Warning: the synopsis may contain spoilers for those of you who haven’t read the series. I have tried to keep my review of this novel spoiler-free as to not ruin the plot or the novel’s events for anyone.
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.
It’s very rare that a book grabs my attention right away, within the first few pages, and holds me there for a couple of hours as I turn the pages and lose track of how much time has passed. House of Hades, the fourth installment of Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series is one such book. This book starts off with a bang and keeps going rapid-fire through until the very end.
One thing I can genuinely commend Riordan on is the way he makes us care for the well-being of each of the seven (well, eight) demigods that are involved in this adventure. Through each of their trials, tribulation, and epic personal revelations we learn a little bit more about these characters and they feel that much more like real people.
Since I began reading this series, I have tried to pick out one demigod who I like or relate to the most, but Riordan has made it impossible to pick just one. I love Leo, the goofy oddball who often finds himself “the seventh wheel” in the group, as the other members have all paired off with one another. But then there’s Hazel, a girl pulled from another time, who has uncanny abilities, a wonderful heart, and who is an unbelievably strong character. Riordan has written a book full of strong characters that you can’t help but love.
While House of Hades is a long book (at almost 600 pages) it didn’t feel long at all. It had wonderful pacing with twists, turns, and monsters around every corner. We are this epic voyage through the eyes of each demigod as they put the pieces together of what needs to be done to finish their epic quest. There was enough action, drama, and even some romance to keep the plot moving and both male and female readers interested. My only complaint was that sometimes there was so much going on, that I forgot what the other characters were doing in the meantime, making it slightly difficult to keep track when it switched back to those character’s perspectives.
One thing is for certain, Rick Riordan’s books and epic tales keep getting more and more intriguing, making it hard to adjust to other books that don’t take place in this beautiful, terrifying, and fantastical world. House of Hades definitely wins the “Epic Book Hangover Award” for winter 2014. I highly recommend this series and this book for people who love mythology, or any of Riordan’s other series (The Percy Jackson series or The Kane Chronicles).