The Son of Neptune is the second book in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series, released here in the Philippines with relatively little fanfare last October 4, 2011.
Camp Jupiter finds itself reluctantly welcoming in Percy Jackson, a 16-year-old amnesiac demigod under Juno’s protection. He’s trained though, in a style that no one’s ever seen before. He meets Hazel and Frank and joins them in the Fifth Cohort AKA the “loser cohort”. They’re sent on a quest to release Thanatos, or Death. Freeing him is a must, as with him chained, no one stays dead, including the monsters that keep on coming back instead of staying dead. And guess who now controls the Doors of Death? Yep, Gaea. The three of them travel to Alaska, the land beyond the gods, to free Thanatos, retrieve the Roman eagle standard, and maybe save the world along the way.
The book is okay overall though I’m not certain I’m going to buy a physical copy anytime soon (I read the Kindle version).
RANKING: 3.5/5 (serviceable but not as good as TLH)
I liked how he described Camp Jupiter. I’m not that familiar with Roman mythology and history compared to Greek so I appreciated the background information.
The action in SON comes hard and fast, with the book taking place over only a week. Percy is the veteran this time around and it shows. Even with his memory gone, he’s every inch a leader and a warrior. Hazel and Frank are decent characters and get to do some cool things too.
I love Iris and her R.O.F.L.! It was good to see minor gods getting more attention.
The not-so-good (SPOILER WARNING!):
Amazon is run by actual Amazons. My face: @_@. I don’t know if Riordan was kidding or trolling or was perfectly serious. I suppose it was too good a joke to pass up.
Even though each chapter title is the name of a character (same with The Lost Hero), The Son of Neptune is the first book in the PJO/HOO universe written in the third person. (The chapter title just tells you who the main focus is for that chapter.) I didn’t like it. Sure the rapid shift in point-of-views was jarring at times, but one of the things that made PJO and TLH interesting was the characters’ distinctive internal dialogue. With SON, the characters’ “voices” were lost and the chapters just blended together.
(Edit: Sorry, The Lost Hero was also written in the third person. My bad. So in this case, Riordan failed to give Hazel and Frank distinctive “voices” but succeeded with Jason, Piper, and Leo.)
I don’t like what Riordan is doing with the new demigods. Is it just me, or is Riordan developing the new characters at the expense of the old ones? For one thing, the new guys are all superpowered. So Jason can fly. I can accept that because he’s a kid of Zeus. I’ll even excuse the description in TLH that there’s “nothing to be improved” because it was Piper’s POV. But a shapeshifter descended from both Poseidon and Mars? A resurrected daughter of Pluto that can control precious metals and jewels? Riordan’s making it look like these new demigods are The Chosen Ones only because of their extra-special abilities. He also constantly tells us that these new demigods are OMFGawesome but rarely shows us why they’re so awesome. I like Hazel – she’s a nice enough girl. But what annoyed me to no end was her being the only warrior “worthy” of a magical horse when she’d done nothing significant prior to owning said horse. How can she be the “greatest female warrior” when she needs to partner up with a magical horse in order to be great? Please. I nominate Annabeth I-will-shank-you-if-you-mess-with-me Chase or Clarisse “Drakonslayer” La Rue for that title.
Third: I do NOT like where the Hazel/Frank/Leo love triangle is heading. I’m thinking that Leo Valdez is Sammy Valdez reborn, Hazel can’t get over it, Frank worries that he’ll lose Hazel, and Leo doesn’t know where he fits into this. For the icing on the cake, Leo suddenly gets his Sammy-memories back and realizes that he’s in love with Hazel. *facepalm* DON’T EVEN GO THERE. No. Just NO.
(Edit: there’s some speculation that Leo could be Sammy Valdez’ grandson. That never even occurred to me. I much prefer this scenario over Leo being Sammy’s reincarnation and not just because I want to avoid the drama that comes with it. Leo’s a great character on his own. Making him Sammy’s reincarnation will lessen his greatness somehow.)
And can I just say this? My boy Nico diAngelo got shafted again.