if you saw this review pop up on Monday incomplete, the reason is that I had had it scheduled, but never ended up finishing the review*
*There are unavoidable spoilers for the rest of the series, so if you aren't caught up on it yet, you have been forewarned*

Plot & Characters 10/10: The characters and plot of The House of Hades is impeccable. There isn't a single dull moment in the entire book (unlike The Mark of Athena), and the characters a real role models for kids ages 8 and up everywhere. When I started Percy Jackson, I was certain the series was Middle Grade. In the House of Hades, I think Uncle Rick might have started writing Young Adult Fiction. I would love to know your opinion because I truly can't figure it out. There were words I didn't know. That NEVER happened in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. I also think that Rick Riordan has immensely improved his writing technique in nearly a decade since the first book came out. The plot has intensified and certainly become mind-boggling. The characters relationships have become more complex, and everything else has just become bigger and better.
Romance 8/10:
"If there is so much romance, then how is it appealing to 4th grade boys?"---My mother
The reason she said this was because I blew every single romantic word way out of proportion and wouldn't stop talking about my OTPs and ships. I'm going to try to make this as brief as possible, but I am a huge fan of all the couples. *spoiler alert for romance only* *I sound like an immature 11 year old in this section because of all the glorious ships*

Leo+Calypso: They are an amazing couple and my totally new OTP. All the fanfictions said Leo+Reyna (horrible combination in my humble opinion), but I NEVER would have thought of the two of them and I am so glad Riordan was smarter than me and made them a couple. Calypso's curse is to fall in love with every man that lands on Ogygia, and then he will break her heart. She never thought that would be possible with Leo because he destroyed her dining table (long story), but she ended up falling head over heels in love and Leo became a new (if not still scrawny) man.

Hazel+Frank: I can't tell you how much I love them and think they look so cute together. The age gap is definitely debatable, but I don't care. Frank is so adorably insecure when it comes to Hazel, even though with his looks, he could be a huge egomaniac. Hazel is the most valiant and loyal girlfriend ever and the two of them are like peanut butter and jelly on kalamata olive bread (my favorite sandwich)

Jason+Piper: I hate them. Point blank, they are one of the worst couples ever. If Jason hadn't mistreated Reyna, I would have told him to dump Piper for her any day of the week. Jason is so powerful and superior in attitude, and Piper is so....useless. She goes through some major security issues, and thinks she's worthless, everyone always assures her that's she's not...but I disagree.

Percy+Annabeth: They were so cute in The Last Olympian. They were an OTP even bigger than Ron and Hermione or Harry and Ginny. I remember in 2009 squealing to my mom how Annabeth kissed Percy in The Battle of the Labyrinth. There isn't much to say except for "Keep up the good work, and I hope you survive in The Blood of Olympus!"

I love Reyna so much and think that she NEEDS to get together with someone that isn't Jason of Percy, but someone just as good that will truly love her. Maybe in Camp Halfblood?
Originality 10/10:
This is a story. 
About seven teenagers that are children of Greek and Roman GODS.
They go on quests in order to save the world.
They try to prevent mother earth from awakening.

 If that isn't original, I'm not quite sure where society has gone.
Cover & Title 5/10: You would expect with these kind of books (as wide-spread and known as they are), that the titles would be a little more creative. Instead, they're very standard and kind of formulaic. The House of Hades just didn't let you forget that the remaining 5 were going to the OMG -I never would have guessed- House of Hades. The cover was awesome and everything...but at the same time it wasn't the best scene the artist/designer could have chosen, especially the maroon/violet color scheme.
Feels 8.75/10: I will explain later in the QUOTES section of the review that HoH had me literally LOL-ing. Besides that, the book had a ton of suspense, thrills, and the emotions were just too overwhelming for my delicate system.
Writing Style 7/10: As you might know, the beginning of each chapter, there is a name over the chapter which tells you who the chapter is being told by, even thought The Heroes of Olympus is written is in third person. So for example, lets say Hazel was going to explain her past and have a flashback. This would obviously happen, and the information would be revealed with a chapter having the word HAZEL over it. I am amazed with how Rick pulls this off, but he does. Not one. Not two. Not three. But SEVEN Point of Views. If you didn't already think he was a god of writing for churning out a 500+ page novel every 12 months, then I think this should convince you. He makes each character unique, likable (except for Piper), and amazing in their own ways.
Pacing 8.75/10: I will admit, I get kind of terrified of Chunksters. And yes, The Heroes of Olympus series are all chunksters. They might be very light reads, but I still get scared. I don't know how the hec Rick Riordan did this, but he kept my interest the entire time. My only complaint isn't actually a complaint about his writing, but every time the POV (so to speak, since it was in third person the entire time) changed, I felt very sad that it ended, and wanted to go back and find out what happened. Riordan left us with mini-cliffhangers at the end of each POV change WITHOUT the book starting to sound like The Maze Runner by James Dashner. That's a whole other story, in of and itself (I can't spell), but Dashner kept trying to end each chapter with us looking like the scream.

Ending 7.5/10: I loved the ending...don't get me wrong, this isn't the part of the review where I say "I loved the book, but the ending ruined everything for me." The ending was merely the location where I realized that the entire HoH was a 'filler' book. The Lost Hero established everything in the series. The Son of Neptune told us everything about the Roman camp. The Mark of Athena was where the seven demigods were together. The House of Hades was the launching pad, and the prep work for The Blood of Olympus. Think of it as TLH being the blueprints of a skyscraper, TSON is the foundation being built, TMOA is the rest of the building being built, and THOH is all of the interior being built. The Blood of Olympus is where we are all going to step back and say, "Wow, we have worked so hard on this skyscraper, and now it's done and it's amazing." At least, that's what Rick Riordan will be saying. Anyhow, point in case, I loved the ending, but I felt very unsatisfied and am PRAYING that October comes sooner. 
Quotes 6/10: Rick Riordan is no John Green or Matthew Quick, so there aren't any quotes that had me reeling at their wisdom, but there were ones that had me laughing out loud. I'm going to say that I never laugh out loud, when I first heard the term LOL, I thought "who actually does that". If there's any phrase that applies here, it is LOL. I actually got some weird looks from my friends when I laughed. They were so hilarious, witty, and helped the story perfectly. 
Continuation 100%: I swear I never talk like this but, Hec to yeah I am reading and pre-ordering The Blood of Olympus. Then, I will pull an all-nighter and finish the book on the 8th of October. There is always the risk that the book won't live up to people's expectations and standards, but I am just so re-pumped for the release and a little nostalgic because I have been following Percy Jackson and his journey for over 5 years now. My mom had said the other day, "Why is Celina [my friend] reading The House of Hades? She's like in 9th grade, isn't it a little young for her?" You can bet I had to resist the urge to slap her (sorry mom if you're reading this) because it doesn't matter if you're in 9th grade or if you're 90. Rick Riordan's books have become modern classic works of literature (is that a thing?) that you can totally read no matter what your age is.

Conclusion: I was the last kid on the block to read this, and most certainly don't regret it. Rick Riordan has spun a wonderful story more complicated and intertwined than Arachne's web with adorable relationships, bits of mythlology, history, and a hec of a good time.

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