Wednesday 11 March 2015

Book Review - House of Hades

House of Hades
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Heroes of Olympus #4
Genres: Mythology, Urban Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 8th October 2013
Publishers: Puffin
No. Pages: 608
Source: Borrowed
At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus. Will any of them make it home alive?

The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

So far, Heroes of Olympus had been a consistently enjoyable series; I was loving the characters, enjoying the action and as usual, appreciated the amount of effort that Riordan went to when researching and including his mythology aspects, yet alas, during House of Hades, my feelings changed.. I went from really really enjoying it, to finding not a single fault - it's not the kind of perfect that hits your list of forever favourites, but it's definitely not got anything wrong with it.

I have to honestly, no matter what though, stand by my first thoughts in this novel; why on earth did we have Percy AND Annabeth's perspectives during the novel? I appreciated overall that we had six in total, but I definitely didn't think that these were two perspectives we desperately needed, in fact, I stand by thinking that the only perspective we could have really done with was Annabeths. She was definitely the stronger of the two, she was the constant level headedness throughout their parts of the novel and I really think, in comparison to MoA, she definitely stepped up to the plate and redeemed herself. I'm also most definitely not very fussed on Percy anymore - I think he's lack of development in the series now is well covered by the amount of development and growth that comes from other characters, Frank and Piper, but it's still there and it's not that impressive, but does it take away from the story as a whole? I don't think so..

What was unbelievable was the development from other characters that had perspectives, from Hazel's development in finding her inner strength and learning not to be afraid of what she can do, and her beautiful, damaged yet relatable relationship with Hades/Pluto was just what the doctor order, to Piper's inner searchings of her confidence and her power - damn she might not have more in her belt than a blade and be good with words but her confidence alone is fantastic to watch grow, her want to protect people and her friends, her snark and her humour and her relationship with the crew, her feelings of being the let down of the grew definitely isn't there anymore, and it's clear to see that Riordan has definitely outdone himself when it comes to making her character someone to relate and enjoy reading about. Alas, I don't think I could even find the words for the development Frank went through in this novel, it was just, unbelievable and utterly mesmorising, his leadership skills, his constant need and want to prove himself, his loyalty, his spontaneous nature, his self-doubt, everything about him changed and morphed and became something, someone, so so much better than I could have expected. I love the culture references that he brings to the table, I love the diversity he brings, just by being himself, and I thoroughly enjoy how the more he grows and develops, the more other characters grow and develop around him. If there was ever a character that proved himself throughout this series, it'd be Frank. Leo, well, do I really need to talk about Leo in House of Hades? The feels, the cute, the utter heart fluttering feeling of true love I feel for him. He's still the underrated hero of this series, and I am SO excited for his role in Blood of Olympus.

If I could mention a more personal issue I had in this novel, it'd be the lack of Jason.. I don't know about anyone else, but I'd much rather have Jason's perspective than Percy's at this point - there's probably so much more to his character, a bigger depth and understanding, it'd be nice to see his and Piper's relationship from his angle, to see the friendships and the pressure of being part of the crew when you held such a big title previously, it'd be nice to get back into his head and into his voice, feel him development more rather than see it, but that's just a personal thing, it doesn't make this novel any less fantastic, but if the series had more of his perspective involved, then it might just be even more amazing.

Speaking of fantastic, the entire novel as a whole was put together utterly brilliantly. By having the crew separated throughout the novel, there was a much bigger sense of the world, of the danger and so so many opportunities for miniature cliff-hangers throughout the chapters, for which I both hate and adore Riordan for. His talent for crafting worlds is just one of a kind, honestly, how he crafted and created the Underworld, the disgust, the hatred, the danger, the vividness of it all, from the pocket bubbles than the monsters rose from, to the Giants hut, to the black shore of glass, everything was so there in my mind, crisp and perfectly formed, it was incredible, I really felt as though I was there with Percy and Annabeth. Can't forget his world crafting skills above ground too, his writing works beautifully, from travelling back to 'stranded' islands, you know the one.. to the inners of the ship, to the creatures he includes and the gods and monsters and he brings back, there's literally nothing this man can't write and I don't think I've fallen in love with writing and world building and character creating and feeling inducing romances like I have with Riordan, he spoils readers with his vast talent. From the inclusion of even more gods (how does he do it?!) to the creatures and monsters he crafted, to the travelling the characters do from place to place, from Venice to Greece, to the Underworld, to, well, anywhere, and the mesmorising and enthralling action scenes he writes that are always in the moment, passionate, exciting and deadly, I really don't know how I stay alive throughout, he's just a genius..

I could sit here and literally write this review all day, there'd be mentionings of how Riordan creates such brilliant openings in his worlds, and leaves plenty of questions unanswered that I really don't mind, and how the romances in this series are just really that good, and how his characters develop from almost nothing into, well, heroes, into people, superhuman people capable of more than I ever could have imagined, and how every time I read his work, I fall a little more in love with it, and Leo. There is nothing this man can't put his mind to, and there's nothing stopping me from getting Blood of Olympus as soon as I can. House of Hades was flawless, and even when I did have issues, they were very personal to me and almost not worth mentioning.

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