Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan, 2014

Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen-all of them-and they're stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood-the blood of Olympus-in order to wake.
The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it might be able to stop a war between the two camps.
The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.


I'm going to do a sort of review for the entire Heroes of Olympus series, so you can see my thought process and why I felt the way that I did at the series' end. It's a bit long, but then again so are all the reviews of Riordan's books on Goodreads, so there we go. Be warned, there are some spoilers from all of the books in here, mainly just plot twists that are crucial to later books in the series, and some romance themes. I don't spoil the ending of Blood of Olympus, at least not the "real" ending - I do talk a bit about the romantic aspect.

Okay, so I have literally been waiting for this book in form form or another for almost seven years. That is, if you start counting from when I first read The Lightning Thief (the first book in the original series). I have read every book in the first series (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) more times than I can count, and I'm not just saying that to exaggerate. I literally re-read the series, especially the first book, periodically and I can't remember how many times I've read each book. What I do know is that I loved the series, along with every other middle schooler on the planet.

And then. Then the Heroes of Olympus series was announced, and I was so excited. I thought it would be amazing! I started the first book with no idea what to expect in the storyline department, but expecting to relish seeing all the old characters again.

The whole book was about three kids I'd never seen before. And I came to love them, and I gushed over the book with all of my friends, but inside I was still holding out judgement. The second book, Son of Neptune. That would be when everything really started, that would be when Percy stepped onto the page once more. And you know what? I did love Son of Neptune, because seeing Percy struggle to remember his life was so fascinating, and I sighed along with every other junior high girl on the planet when I saw how the only thing Percy could remember was Annabeth.

Of all the books in the series, I was least concerned about the quality of Mark of Athena going into it. Annabeth and Percy were finally together, and the crew united!
At this point, though, I was getting a bit of all the encounters with random gods (seriously, Rick needs someone to go through and chop about ten monster encounters from each of the Heroes of Olympus books). I was still invested, though, mainly because I still loved Percabeth and couldn't stand not knowing what happened after a certain literal cliffhanger that finished off an otherwise pleasing book.

Then came Blood of Olympus, and I officially came to the realization I honestly didn't care about all seven of the crew members. Not as people, anyway. They're not really people to me, they're just tools for Riordan. Tools for him to a) have as many races, ethnicities, and even sexual orientations as he can possibly cram in there, and b) create enough love angst stories to fill about four separate middle school series. I guess his success with Percabeth made him think the world was full of teenage suckers who would wholeheartedly ship every random coupling he threw in just for the sake of having couples. And I guess he was right. But I for one was getting pretty tired of Rick's old tricks.

Then came House of Hades, and I was ready to throw in the towel. While I enjoyed seeing Percy and Annabeth trusting and relying on each other as they navigated the difficult situations they encountered, I had no real interest in what the rest of the crew was up to. Riordan's writing was still engaging, but I'd seen it all before. There was literally nothing new outside of Tartarus, and I really didn't care enough about Piper to find her road to magic-usage that exciting. Wait, was it Piper or Hazel? I can never keep those two straight. Did you read that? I can never keep those two straight. And one is the Native American daughter of a movie star and the goddess of love, while the other is an African American dead girl whose father is Hades. If I can't keep those two straight, then Riordan is doing something wrong. The Leo and Calypso angle was sweet, though, and I was looking forward to seeing that come to fruition.

And now. Now Blood of Olympus has finally arrived, and I still bought it the day it came out. Why, you ask? You got the impression that I was starting to get sick of the series. Why would I buy the latest book? Well, mainly because I was sick and tired ("ill and exhausted," not "exasperated"), and my father went to Target. Also, the other book that came out that day (Jessica Day George's Thursdays with the Crown, another book I'll get around to reviewing one of these days) wasn't at Target.

