House of Hades – Rick Riordan

The penultimate book in the Heroes of Olympus series. I had been waiting to read this book since it came out mid-2013 but it took a while to get a copy from the library so I’ve only just read it. It was worth the wait. As with all of Riordan’s work it’s captivating, jam packed with twists and turns, cliff hangers and of course, mythology. We pick up pretty much straight where we left off in The Mark of Athena, with Percy and Annabeth tragically tumbling down into Tartarus, and the others left with the impossible challenge of having to stop the evil Gaia from rising again and enslaving the world. While we don’t see the culmination of the series in this penultimate book, we still see a heck of a lot of action!

John Martin’s Fallen angels in Hell or is that Tartarus

To be honest I sort of compare Rick’s work with Dan Brown’s. There’s a whole heap of suspense, and this cool sort of mythology, and twists and turns and it’s all very exciting. Are they the best books ever? Probably not. Do I care? Not really. I always have a lot of fun reading these books, and to me that’s the main thing. I don’t think it’s a bad book, it can just become a little predictable in that the heroes go on a journey they find challenges, a particular hero rises to the challenge and learns more about themselves after having being isolated in the group. Or the gods create a seemingly impossible task for the demigods to complete before they help them with their quest, and then of course the demigods rise to the occasion and surprise everyone. Or that they can find a way out of everything.

Even though there’s this sort of repetition, when I’m reading it, I really don’t care at all about it. I’m hooked by them. It’s 500+ pages of wonderful escape, it’s so enthralling, and exhilarating. And I really like learning about the Greek and Roman mythologies in a really fun way. Venturing into Tartarus was really interesting since we certainly haven’t been there before with out journeys with Percy. And I think what Rick does is really creative and clever, and I really like his work.

In terms of the content of the book, well I don’t want to spoil things. The book is a bumpy ride of challenges for the demigods, and we see them face their own demons a bit too. The tension is certainly building towards the finale, The Blood of Olympus, which sounds really ominous. I have to wonder whether Riordan is going to finish Percy’s journey there, or will he live on in yet another series. I sort of hope that Percy’s journey ends there, because he’s had 10 books, and a whole other series seems a little excessive. He’s already written a whole heap of short story spin-offs, so maybe it’s time for Percy’s world to be put to bed. There’s always other tales to tell….

Do other people have a specific author or genre which seems to get a free pass in terms of always enjoying them no matter what? I guess almost a guilty pleasure which nobody can destroy? Cause I think partially mine is definitely this sort of story.

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One response to “House of Hades – Rick Riordan

  1. Kirk

    Honestly, Riordan would be one of those authors for me, too. His books are certainly flawed, yet I do find myself drawn to his books and I like them. I enjoy the adventures and the characters, so I’ll forgive the repetition you mentioned.

    My one exception is The Red Pyramid. That book has so much pointlessness and is so poorly structured I can’t forgive it. It is the worst book I have ever read from him. I think he did make up for it, though, with The Throne of Fire, which was amazing. The pacing, the characterization, the character development, I think it’s the best book I’ve read from him, one of those rare sequels better than the original.

    And it’s funny you posted this today since I just read Chapter 2 of The Last Olympian. It’s amazing how dark and serious it was for him, with only some mild comic relief at the opening. And this shows a great strength of his, which is having humor while still creating a story we can take seriously.

    Another author I will forgive is obviously J.K. Rowling. There are many plotholes I will openly forgive in the Harry Potter books because I like the situations that were created from them so much.

    But here are my ratings for all the Rick Riordan novels I have read:
    The Lightning Thief – 4/5
    The Sea of Monsters – 3/5
    The Titan’s Curse – 3 1/2/5 (was shaping up to be a 5/5, but a weak middle brought it down)
    The Battle of the Labyrinth – 4/5 (most of The Titan’s Curse is better, but The Battle of the Labyrinth’s quality is more consistent)

    The Red Pyramid – 1/5
    The Throne of Fire – 5/5

    Granted, I have of course read only 2 chapters, but so far The Last Olympian could get a 5/5, too.

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