If you like a good cliff-hanger, then Rick Riordan is the author for you. In fact, the dedication of The House of Hades reads, “To my wonderful readers: Sorry about that last cliff-hanger. Well, no, not really. HAHAHAHA. But seriously, I love you guys.” The House of Hades, the fourth book in The Heroes of Olympus series, picks up right where the third book, The Mark of Athena, leaves us hanging, with Percy and Annabeth stuck in Tartarus trying to get to the Doors of Death while Jason, Leo, Nico, Hazel, and Frank sail the Argo II to Epirus to find the other side of the Doors of Death. If you have no idea what I am talking about, stop reading this blog right now and go read all the books leading up to this one because this is definitely a series that has to be read in order beginning with with the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and continuing with the Heroes of Olympus series.
If you’re still reading I assume you have read all the preceding books and know the gist of what is going on: Gaea is waking and seven demigods from Camp Halfblood and Camp Jupiter are on a quest to find and seal the doors of death and stop Gaea from waking. In the last book, shortly after finding and rescuing the Athena Parthenos, Annabeth and Percy fall into Tartarus, the place where Titans, giants, and monsters go after being killed to regenerate. House of Hades finds the two trying to make their way through Tartarus to find the Doors of Death while avoiding being killed by empousi, giants, telkines, Titans, and various other Gaea supporters who would relish the opportunity to kill the great Percy Jackson (who, by the way, is the very one who sent many of them to Tartarus in the first place). As Percy and Annabeth fight their way through Tartarus, their friends above in the mortal world are facing their own battles including poisonous cow monsters, mischievous dwarves, and a few Titans, gods, and goddesses who have their own agendas in mind. All of them are in a race against time to find and permanently destroy the Doors of Death that have been allowing the slain monsters to regenerate and return to the mortal world to wreak havoc. Will the group be able to find the doors before Gaea wakes?
Riordan is a master at tongue-in-cheek humor. His outlandish descriptions of the characters spark vivid images in the reader’s imagination and puts a new, modern twist of Greek mythology (my favorite of this book are of the two wildly dressed thieving dwarves, Passalos and Akmon). As in all the previous books, chapters are told from different characters’ points of view so you get to see the story from all angles and all perspectives. Many of the demigods have individual experiences during this voyage that cause them to grow into themselves and their abilities. Just as Mark of Athena left readers desperately counting down the days until the release of the next installment in the series, House of Hades does the same thing.Part of the quest has been completed, but there are still two wars to stop; one between the two demigod camps and one between the gods of Olympus and Gaea and her forces. Readers will have to wait until October of 2014 to read Blood of Olympus to see if Riordan brings us to a satisfying conclusion or keeps us hanging again. My hope is that he keeps us hanging for many more installments.
If you want to learn more about Rick Riordan and his books, check out his web site http://www.rickriordan.com/home.aspx.