I put more than 1000 miles on the rental car in the period of a few days. This is the book that kept me company along the way to Galveston and then to McAllen and home again. THE LOST HERO by Rick Riordan (Disney/Hyperion 2010) extends the story begun with the Percy Jackson series (THE LIGHTNING THIEF, etc.). Three new arrivals at Camp Half-Blood, the camp for demi-gods who all have a mortal parent and one who is a god of Olympus, mark the beginning of Riordan's new series. Piper is a daughter of Aphrodite though she is one who does not care for the beauty aspect of her mother. Rather her gift is speech that persuades others to do her bidding (think Obi-Wan from Star Wars). Leo is the son of Hephaestus and is great at tinkering and building not to mention shooting fire from his hands. Jason is the son of Zeus. He arrives at camp with no memory of his past. As his memory begins to return, it is evident that Jason is the son not of Zeus but of Jupiter, the Roman god. Of course there is a quest that must be undertaken almost immediately. Hera has been imprisoned; the dead are rising, and the most formidable opponent of them all is threatening to destroy the earth. <33>
Riordan is adept at blending suspenseful adventure and fast-paced action/fighting scenes with great good humnor and not a little bit of irony and sarcasm. Blending the Greek and Roman myths, he has set the Percy Jackson series spinning off into a new direction. The careful balance between the mortal and god-like aspects of each of the main characters makes this a perfect combination of magic and realistic elements. Piper wants a closer relationship with her mortal father; Leo mourns the loss of his mother, and Jason is struggling to recall his past. The ending is satisfying and offers the hope of more to come.