The Son of Neptune – Rick Riordan
As many of you know, I love everything Percy Jackson, and last Sunday I was privileged to hear author Rick Riordan speak in Olympia Washington at an event promoting the local Timberland Library. He spoke in an outdoor plaza to a crowd of about a thousand avid fans. I was also quite inspired by his ability to motivate the young authors in the crowd. Unfortunately, I was not able to get my copy of ‘The Son of Neptune’ signed, as I didn’t know about the event in advance and didn’t realize that I would need a ticket, but I felt good about the whole event despite that disappointment. Riordan is an extremely funny man; personable and quite humble about his success.
The Son of Neptune opens with Percy Jackson picking up where he left off in ‘The Lost Hero’. In that book, Percy had disappeared, and the tale revolved more around Jason Grace. This tale starts with Percy suffering from Amnesia and being hunted by two gorgons who refuse to stay dead whenever he kills them. All he knows is that he is looking for some one named Annabeth. As he is running from the gorgons he rescues an old bag lady who turns out to be the Roman Goddess Juno. She gives him the choice of remaining where he is and being safe or going to the Roman camp for demi-gods where he must save the gods but could regain his memories. Percy being Percy, he opts for his memories.
The Roman camp is quite different from the Greek Camp Half-blood, and Percy doesn’t know why he feels like everything is all wrong. There are Lares (household gods) and the camp is divided into legions in the same way that the Roman Army was. The military culture of the Romans is alive and well in this camp.
Here is where we meet Hazel, a daughter of Pluto and a girl whose darkest secret is her talent of creating precious metals and jewels spring from the earth comes with a curse for those who find them. We also meet Frank Zhang, a son of Mars and a gifted archer. His golden arrows are very unique, and he too has a dark secret.
Mars sends them off on a quest to Alaska, to rescue Thanatos, guardian of the underworld. During the quest we learn that the ancient Goddess Gaea is plotting to destroy the Gods, and how the demi-gods like Percy are supposed to stop her.
First they travel up the coast, to Portland, Oregon looking for Phineas, and on to Seattle, Washington where they discover that Amazon.com is run by Kindle-reading Amazon Warriors!
Continuing with his third-person narrative as he did in The Lost Hero, Riordan switches perspective from Percy to Hazel and to Frank, giving a well rounded view of what is going on with each character. I felt completely involved with them and learned a lot about Roman Mythology that I had never known. I also discovered that my birthday (which I share with Mercedes Lackey) falls on the Feast of Fortuna, which begins at sundown on the 24th of June.
Riordan neatly answers some of the questions that were raised in the first book, and of course, raises more. I laughed out loud several times, and held my breath as the heroes made their way through the dangers set before them. I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves an epic adventure, epic mythology and likes their epics with a modern twist!