The Son of Neptune
|Series||The Heroes of Olympus (Book 2)|
|Genre||Fantasy, Greek and Roman mythology, Young adult|
|October 4, 2011 (hardcover, audiobook CD, Kindle/Nook eBook)|
|Media type||Print (Paperback, hardcover, audiobook CD, E-book)|
|Preceded by||The Lost Hero|
|Followed by||The Mark of Athena|
The Son of Neptune is a 2011 fantasy novel, the second book in The Heroes of Olympus series written by Rick Riordan. The story follows the adventures of amnesiac Percy Jackson, a demigod son of Poseidon, as he meets a camp of Roman demigods and goes to Alaska with his new friends Hazel Levesque and Frank Zhang to free the Greek god of death, Thanatos and help save the world from Gaia, the earth goddess.
The book received mostly critical acclaim, won the Goodreads Choice Award in 2011, and appeared on several bestseller lists. The book continues Riordan's use of third person narration, where chapters are from the point of view of one of the main characters, switching between Percy, Frank, and Hazel.
The book was first published in hardcover on October 4, 2011 by Disney-Hyperion with a cover designed by illustrator John Rocco. After an initial hardcover printing of three million copies, the book has since been released in paperback as well as an audiobook and e-book, and has been translated into 37 languages.
Development and promotion
In an interview by Scholastic with Rick Riordan for The Lost Hero, Riordan was questioned about the whereabouts of Percy Jackson. The author hinted that the answer would be revealed as Jason's quest progressed. By the end of the book, he said that readers would have a good idea where the second book is going. On May 26, 2011, Riordan released both the cover art and the first chapter for The Son of Neptune confirming that Percy would play a role in the book.
On August 8, 2011, Rick Riordan released a video giving more information about the book and its characters. The video includes pictures of a black haired boy with a bow and arrow in his hands who is later revealed to be Frank Zhang, a blonde-haired boy holding a teddy bear later revealed as Octavian, a girl with black hair wearing gold armor and a purple cloak sitting on a throne flanked by a gold and a silver canine creature, both with red eyes, who was revealed on Rick Riordan's blog to be Reyna, and another girl riding a horse named Hazel Levesque. Along with this, two chapters were released prior to the book's launch: one was put on Riordan's website and another read out by Riordan on Percy's birthday, August 18.
Go to Alaska.
Find Thanatos and free him.
Come back by sundown on June twenty-fourth or die.
This prophecy is given by Mars, the Roman god of war, in Camp Jupiter. Yet, during the course of the story, the harpy Ella recites what seems to be the first two lines of the true prophecy: "To the north, beyond the gods, lies the legion’s crown. Falling from ice, the son of Neptune shall drown –". After reciting the prophecy, Ella says, "Hmm. Burnt. The rest is burnt." Percy, Frank and Hazel think that Ella read the Sibylline Books and that the rest of the page has been burned. So Percy, Frank, and Hazel protect Ella from the Romans who would make her a slave.
The Son of Neptune opens with Percy Jackson being chased by two gorgons, Stheno and Euryale, who hate him for killing their sister Medusa. They reveal that they are working for Gaia. While making his escape, he runs into an old, seemingly homeless hippie woman named June. The old woman reveals herself to be Juno and gives him a choice: do her a favor by carrying her to a nearby tunnel entrance and risk death, possibly regaining his memories, or live under the sea safely and allow for the destruction of everyone and everything he ever held dear. Percy, with flickering memories of his past life, opts to go for the tunnel. He carries her across the Little Tiber, and meets Hazel Levesque, Pluto's daughter, and Frank Zhang, Mars's son, saving Frank from the Gorgons by drowning them. Percy is then taken into the camp after Juno introduces him to Camp Jupiter. Reyna, a praetor for the camp, seems to recognize him, but refuses to acknowledge him. She sends Percy and Hazel to Octavian, their local fortune-teller. Along the way the Lares call him "graecus", or foreigner, which worries Hazel. Octavian, despite his passive-aggressive stance towards Hazel and Percy declares good omens, and Hazel and Percy go to the temples, where they meet Nico, Hazel's brother. He acts suspiciously and claims not to know Percy, even though he appears to recognize him.
During war games later that day everyone is dazzled by Percy's battle skills due to the fact that they are Greek-style. After the games, Octavian impales a centurion from the Fifth Cohort, who is severely injured and dies, only to come back to life a few moments later. Mars, the god of war, then appears and tells the campers that "Death has been chained." He also acknowledges that Frank Zhang is his son and gives him a spear with a dragon tooth, declaring a quest with Percy and Frank to free Thanatos, captured in Alaska and no longer able to keep mortals dead. Frank wants Hazel to also come on the quest, and together they start traveling towards Alaska. During the quest, Percy has a hard time trying to remember his past. Time and time again, the only clear memory to him is a girl named Annabeth. Hazel reveals that she had died, but Nico, son of Hades and her half-brother, rescued her from the Underworld. Frank informs the other two that he was given a piece of wood that is tied to his life, and if the wood is destroyed, he'll die. Percy starts to remember his past after he gambles with Gorgon's blood with restorative properties. After many events and encounters with monsters, they finally get to Alaska and find Thanatos. His chains can only be broken by the fire of life, the piece of wood tied to Frank's life. Percy protects Frank while he destroys Thanatos' chains with his life of fire, losing more and more of his life. Hazel attacks Alcyoneus, the giant born to oppose Pluto. Thanatos is eventually freed and with the help of Hazel's horse, Arion, they drag the giant out of its land, within which he is immortal, to Canada, where it is possible for him to be killed.
