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A Seven Demigod Army Couldn’t Hold Me Back

Mandy W. reviews The House of Hades by Rick Riordan, the penultimate book in the Heroes of Olympus series that sure doesn't hold back with THE FEELS.

A Seven Demigod Army Couldn’t Hold Me Back

BOOK REPORT for The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus Book 4) by Rick Riordan

Cover Story: Epic Danger
BFF Charm: Make It Rain
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: Straight Up Rick Riordan
Bonus Factor: Callbacks, Consequences, Loyal Pets
Relationship Status: Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?

Cover Story: Epic Danger

With each new Rick Riordan book comes another brilliant cover by John Rocco, and this one is no exception. The gloomy, sinister feel is quite appropriate, 'cause THIS BOOK AIN'T MESSING AROUND, Y'ALL.

The Deal:

This is Book 4 of this series, so ass-massive spoilers ahead!

Since last we saw our fave demigods, HOLY EFFING SHIZZ, PERCY AND ANNABETH FELL INTO TARTARUS and then the book ended WHYYYYYYYYYYY. And the only way out for them -- and the only way to stop the influx of reincarnated monsters into the mortal world -- is to locate the Doors of Death amid the treacherous landscape of Tartarus.

But Percy and Annabeth can't get out of Tartarus without help from the other demigods; they've got to open the Doors of Death on their side, too. Easier said than done, since the Greek and Roman camps are on the verge of war back home. Should the demigods go back to try to broker peace? Or should they continue on their quest to save their (quite literally) fallen friends? And will this book STOMP ALL OVER MY HEART?

BFF Charm: Make It Rain

I've already given everyone a BFF charm (and I'd also hand a few over to the supporting characters in this book). But there are def. differing levels of BFF-ness. I've always liked Jason and Piper, but they haven't been as developed as much as the others. While that's still somewhat the case here, Jason gets to show that there's more to him than the perfect guy that everyone else sees. Piper's become pretty kickass, and she and her food-summoning cornucopia always have an invite to my slumber parties.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Shocking, the darkest depths of the Underworld are not a swoon-inducing environment, even if you're with your one true love, like Percy and Annabeth are. ('Oh, let's take a romantic, leisurely stroll... along this river of wailing souls.' Yeah, not so much.) Suffice to say, adversity imposes a strain on their relationship. Even though I just want those kids to be together without the constant threat of danger, I always appreciate sources of romantic tension that aren't related to geometry.

As for the other established couples, I didn't swoon too much over them. But the new romantic developments had me alternating between fist pumping and giving ALL THE HUUUUUGS. 

Talky Talk: Straight Up Rick Riordan

Seeing as this is the eighth book of his that I've reviewed, you'd think that I'd run out of ways to praise Rick Riordan by now, right? But he's continuously upping his game, keeping this long-lasting series as fresh and interesting as ever. Riordan also pulls off some characterization course correction with Jason, which involves my absolute FAVOURITE subplot from this book. Not only was it the reason behind most of the fist pumps and hugs, but I love how this storyline subverts very well-established ideas of the god that it involves. 

(And I don't usually pay too close attention to book dedications, but this one is PERF.)

Bonus Factor: Callbacks

The end is nigh, y'all. Riordan pays homage to the previous books without pandering to the readers. It's not just a string of gratuitous winks and nudges; the past is skillfully weaved into the present (see: the other bonus factors).

And as always, I'm hella impressed by the continuity of this series. It makes me want to go back and re-read all the things that I hadn't picked up on before. Sure, I never know if the groundwork was deliberately laid out or if it's just a happy coincidence, but the way that Riordan ties it all together is absolutely masterful.

Bonus Factor: Consequences

Another thing about the past? It can come back to haunt you. And when you've been through as many adventures as Percy has, there's no shortage of enemies -- and mistakes -- that resurface.

Bonus Factor: Loyal Pets

Percy and Annabeth come across a saber-tooth tiger cub in Tartarus; it is obvi AWESOME. As is its eventual owner, who's one of those aforementioned supporting characters that I'd give a BFF charm to. (Also, 'pets' is pluralized for a reason... )

Casting Call:

I've already cast everyone, but some recasts are in order. Though I'll give myself another year for the other ones (mostly because it's so damn difficult.)

Young Michelle Rodriguez as Reyna

Relationship Status: Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?

I mean it, Book; do you really want to make me cry? For the first time ever, this series has left me awash with melancholy. It's a good thing that the end is another year away, because I'll need that time to recover from all the emotional carnage, and to prepare for even more that will surely follow this book.

FTC Full Disclosure: I ran out to buy my review copy on release day. I received neither money nor froyo for writing this review (dammit!). The Mark of Athena is available now.

Mandy Wan's photo About the Author: Residing in Edmonton, AB, Mandy unabashedly loves YA lit, frozen desserts, and terrible puns.