The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan: Series Review

I’ve spoken briefly about how Rick Riordan’s middle grade series Percy Jackson and the Olympians basically defined my entire career trajectory before, but its sequel young adult series The Heroes of Olympus also punctuated my university years as I worked to get to where I am now, the tail end of a degree in publishing. So for Imaginary Misadventure’s first series review, I invite you to relive the magic and mayhem (and frustration, maybe?) of the semi-recently-concluded Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan.


The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
Young adult, contemporary, fantasy, myth
October 2010; Puffin
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Three new heroes. One missing demigod. 
A curse that threatens to destroy them all...

It's a testament to Riordan's excellence in plotting a compelling adventure and constructing intriguing mythology that The Lost Hero isn't immediately ruined by Percy's absence. I'm still secretly disappointed that Annabeth isn't a more prominent character but that's more because I'm obsessed with her rather than any judgement on the actual plot, new characters or developing Greco-Roman mythology of the book, all of which are very well done. The new kids come laden with intriguing backstories, and we have a new model of female hero in Piper, daughter of Aphrodite, whose power lies in her voice, charm and kindness. Although I did miss Percy, The Lost Hero is a sparkling series debut.



The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
Young adult, contemporary, fantasy, myth
October 2011; Puffin
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One cursed demigod. Two new heroes. 
A quest to unleash the God of Death...

With Percy's return comes the charismatic, snarky narrative voice that endeared him to us all in the original series, and the new additions to the hero ranks, Frank and Hazel came with their own secrets and charms. The mechanics of how Riordan has fit together the Greek and Roman aspects of the Greco-Roman mythic world start to come together in this book. As always, the narrative voice is entertaining, the plot tight and the mythology captivating.


The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
Young adult, contemporary, fantasy, myth
October 2012; Puffin
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One fatal prophecy. Seven brave demigods. 
A quest to find - and close - the Doors of Death. 

My only complaint about The Mark of Athena is that Annabeth isn't on the cover (wtf, Puffin?) The gang is all together and it's refreshing that out of the seven, four are specified as being people of colour. The dynamics are to die for, especially between reluctant baby alpha males Percy and Jason. And you don't want me to start screeching about the Percy/Annabeth dynamics in this novel, because we'll be here all night. Let's just say this: Percabeth is a feminist relationship, y'all, and this book demonstrates it with such perfection that I want to yell it from the rooftops. Be warned though, there's one hell of a cliffhanger. You'll want The House of Hades close by.


The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
Young adult, contemporary, fantasy, myth
October 2013; Puffin
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A thousand deadly enemies monsters. 
Three battling demigods. 
One fatal decision. 

This hefty brick of a novel had all the gravity of a series finale. Just about everyone is hit with a character development sledge hammer in this book. We spend a significant amount of time with Annabeth and Percy, alone, together, which I loved as a huge fan of their individual characters and their relationship. Hazel and Piper come into their own as heroes, and I could write an epic poem about my feelings about their developing friendship. An old friend from the original series is thrust into the spotlight in a more significant way than we've seen so far, with a welcome revelation that makes me sure that Riordan took criticism of the lack of diversity in the original series on board.


The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Young adult, contemporary, fantasy, myth
October 2014; Puffin
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I had so many hopes for The Blood of Olympus. We know Rick Riordan can deliver a hella satisfying series conclusion because the stupendous final Percy Jackson book, The Last Olympian, tied up all the loose ends, left enough questions unanswered for a sequel series not to be unwelcome or unnecessary, and was basically just excellent in every way, with all the narrative weight and drive that a series finale needs. (I really, really love The Last Olympian.)

There were excellent things about The Blood of Olympus, and not-excellent things. The narrative momentum was good, but characterisation, especially Percy's, was subpar, and the final showdown was lacking the gravity of the end of the previous book. The saving graces were Nico, darling Nico, and his adventures with the fierce, fabulous Reyna, and the girls. The Blood of Olympus was essentially girls getting things done and boys coming along for the ride. I guest-reviewed The Blood of Olympus last year here on Elspeth la Morte's blog Quiet Worlds, if you're interested in more of my thoughts on the conclusion to the series.

Ultimately, I give the Heroes of Olympus series a generous five stars. Even the things that disappointed me in The Blood of Olympus can't mar my love for this spellbinding series.


WHO HAS READ THE HEROES OF OLYMPUS? Pls talk to me about it because it's so close to my heart and writing this review has reminded how much. (I also have an overwhelming desire to reread the whole series, now! I haven't in, like, a couple of months!) 

But also, have you ever been disappointed by the final book in a series? Does it ruin the series for you or can you still enjoy the previous books? Do you just pretend it never happened? 
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6 comments

  1. Wow, 5 stars for the whole series? That's really high praise! I tried the first book of the original one because so many has recommended it, but I couldn't get into it. They did say that it will get better though, so I'm mustering enough will power and motivation to go through the first book again. Honestly, I just want to finish it so I can start the spin off! Haha.

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. Oh do persist with the original series! I love it so! The final book, The Last Olympian, in particular is spectacular. It has a charming narrator and the way Riordan uses mythology for the purpose of his narrative is really interesting and entertaining. Plus, then you can have the glory of The Mark of Athena when you get into the Heroes of Olympus series! :D

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  2. Well, I haven't read this series. I enjoyed the original, despite having some issues with it; but this review was REALLY good, and definitely made me want to give the Heroes of Olympus a go! Thanks so much for sharing! :D

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    1. Reeeeeeaaddddd itttt, rrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaadddddddd iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttttttt! And thanks, it was fun! It definitely made me want to go reread the whole series! (Which I do annually, BECAUSE IT'S JUST SO GOOD)

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  3. I absolutely LOVED Percy Jackson, one of the best series I've read. Ever! I haven't started the spin off series yet, despite them all sitting on my shelf screaming READ ME!

    When it comes to finales, I think I now expect to be disappointed. There's been so many YA titles that have ended badly or failed to deliver a complete ending. I have no doubt that I'll adore this series just as much as Percy, now I just need to find the time to read them <3

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    1. You muuuuust. Despite my criticisms of the last book, it's a fabulous series. I haven't reread the series since the last book came out - I probably will at some point this year... it'll be interesting to see how I respond to the series now, knowing that I don't love the final book. Do let me know when you get to them :) <3

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