The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land to find the Doors of Death. What exactly are the Doors of Death? Much of the prophecy remains a mystery. . . .
My Review: I'll admit: I was pretty disappointed with the first two books in the Heroes Of Olympus series. I'm a huge fan of the Percy Jackson series, and the Heroes of Olympus books 1 and 2 just seemed way too complicated, confusing, and contrived. It was like Rick Riordan was trying to be J.K. Rowling or something. I didn't get to know the characters well enough and the stories were so crazy that half the time, I was confused on all the mythology and magic and madness happening---and I'm REALLY well-versed in Greek mythology, so that's saying something. However...Rick Riordan definitely made a junior comeback with the 3rd book in his series!
Okay, I admit: part of the reason I liked it so much more was because Percy and Annabeth were reunited. It was like the old team together again (minus Grover, who I miss!). But even with Percy and Annabeth together again, the story was much better! The first two books were confusing in simply that Riordan was trying to introduce 5 characters' pasts and story lines (I'm not counting Percy, since we already know him) AND trying to form a new dastardly plot...and that got confusing. But in this book, we were already decently comfortable with all of the characters and their pasts, so we got to move ON---and move on we did!
The setting really contributed to this book. Them sailing to Rome felt like old times (remember sailing across the Sea of Monster? Yeah, so do I). The setting was so cool! FINALLY they got to go to Rome! I'd been waiting for this moment for a long time. Hopefully they'll get to go to Greece in a future book as well. The setting just made it so much more exotic and unique.
The return of some favorite Greek mythology characters also helped the book a lot. Some of the mythology in the previous Heroes Of Olympus books was kind of confusing and crazy because some of the myths weren't too well known---like the South Wind, North Wind, etc---but this time, we got to meet Arachne and Hercules. And that was pretty awesome, let me tell you that.
The plot was interesting and well-paced; it flowed well, with good action scenes and some good calm scenes. What made it really good was that the two teams were finally merged; their camaraderie and bantering was really fun, and it felt like we were back at Camp Half-Blood, with all of the familiar faces. Something about having a large group of characters makes it really fun; the previous books felt a little...lonely.
All in all, a really good job on the third book! This makes me really excited for the next books in the series! ESPECIALLY after a cliff-hanger that left my eyes popping out of my head and me waggling my hands in a series of silent fangirl screaming. Trust me, the cliffhanger? Brilliant but PAINFUL. The waiting for the next book is going to be intense!
Cover: It's okay. I'm not a fan of the scene the artist chose. This scene wasn't THAT important; I'd have rather scene a nice illustration of their ship, or of some scene in Rome. But it's okay, not bad.
Overall Grade: A-