Thursday, April 17, 2014

"The House of Hades" by Rick Riordan

Age: Middle Grade
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

In the fifth installment of the Heroes of Olympus series, we find Percy and Annabeth making the deadly journey through Tartarus while their friends fight monsters across the Mediterranean Sea and surrounding lands.  Both teams are on their way to the doors of death at the House of Hades. The doors must be closed both above and below ground to slow the flow of monsters into the mortal world. While on their separate journeys, each one of the seven demigods (plus Nico) faces new challenges and must learn to use his or her powers in more advanced ways.

Though I enjoy reading this series, each successive book feels more and more overwritten. Part of the problem is the large cast of characters: besides the seven main demigods on the journey (who take turns narrating the book), there are two camps full of people, the gods (in both their Roman and Greek forms – which I will admit I can’t keep straight), and all the various monsters and spirits they encounter. No wonder the books keep getting longer. And do the heroes really need to encounter so many problems along the way? I feel like Riordan is just trying to cram in as much mythology as possible, whether it is necessary to advance the story or not. This bothers me. Also, the heroes seem to use the same tricks to defeat their enemies again and again and it is getting predictable. Such as when someone refuses to help them and they taunt him/her by saying he/she isn’t powerful enough to do what they need until hubris takes over and the God/demon/whatever does exactly what the heroes want. I mean really, is this trick going to work every time they try it? According to the author, it will. So though I read the entire book, I am hoping that the next book is a tighter story with fewer new characters to try to follow.

Riordan, Rick. The House of Hades. Disney Hyperion, 2013.