So, I read Blood of Olympus. And far from loving it like every other fangirl on the planet, I disliked it. A lot. Because you see, everything I loved about the series had all but disappeared, and it felt like Rick was just using his tired old tricks to make everybody happy. The new Nico storyline is very much not to my taste, so while I empathized with him as a poor, lonely kid who thinks he has no friends, I still found the bits about his sexal orientation less than appealing. As for the members of the Argo II, you'd think I'd still have Percabeth to fall back on, right? Nope. They're barely together at all, and even when they are the scenes between them felt fake and cheesy, instead of sweet. And don't get me started on Leo and Calypso! The first time he called her "Sunshine" I felt sick. The whole interaction between the two of them feels like Rick completely recast their relationship - it goes from this unspoken loyalty/love thing that was really sweet, and I liked a lot, to this obnoxious, comfortable "We've been dating for years" sort of feel. To be perfectly honest, the book reads like a fanfiction you could find on the internet. Sure, it's longer than most of the fanfics online, but the romance is as out-of-character and clumsy as the average fanfic.

I know I'm one of the minority in my opinion of this series, especially for my age demographic, and I truly feel bad about that. I came into the series ready to love it. And if anyone who knows me in real life reads this, they'll be shocked because I always seemed just as in love with the series as they were. But who knows, maybe I'm not the only one secretly disappointed with the series. Whether you agree with me or not, comment below and let me hear your thoughts! And please, don't think I hate all things Percy Jackson now: Percabeth will always have a place in my heart, and nothing the later books have to say can change that. And who knows, maybe the new series (officially titled Magnus Chase) will be better!


Haha, I was joking. I'm trying the first book just to see how it is, but just because Chase is Annabeth's cousin, does not mean I will read five more five hundred page books. If I want to see how Percy and Annabeth are doing, I'll just Google it, thank you very much.

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for visiting my blog Semicolon. I'm sure you're not the only one who's become tired of Riordan's "same old tricks." If an author doesn't have anything new --and worthwhile--to say, he might as well hang it up.

    You're invited to share links to your reviews at the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon each Friday evening/Saturday if you'd like and check out the reviews that are linked there.
    http://www.semicolonblog.com/?p=23342

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, I think that Rick RIordan has become a one-trick pony. He's reached the point where he really has nothing new to say.
      Thank you so much for inviting me to such a great resource! I'm excited to read all the other great reviews. :)

      Delete
  2. I do agree with you. I'm reading the Blood of Olympus currently, few chapters in and well, I can't seem to really get engrossed in it like his other books. But, I really do wanna finish this book. Because, who wouldn't! Percy Jackson's and the gang's epic journey is gonna end (Well according to me it's still going on :D)! I feel so sad! :(
    Maybe we can make a list of Rick Riordan's Book Clichés list :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, even though I didn't like the book I was still sad when it ended because that meant the guessing and hoping was over. The chips had fallen. I'd love to hear how you liked the book when you finish it! :) And maybe I should make a post asking for other people's Rick Riordan cliches, then put a list together of the big ones. What do you think?

      Delete
    2. That'll be a very interesting list! You should do it and maybe you can ask people from goodreads as well. Yeah, I gotta finish it and I'll definitely tell you. Though I don't love PJO as much as HP, the world that Rick created is just so beautiful and intricate, I hate to part with it. But, that's life.

      Delete
    3. Maybe I will! I'll start working on that.

      Delete
  3. I completely agree with your point about fanfiction! In a way, it doesn't seem very real. What kind of war doesn't have deaths? The Last Olympian saw more deaths. Anyway, I miss the old Percabeth. I mean couldn't we get at least ONE sassy argument between Percy and Annabeth? I guess I'm still in denial about it all

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it felt like the actual war was over by the time I realized it had started. And the "deaths" were pretty pathetic.

      Delete
  4. I didn't like the Blood of Olympus at all. It was a TOTAL ripoff. I just hope his new series is better than this book. (My friends think I sound very judgy when I say this, but it's my opinion. Plus, I missed all the jokes and funny arguments that usually happens.) Do you agree with me?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely agree with you, Trisha! Blood of Olympus was not nearly as funny as the earlier books and the humor it did have felt cheap. I really hope the Magnus Chase books are better, but my expectations aren't too high - honestly, I think he's just about out of ideas.

      Delete

Thank you for leaving your thoughts!