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The Lost Hero  - Rick Riordan The second Great Prophecy has begun to be fulfilled. Percy Jackson has disappeared and Hera has been kidnapped. New heroes, Jason, Piper and Leo have to work together to save the day, but something much worse than the titans is stirring.

Firstly, wow.

Secondly, this series seems to be shaping up to be straddling the middle grade/young adult line, whereas the Percy Jackson was much more firmly in the middle grade camp. For one thing, the characters are older, around the fifteen/sixteen mark. There is a lot more potential for romance, and all the young adult baggage that comes with that. The themes of this series seem to be darker and more forbidding as well.

For some reason, I felt a lot more connected and invested in the characters in The Lost Hero than I ever did in the Percy Jackson series. It feels to me that Rick Riordan either seems more comfortable writing in third person, or he has learnt a lot from writing the Percy Jackson series. Possibly both. From the very first chapter, I cared about what was happening to Jason, Piper and Leo. It could just be me that feels this way about the two series, but this is a personal review anyway.

I'm very excited about the introduction of Roman mythology. I miss studying Classics very much, and now Riordan has brought both Greek and Roman stuff together and I'm a very happy reader. I'm looking very much forward to more of the Roman side of things in the next book (in which I'm assuming we'll be with Percy in the Roman camp, from the title). When Jason started saying words like 'praetor' it sent shivers up my spine. (God, I'm sad.)

I think the whole Roman half of things has been well-integrated. It could have easily appeared to have been shoehorned in because Riordan suddenly had the idea, but all of the inconsistencies have been satisfactorially explained. I think so, anyway. I also like the idea that the gods have Greek and Roman aspects that are slightly different from each other. That's a very interesting idea to me.

I wasn't sure I would like the characters in this one, considering they were different from the characters I'd become used to, but actually, I loved them. Jason, Piper and Leo were all very different from Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Nico, etc, though Jason and Percy have similar heroic qualities. But Jason is a LOT more serious and... dangerous than Percy ever was.

Some people have said that Jason is a bit of a Gary Stu, in that he's the son of Jupiter/Zeus and he's actually done a load of important things before this book, but actually I really like that. It shows that he's had a life outside these books, and that he's worked really hard to get where he was only to have it all snatched away from him (including his memories). Poor Jason, it must be so confusing for him.

I really like the characters of Piper and Leo, too. Leo I love because of his ingenious ways of solving problems, and Piper because she is a complete anti-stereotype. She's a child of Aphrodite, but she's so different from the shallow glimpses we saw in the Percy Jackson books. I'm enjoying seeing the children of other gods than we did in the first series, too. :)

Speaking of other gods, I'm really pleased that Hera/Juno is getting a bit of a chance to shine. She gets a bad reputation from most of the myths, so it'll be interesting to see how Riordan handles the fact she is now Jason's patron.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I feel as though Riordan has stepped up his game. I'm very excited to read the next book and to see where this series goes! :)