The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

I re-read The Lost Hero (well, I listened to it on audiobook), and I am so amazed at Riordan’s ability to modernize myths, expand the scope of his own story, and create diverse characters who are deeply troubled and funny.  All this in a “children’s” book.

I was able to enjoy the story more immediately this time through.  When it first came out, I was so confused and annoyed that Percy Jackson wasn’t narrating the story.  In fact, he was nowhere to be found!  But since I’ve read the rest of the series, and I’ve learned to love Jason, Piper, and Leo, I really enjoyed re-reading their first adventure.

I mean what I said above, about Riordan’s remarkable ability to create diverse characters.  The three narrators of The Lost Hero are a white male (aka stereotypical hero), but then we change perspectives and get to be in the head of a Hispanic male and a Native American female!  Jason struggles with identity issues relating to his loss of memory, Leo struggles with identity issues relating to his potentially destructive power, and Piper struggles with identity issues of wanting to be valued for more than beauty and fame.  In other words, they are total human, unsure of who they are or if they’re good.

Piper is especially impressive to me, since Riordan manages to delve into distinctly female-centric topics such as beauty, body positivity, and romance.  I loved what he did with her character, adding depth to the conversation that most authors miss.  Although Piper is initially hesitant to express her beauty, afraid that it will diminish her in the eyes of others, she learns that beauty has a power of its own.  But Riordan doesn’t stop there, granting women the “right” to be beautiful.  Instead, he validates and encourages her stereotypically feminine power while also giving her a bunch of other skills.  She learns to fight with a dagger, speak persuasively, and make difficult decisions in times of stress.

I’m going to continue listening to The Heroes of Olympus series, and I cannot wait to get back to Percy, Hazel, and Frank (and eventually Annabeth, who is my favorite!).

The_Lost_Hero_210Book Jacket

Jason has a problem.
He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper, and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?

Piper has a secret.
Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare about his being in trouble. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits during the school trip, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.

Leo has a way with tools.
When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about, and some camper who;s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god. Does this have anything to do with Jason’s amnesia, or the fact that Leo keeps seeing ghosts?

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