Sunday, November 10, 2013

Book Review: The House of Hades by Rick Riordan (Heroes of Olympus #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters in an intriguing plot
Cons: None for me
The Bottom Line:
The quest continues
Will demigods meet again
Despite the huge odds

Can They Close the Doors of Death?

I got frustrated with the last book in the Heroes of Olympus series because it seemed many of the events of the story were just there to pad the page count.  And when it book is over 550 pages, that’s a bad thing.  It ended with a pretty big cliffhanger, however, so I was anxious to pick up The House of Hades as soon as I could get my hands on a copy.  I’m happy to report it is back to Rick Riordan’s top form.

If you haven’t followed this series, it is a follow up to the Percy Jackson and the Olympian’s series.  Percy, Annabeth, and a new series of demigods are facing an even greater foe, and their god parents are even less able to help.  As the last book ended, Percy and Annabeth fell down a giant hole into the center of the earth.

Percy and Annabeth have landed in Tartarus.  This is the part of the underworld where the monsters are reforming to come back on Earth to join Gaea in her battle to overthrow the gods.  This is a great opportunity to close the Doors of Death and keep the monsters from regenerating.  However, Tartarus is not at all hospitable to mortals, and even these demigods might not survive the journey.

Meanwhile, their friends aboard the Argo II are trying to make their way to Greece so that in Percy and Annabeth survive they can help them close the doors on this side and return to the land of the living.  However, their journey continues to be difficult.  Will they make it in time?

This book is almost 600 pages long, so it is still an epic tome.  However, the various plot complications that the characters run across contribute something to the overall story that we are reading.  Unlike the last book where I could have easily cut 200 pages, this time we need everything that happens for the great story.

And it is a great story.  I was always pulled into this world and never wanted to put the book down.  When I did reach the climax, I was rushing to finish because I had to know what would happen next.  I might have even shed a few tears, too, but we won’t talk about that.

As with the other books in the series, this book is told from the point of view of various characters.  In fact, we get four chapters of what is happening on the Argo II and four chapters of Tartarus.  At some point, all seven of the demigods who officially left on this quest at the beginning of the previous book get a chance to be our viewpoint character, and that means all of them get some nice development here.  Even Percy and Annabeth, who we know the best, are further developed here.  I already liked these character, but I love them better now.

There are some other characters in this book who get some nice development, most noticeably Nico, a demigod we rescued in the last book.  He has a large group of fans, and they’ll be happy to hear he gets developed nicely even if we never see the story from his point of view.  There are another couple characters who are around long enough that we truly care about them as well.

And then there’s the humor.  Despite the overwhelming odds these characters regularly face, there is a streak of humor running through the narration that I just love.  In fact, I was grinning at many of these lines as I read through the book.

Obviously, I loved it and now I’m anxiously waiting for the final book in the series to come out next fall.  You’ll definitely want to take the journey to The House of Hades before then to be ready for what I’m sure will be an epic finale.

Here is a listing of both series in the complete Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus sagas in order.

This book is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.  Stop by Shannon Messenger's blog to read the other entries.


  1. My daughter has been really interested in the first book of this series. Maybe I'll have to give them a try too. Thanks fr sharing your thoughts.

    1. This is really the second series with these characters. You need to start with Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and read all of that series before starting this series. It is worth it.

  2. i'm starting my Dad on these books!! i really like these books and would recomend them to anyone!