The Heroes of Olympus: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (2011)

Percy nodded. “Who is Gaea, anyway?”
Hazel’s mouth went dry. Just hearing that name… It was all she could do to keep her knees from buckling. She remembered a woman’s soft sleepy voice, a glowing cave, and feeling her lungs fill with black oil.
“She’s the earth goddess.” Nico glanced at the ground as if it might be listening. “The oldest goddess of all. She’s in a deep sleep most of the time, but she hates the gods and their children.”
“Mother Earth… is evil?” Percy asked.
“Very,” Nico said gravely (p 63).

sonofneptuneukPercy Jackson has spent months with Lupa, the she-wolf. Bereft of his memory, he has been retrained and sent forth to find Camp Jupiter – Camp Half-Blood’s Roman counterpart. Along the way, he is dogged by two gorgons, Euryale and Stheno. Their ability to reform so quickly after being killed puzzles and exhausts Percy.

Finally, he reaches the entrance to Camp Jupiter, and with the help of two campers, Frank and Hazel, and a goddess in disguise, he makes it safely across their border. Juno reveals Percy’s parentage and charges him with a quest: Free Death. Thanatos, Pluto’s right-hand man, has been bound by the jeweled giant Alcyoneus in Alaska, the land beyond the gods. The Doors of Death are controlled by Gaea; her servants reborn again and again.

The Son of Neptune introduces two new, highly-enjoyable characters, Hazel and Frank. Hazel is Pluto’s daughter, a compassionate girl suffering under a curse and a secret. Frank isn’t especially proud of his father, Mars, but his mother descends from a proud and gifted line that can be traced back to the Argonauts. Both will prove invaluable to Percy as the three make their way to the frozen north.
Predictably, the book ends with Jason Grace and the Greek force arriving to unite with Percy and his Roman force. Juno’s efforts to united all demigods has succeeded. Whether the gods, lead by a proud Jupiter, will unite with the demigods to defeat the powerful Gaea is yet to be seen.

Readers will enjoy Riordan’s humorous prose, solid character development, colorful friends and foes, and well-paced action. There are some shocking revelations and some cliff-hangers that have excited much anticipation in this reader.

Read other reviews:
Roof Beam Reader

Library copy | October 4, 2011 | Disney Hyperion Books | 544 pages | Ages 9-16 | ISBN 978-1423140597 | $19.99

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