House of Hades is the fourth, and presumably, the penultimate in Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series.  It continues the story of the seven demigods who are prophesied to work together to prevent the earth goddess Gaea from rising and populating the earth with her giants, presumably a VERY BAD THING.

The overall impression I had was that House of Hades was Mark of Athena part II.  It follows on directly from and continues the plot points from the previous book.  In it the demigods continue to work on the task assigned to them in MoA – to close the Doors of Death. Books one and two form a pair – Jason and Percy’s swap – and so books three and four as well.  Riordan has cleared the decks so to speak for the final push in book five, Blood of Olympus.

I also had the strong feeling that this is Riordan preparing to say goodbye to the world of Percy Jackson.  As far as I understand, his next project is a new series based on Norse mythology (Yeah!  Loki!  Odin!  Thor!  Sign me up for that!).  Annabeth and Percy’s trip through Tartarus is pretty much a Percy and Annabeth’s Greatest Hits medley as they re-encounter monsters they’ve met in previous books and reminisce.  (As an aside, if you’ve not read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians, it is worth reading it before House of Hades so that you can pick up the references more easily.)

What I liked

Each demigod gets the chance to shine.  House of Hades has point of view narration from each of the seven demigods mentioned in the Prophecy of Seven, Percy, Annabeth, Jason, Piper, Frank, Hazel and Leo.  Each of them has at least one section where they alone really kick ass and take names.  They all get some kind of “level up” and emotional development in this book.  As an aside though, for me Jason’s real heroic moment comes in his unexpectedly sensitive handling of Nico’s crisis not when he’s fighting monsters.

The comedy. These books are laugh out loud funny.  I just adore Riordan’s humour (Percy and Annabeth jumping out of their skins at a sweet little kitten!)

Greek/Roman mythology.  I do love Greek/Roman mythology and Riordan has a real knack for giving it a wonderful twist.

Nico’s storyline.  Kudos to Riordan for handling this in a beautiful and sensitive way.

What I disliked

There was nothing I disliked about House of Hades.  It’s a great, fun read.

My predictions for book five, Blood of Olympus

Normally, I’m really lousy at predicting what’s going to happen in future books.  I’m far better in hindsight.  My guess is the secret to defeating Gaea is the resolution of the conflict between Greeks and Romans.  That was Hera’s endgame when she started off this whole scenario by swapping Percy and Jason.  I think this refers to both the conflict between Camps Jupiter and Half Blood as well as the conflict between the Greek and Roman aspects of the gods.  The Athena Parthenon is clearly the key to the former, and I suspect it will have a major influence on the latter.  Fire or storm is referenced in the HoH as the two aspects of one of the minor gods and I would be surprised if that’s not the key to the prophecy – “to fire or storm the world must fall”.  I also expect that the demigods will have misinterpreted at least part of the Prophecy of Seven.

I believe all seven of our demigods will survive.  Nico though, I expect to die in a blaze of glory, making some kind of sacrifice for the one he loves.

What do you think will happen in Blood of Olympus?

Let me know in the comments.

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