Percy regains his memory as they race back to Camp Jupiter. Percy then challenges Polybotes, the giant born to oppose Neptune, to a duel and calls on Terminus, the Roman god of borders, to help him defeat the giant. The camp then names him a praetor, a leader of the Roman camp. Greek demigods from Camp Half-Blood appear in the flying ship Argo II one day later, sailing towards the camp. The Romans argue over attacking the ship, and as praetor and a Greek, Percy convinces them to greet them peaceably.
- Percy Jackson: A demigod son of Poseidon, who is the main protagonist in the first Camp Half-Blood series. He and Jason Grace have been swapped, because Hera (Juno in Roman form) has wiped their memories away to unite the two demigod camps. Percy is sent to Camp Jupiter, from which Jason comes from. He goes on a quest with Frank Zhang, son of Mars, and Hazel Levesque, daughter of Pluto, to save Thanatos, Pluto's lieutenant and the deity of death. He succeeds and at the end of the book leads the Roman camp into battle against Gaia's forces and is made praetor by the campers. His memories are restored at around the middle of the book, as Percy drinks gorgon's blood when he challenges Phineas.
- Frank Zhang: a son of Mars. He is a Roman demigod at Camp Jupiter, a camp for Roman demigods. Frank has a crush on Hazel, which she reciprocates.
- Hazel Levesque: a partially African-American girl, Nico's half-sister, and daughter of Pluto. She has been recently resurrected by Nico from her death in 1942 at the age of 13 and lives in Camp Jupiter. She has a crush on Frank Zhang.
- Nico di Angelo: Hazel's half-brother and son of Hades. Initially, he is aware of what Hera has done to Percy, and pretends he does not know who Percy is. He rescues Hazel, his half-sister, from the Fields of Asphodel, giving her a second chance.
- Reyna Arellano: daughter of Bellona, the Roman goddess of war, and praetor of Camp Jupiter. It is found that Reyna and her sister Hylla were servants of the witch Circe, whom Annabeth and Percy had killed in The Sea of Monsters. Reyna goes on to Camp Jupiter, and Hylla goes to the Amazons, where she later becomes queen.
The Son of Neptune was given a first printing of three million copies, the largest for Disney-Hyperion to that point. Upon release, the book ranked No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list, USA Today bestseller list, and The Wall Street Journal bestseller list. It was the Amazon Best Book of the Month in October 2011.
The novel was met with mostly positive reviews. Dana Henderson of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer called the addition of new characters "refreshing and captivating" and claimed that it would "make the reader to want to keep reading". Kimberly Bennion in Deseret News cited it as an "emotional roller coaster" and would please both old and new fans. However, she thought the characters had flaws. The Hutchinson Leader 's Kay Johnson wrote that the plot was confusing and the first half was not engaging, but thought Riordan should be given credit for introducing Greek and Roman mythology to a new generation. Kirkus Reviews was positive about the book, thinking that Riordan had "regained his traction" after "spinning his wheels" in The Lost Hero.
- "The Son of Neptune wins the GoodReads Choice Award 2011". GoodReads. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- "The Son of Neptune goes on three bestseller lists". Rick Riordan Official Website accessdate=January 29, 2012.
- Lodge, Sally. "First Printing of Three Million for New Percy Jackson Book". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- "Rick Riordan talks about The Son of Neptune for the first time". Scholastic. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- "The Son of Neptune cover released". Rick Riordan Official Website. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- "Official Youtube video giving sneak peek about characters". Disney-Hyperion. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- "Riordan reads the first two chapters of The Son of Neptune". Rick Riordan Official Website. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- Lodge, Sally (August 18, 2011). "First Printing of Three Million for New Percy Jackson Book". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
- "The Son of Neptune is Amazon's book of the month". Amazon.com. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- Henderson, Dana (October 13, 2011). "Book Review: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Bennion, Kimberly (October 14, 2011). "Review: 'Son of Neptune' is worth the wait". Deseret News. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Johnson, Kay. "Book Review: "The Son of Neptune," by Rick Riordan". Hutchinson Leader. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "The Son of Neptune". Kirkus Reviews. November 1, 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "The Mark of Athena publisher=Rick Riordan Official Website". Retrieved January 29, 2012.