It's been a long journey. Five Percy Jackson and the Olympian (PJO) books, and finally, five books in the Heroes of Olympus (HoO) series. Ten books set in a wonderfully magical world, yet was this highly anticipated book everything we expected it be, and how was the series overall?
Leading up to the build up of the release of Blood of Olympus early in October, some booktubers were sent boxes with goodies and clues inside. The clues all strongly suggested that at least one of the seven heroes we have come to know and kind of love would not survive the final battle. This was not much of a surprise as the series until now has outright suggested that this will be the case. However, this got everyone speculating on what would happen and who would finally find a home in the Underworld (hopefully in Elysium!), never to walk the Earth again. The hype over this book within the fandom was immense. Rick Riordan has a lot of fans, and sadly, he didn't quite reach the levels of epic he has in the past and fans weren't quite satisfied with the ending, myself included.
I've been reading Riordan's Demigod books since the second book in the Percy Jackson series came out. I've followed the books obsessively and reread them all so many times my books are falling apart. I know the structure of his stories. The problem is, Heroes of Olympus became too formulaic and predictable to ever be able to reach the levels of epic that Percy Jackson reached. The characters in PJO were more three dimensional and lovable whereas there was trouble getting attached to some of the main characters in HoO. I found myself getting more attached to the minor characters, such as Will Solace, than to some of the larger characters we've been following throughout the five books.
The chapters were once again split between the characters, except this time, we didn't even hear from all seven of the heroes! Two of the big ones missing, believe it or not: Percy and Annabeth! They've been in more or less every book, even if just by mention, they helped to start the events in this series, they began the entire adventure in book one of PJO and they just get left out? Fans love these two characters and it seems an odd choice to not tell the final battle from their perspectives at one point. They became side characters in this quest while Riordan worked to redeem the weaker characters in the seven. There were a couple of new perspective chapters from Nico and Reyna, which were fascinating, but it really did feel like Riordan was trying to make Percy an annoying character throughout this book by going against his character.
The finale battle was anti climactic. For five books we've all been fearing Mother Earth, also known as Gaia, awakening and causing havoc. In The Last Olympian, Kronos had a full book dedicated to the terror he caused and the battle was amazing and breath taking. Percy was a hero, not some idiotic kid who struggled to think for himself like in Blood of Olympus. However, Gaia managed a chapter, maybe two max. before her story ended. She was this all powerful being, she was the Earth, and her demise was the most anti-climactic and ridiculous end ever!
The interaction between the characters is lovely with some terrible puns and jokes, so bad they'll have you crying with laughter and trying them out on your friends later. Each character has their own back story, some stronger than others, but it means that each time you're in a different character's head, you do know where their thoughts are coming from and why they do what they do. Some back stories though are made out to be highly important and then seem to be forgotten about for long periods of time (Frank with his piece of wood!).
The amount of new Gods and Goddesses we meet in this book, and the series as a whole, is fantastic as I personally had not heard of a lot of them and it meant there was always something new for the heroes to face. It did become infuriating and a bit boring how many of the battles could be won with confusing the Gods and Godesses with conversation and trickery. The first few times, this was clever and exciting but it happened so often that it became stale. How stupid would you expect Gods and Goddesses who have lived thousands of years to be? Like Nyx for example?
The ending of the book felt incomplete. Riordan wrote some adorable scenes, which is excels at, and managed to bring tears to my eyes. One reason I think PJO is probably better in my opinion is that there are more scenes of the characters interacting and less action which works for him and is fascinating, involving the readers and letting us learn more about these characters so we come to love or loathe them. This felt unsatisfactory at the end partly because of how quickly Gaia was dispatched, and also because there were a lot of loose threads left. The book should have been longer so we had closure but perhaps this was done on purpose to lead in to the next book. I'm hoping that these unanswered questions (there are a lot of them!) will be answered in his upcoming Norse Series, Magnus Chase, which I'm looking forward to but hope he goes back to the original PJO formula.
The series as a whole was enjoyable but I found it more childish than Percy Jackson, which I know many people would disagree with me on, and too formulaic. If you're still unsure whether to read these books, I would recommend them and to start with PJO if you can. I liked this series and I will read it again one day, but the original series will always be the best in my opinion. Hopefully the Magnus Chase series will give us closure on some points and bring back some characters from both of the currently existing series (I miss Grover!). I'm looking forward to next year for some more Riordan books but there are some things her could learn from his previous series, both good and bad.
If you're having withdrawal symptoms from Riordan's works, I also would suggest you go out and read his Egyptian God series, called The Kane Chronicles. This is another well written, fun and educational series.