The House of Hades Review

The House of Hades Review

Courtesy of Hyperion Books

Sydney Rogalsky, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Two demigods, a giant, and a Titan named Bob walk into Tartarus. It sounds like the set-up to a joke, doesn’t it? But, nope, it’s just one of the main plotlines in Rick Riordan’s newest installation of the “Heroes of Olympus” series, “The House of Hades.”

The book opens not long after the last one ended, Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase are still in a freefall toward one of the deepest pits of the Underworld, Tartarus. Their friends are all sailing away from Rome on the Argo II headed toward Greece—and some pretty suspenseful adventures along the way.

The novel throws the reader into the action and adventure almost immediately with Hazel Levesque, daughter of Pluto, meeting Hecate, goddess of magic, crossroads, and the Mist. Throughout the book, Hazel must learn to control the Mist and become adept in sorcery in order to defeat her and her brother’s “greatest challenge” at the House of Hades in Greece. The goddess plays a huge role in the story, though her ultimate impact remains to be seen.

From Hazel, we’re immediately thrown into Annabeth’s perspective. Not only will she and Percy go up against monsters they’ve faced in the past, they’ll also discover the consequences of defeating every foe they’ve ever fought. Now, I won’t go into too much detail regarding Annabeth and Percy’s adventures in Tartarus—they’re suspenseful, they’re jaw-dropping, they will keep you on the edge of your seat, I swear it—but let’s just say if you don’t know who I’m talking about when I say “Bob the Titan” you’re going to be wildly confused for most of the novel. I suggest checking out the story where he’s introduced titled “Percy Jackson and the Sword of Hades” from “The Demigod Files.” It’s worth the read, and it will give you insight into many other facets of the world that is Camp Half-Blood.

Frank Zhang, son of Mars, plays a huge role in this installment. He really grows into himself—and I mean that literally, growing three inches in height after one battle. Though struggling with his identity as the son of Mars and dealing with the ramifications of what that truly means, he learns to take on the role of not only a warrior and hero, but also that of a leader. No spoilers, but…zombie army. It’s pretty great.

Leo, Jason, and Piper play much smaller roles in this novel than in previous ones. True, Leo does have quite the adventure: he meets a character most of us thought was lost forever on a deserted island and maybe even falls a little bit in love with her. You’ll squeal in excitement and then I can almost guarantee you’ll cry a little bit in frustration. But it’s okay. It will work out in the end, I’m sure of it.

Old foes resurface, new giants are introduced, once defeated giants rise again, but none of that—and I mean none of it—compares to the introduction of Eros, better known as Cupid, the god of love.

I don’t mean to say that Cupid is a particularly interesting character. True, he’s extremely different from how he is generally perceived, but his involvement would be largely insignificant if not for one small—and I mean hugely ginormous—detail: the introduction of the first queer character in the “Percy Jackson” universe. I won’t say who it is. But it’s a big one. And I was thrilled, ecstatic even, to see that representation in the series I’ve known and loved since I was nine years old. Hey, “Harry Potter” had Dumbledore, it was about time “Percy Jackson” had one, too. And it’s canonically confirmed. We can die happy.

All in all, if you’re a fan of the series, “The House of Hades” is a must read. There’s not a dull moment, not a second to take a breath. It’s the build-up, the rising action to the climax we all know is coming and trust me, it’s gonna be big.

The final installation of the “Heroes of Olympus” series, and probably the last look into Percy Jackson and his friends’ lives can’t come soon enough. So once you’re done with this book, start counting down the days until next October.

“The Blood of Olympus,” here we come.