Book Review: Rick Riordan’s The Son of Neptune

Posted January 6, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Middle-Grade readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Rick Riordan’s The Son of Neptune

The Son of Neptune


Rick Riordan

fantasy that was published by Disney-Hyperion on October 4, 2011 and has 521 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, The Last Olympian, The Red Pyramid, The Lost Hero, Cold Springs, The Throne of Fire, The Mark of Athena, The Serpent's Shadow, House of Hades, The Blood of Olympus, The Hidden Oracle, The Sword of Summer, The Hammer of Thor, The Ship of the Dead

Second in the Heroes of Olympus fantasy-adventures series for kids starring Percy Jackson of Percy Jackson and the Olympians fame.

In 2012, The Son of Neptune won the Buckeye Children’s Book Award for 6-8.

My Take

Riordan has started the Heroes series to differentiate between the Greeks (Percy Jackson & the Olympians) and the Romans (The Heroes of Olympus). The purpose of this particular installment is to identify more demigods for the Prophecy of Seven and cement the alliance between two rival factions.

Okay, I v-e-r-y slowly understood why Percy’s memory was tampered with, but I don’t understand why people he knew — and knew that they knew Percy — cooperated in not filling Percy in with his lost memories? Sure, Nico says he can’t interfere, but, why not?

Oh man…the Roman navy…snicker, laugh, guffaw…just wait til you get to that part! Oh, and then the part about the grains kidnapping Hazel! Too funny as they try to bribe Hazel into giving up to torture and death by promising her “grain. So much grain” just before Wheat dissolves into Chex Mix.

It’s a journey of battle and self-discovery for our three heroes and Riordan provides enough laughter, tension, and drama to make this a truly fascinating story. The jerk. Now I have to wait for The Mark of Athena!! So not fair!

The Story

Percy is beginning to think this chase with the gorgons will never end. It doesn’t matter how often or how he kills them, they just keep getting up and coming after him. So it’s a good bit of fortune when he comes across Hazel and Frank guarding the door to the inside of the Caldecott Tunnel in the Berkeley Hills. Jumping inside followed up by a rockfall slows the gorgons down, giving the three the chance to cross the Little Tiber River to safety.

Well, not literal safety for the Romans who “greet” them are so not happy to see him. The only real rescue is when Percy proves that he has amnesia. Then Percy, Frank, and Hazel take the First Cohort’s battle flag after successfully storming the castle — a most unexpected, somewhat unwelcome maneuver by the other cohorts.

But Mars appears as a result of it and demands they take on a quest. A quest to rescue Thanatos. For without Death, the Romans and Greeks don’t stand a chance against their enemies as Gaea has seized Thanatos and his Doors of Death. She controls who stays dead and who comes back to life, and if Gaea can keep bringing their enemies back to life…

It all has to be done in four days. Four measly days to sail to Alaska, find and rescue Thanatos, and return to Camp to help in the battle.

The battle will go against them if they fail, and Octavian is doing his best to ensure their failure. It takes the three of them willing to sacrifice to affect the outcome of their quest and the survival of their friends and family.

The Characters

Percy Jackson has lost his memory and is fumbling his way across country.

Hazel Levesque is a daughter of Pluto and cursed with wrenching up jewels and precious metals from under the earth. Objects which result in the death of anyone who touches them. Queen Marie is her greedy mother suckered into a deal with Gaea. Nico de Angelo pretends to not know Percy; he is Hazel’s brother and the ambassador from Pluto. Sammy Valdez, a.k.a., Leo, was Hazel’s first love back in 1941 before her mother uprooted them to Alaska.

Frank Zhang can’t believe it’s possible for him to live up to the legacy his father and grandmother tell him is his. His grandmother is mean with a strong sense of family and pride. His father simply ignores him until Frank pulls off a heroic feat. His mother Emily died saving her unit in battle.

Camp Jupiter is the Roman equivalent of Camp Half-Blood. Reyna is the current praetor of the Twelfth Legion and, without Jason, solely responsible for its defense. She rides a pegasus named Scipio, a.k.a., Skippy. Octavian is their reader of auguries and a really nasty kid not above using blackmail to get what he wants. It cracks me up that he “rips the entrails” from teddy bears to read an augury. (I also think he’s a bit psychotic…)

Dakota and Gwen are the centurions for the Fifth Cohort, a.k.a., the Fulminata. The dishonored legion which gets all the lousy jobs and is the first sent into battle, especially if it will result in destruction. Jason Grace was their praetor until he went missing back in October. It was due to Jason that the Fifth was starting to make a comeback from their disgrace in the 1980s when Michael Varus insisted upon attacking in Alaska to fulfill that prophecy.

Don is a faun and Gaius Vitellius Reticulus is a Lares, a household god, a.k.a., a ghost of a dead legionnaire. Hylla is the current queen of the Amazons (and Reyna’s sister) — what we know as — and does she ever have a mad hate for Percy! Kinzie is one of Hylla’s adherents.

Annabeth is mentioned as is Jason Grace. Tyson and Mrs. O’Leary show up just in time to escort Ella and help in the battle at Camp Jupiter. Thanatos is Death; Pluto’s right-hand man. While Pluto sees to the holes in the boundaries between life and death, Thanatos goes after the souls who escape back into Life. Iris is the rainbow and messenger goddess and runs a health food store in between. Sigh…Iris has finally found her own identity. Fleecy is her assistant.

Stheno and Euryale are the gorgons chasing Percy. June/Juno/Hera is Zeus/Jupiter‘s wife and she has been manipulating Percy for the past eight months. Gaea is waking and sending her sons, the giants, to Camp Jupiter to destroy it; the first stage of the conquest of Earth. Alcyoneus is Gaea’s eldest giant son and he cannot be killed in his homeland; Polybotes is a brother and leads the forces against Camp Jupiter. Otrera was one of the original Amazon queens until she died; now she’s back and challenging Hylla for her throne.

The Cover and Title

The cover presents the essence of the story with Percy holding the 5th Cohort’s eagle as he balances himself on a floating slab of ice with Hubbard Glacier looming up behind him. The crack of the ice that gives Hazel and Frank time to overpower Alcyoneus is fairly obvious in the Roman buildings crashing and the ghosts of the Legion tumbling down into the icy, cold sea.

The title refers to a prophecy that states The Son of Neptune will save Hazel.