The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
The Heroes of Olympus #4
Published October 8th 2013 by Disney Hyperion
At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?
They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.
*This review contains minor spoilers, but nothing past what can be found in the blurb^^*
The House of Hades is fourth and penultimate book in The Heroes of Olympus Series, which means that the stakes have risen even higher this time around. As we approach the finale, things go from bad to worse for our seven heroes. Considering the cruel cliffhanger the previous book ended with, I already knew I was in for some dark times but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the darkness. Exploring Tartarus was a high point here and as a whole, The House of Hades was far less predictable than the previous book felt. This is officially my favorite installment in the series so far, which seems fitting though, since my favorite book in the Percy Jackson Series was also the fourth book: The Battle of the Labyrinth. Despite a few minor issues, this was a strong offering all around.
The House of Hades features the most POVs so far, each and every one of the seven demigods got their turn in the spotlight. Some were more frequent than other though, like Percy, Annabeth, and Leo (my favorites - YAY) but Frank and Hazel got their fair share as well. For some reason, at past the halfway point, Rick Riordan decided to throw in a few chapters from Jason and Piper's POV as well. As overwhelming as it sounds, Riordan certainly is a natural at keeping the story flowing despite an increasing number of perspective changes. Since I'd mentioned previously how I felt like Jason wasn't getting enough attention - especially considering how the rest of the crew see him as a leader - I was happy to get another glimpse into his head. To be honest, while my favorite chapters were obviously the ones told by Percy and Annabeth (with Leo coming in a close second) I really didn't mind all the POVs. At this point, all the characters feel so familiar to me that getting to spend more time with them was welcome. Every single character here has grown so much since this series started! Shout out to Frank this time around for stepping up something fierce in a key battle and becoming a leader in his own right.
So while most of our heroes (plus Nico!) were trying to make it to Greece to stop Gaea from rising, Percy and Annabeth were stuck in Tartarus. While I felt bad for the two of them, Riordan's portrayal of Tartarus was on point. Meeting the dark beings that resided in that place was both thrilling and fascinating. It wasn't all darkness though, thankfully. Bob the Titan and small Bob the kitten were obvious favorites but so was Damasen the Giant, a welcome change from the usual giants in the series so far! For their part, the rest of the crew outside Tartarus kept things interesting as well: learning magic, being marooned and the like. As usual, the different combinations of demigods during their adventurings is always fun. I have to say that one of my favorite moments was Nico and Jason's outing. I've always been partial to Nico but now I feel for him in a whole new way. Oh and I totally ship it - you know what I mean ;)
At the end of the day, this was a solid addition to the series. Sure there was a ton of POV's and some too-convenient escapes from baddies, but the bottom line was that the story was exciting and there was some real character grown for all of our heroes. Every installment of the series has had me laughing out loud, which is a pretty impressive feat, and The House of Hades was no exception. Despite the darkness, I had a lot of fun with this story. Another bonus: while this book is the longest one in the series, the chapters were significantly shorter this time, which seemed to help with the pacing issues I had with the previous installments. I'm worried what the outcome will be with The Blood of Olympus but I'm jumping straight in nonetheless!
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars