The Son of Neptune
|The Son of Neptune|
|Series||The Heroes of Olympus (Book 2)|
|Genre||Fantasy, Greek and Roman mythology, Young adult|
|Publication date||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 the second book in the The Heroes of Olympus series written by Rick Riordan. The story follows the adventures of an 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 Gaea, the earth goddess.
The book received mostly critical acclaim, won the Goodreads Choice Award in 2011, and appeared on several bestseller lists. It had a first hardcover printing of three million copies. 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.
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.
The Son of Neptune opens with Percy Jackson being chased by two gorgons (sisters of Medusa), Stheno and Euryale, who hate him for killing their sister Medusa. They reveal that they're working for Gaea. While making his escape, he runs into an old woman named June. The old woman reveals herself to be Juno (Hera) and gives him a choice: provide her with a favor or live safely under the sea and everybody and everything destroyed. As a favor, Percy carries her across the Little Tiber, which is a powerful river. In doing so, he loses his invincibility (Achilles Curse) from the River Styx. When he reaches his destination he meets Hazel Levesque, a daughter of Pluto (Hades), and Frank Zhang, a son of Mars (Ares, Greek god of war). Percy saves Frank from the Gorgons by drowning them. Percy is then taken into the camp after Juno introduces him to Camp Jupiter (training camp for Roman demigods). Reyna seems to recognize him, but refuses to acknowledge him. She sends Percy and Hazel to Octavian, the camp augur, to see whether or not he's fit to join the legion. Along the way, Lares, the camp's ancestral spirits, call him Graecus, or Greek, which makes Hazel act worried. When they reach Jupiter's temple, Octavian is cutting teddy bears open and reading the stuffing. Octavian threatens Hazel by telling her that if she doesn't vote for him, he'll reveal her secret. He declares good omens, and Hazel and Percy go to the temples, where they meet Nico di Angelo (brother of Bianca di Angelo), a main character from the Percy Jackson series. He acts suspiciously and claims not to know Percy, even when he recognises him. Meanwhile, Frank is organizing weaponry when a Lare appears and tells him he knows about his stick and his birthday. Frank then runs off to find Hazel and Percy. He takes Percy to the baths while Hazel and Nico talk. Hazel reveals that she's from the 40's and has a blackout. She realizes that she's late for the war games, so she and Nico rush to line up.
During war games, a Camp Jupiter activity, Percy impresses everyone with his battle skills and instincts, even though they are not Roman tactics and are more Greek-style. After the games, Octavian hurts Gwen, a centurion of the Fifth Cohort, and she gets severely injured and dies, only to come back to life a few moments later. Mars, the god of war, then appears and informs the campers that "Death has been chained." (Thanatos). He also claims Frank Zhang as his son and gifts him a spear with a dragon' tooth. Mars insists that Percy and Frank must go on a quest to free Thanatos, the god of Death. He has been captured in Alaska and is no longer able to keep mortals dead. Frank requests that Hazel also come on the quest, and they set off towards Alaska. While traveling on their quest, Percy struggles to regain his memory. Time and time again, he recalls things but never where from. The only clear memory to him is a girl named Annabeth (his girlfriend). Hazel reveals that she had died long ago, but that Nico di Angelo, son of Hades and her half-brother, saved her from the Underworld. Frank informs the other two that he was given a piece of wood that is tied to his life; if the wood burns up completely, he will die. Percy regains most of his memory after he gambles with gorgons blood and Gaea lets him win saying she still needs him as a pawn to free herself. After many events and monsters, such as basilisks, giants, and an unexpected meeting with the Amazons (an all woman tribe), they finally get to Alaska, where they find Thanatos in chains. His chains can only be broken by the fire of life i.e. the piece of wood tied to Frank's life. Percy defends Frank while he melts Thanatos chains with his burning stick, 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 (Alaska) to Canada where it is able to be killed (Alcynoneus couldn't be killed in his birthland).
Percy regains his memory as they race back to Camp Jupiter. Knowing that the camp is under attack, Percy takes charge and leads the Romans into battle with the help of some of his old friends from Camp Half-Blood and the Amazons. The morale of the Romans is recharged after discovering that Percy recovered the camp's lost standard, which had been missing for years. Percy then challenges the giant, Polybotes the giant born to oppose Neptune, to a duel and calls to Terminus, the Roman border god, to help him defeat the giant. He has been told that only when gods and demigods work together can the giants be defeated. Percy eventually defeats Polybotes by using the head of Terminus' statue as a weapon. The camp then name him a praetor, a leader of the Roman camp. The Greek demigods from Camp Half-Blood appear in the flying ship Argo II sailing towards the camp. The Romans argue over attacking the ship. As praetor, Percy orders them to hold their fire. If the Greeks attacked, he would be to blame, but he is not worried. With Frank and Hazel, he approaches his "other family".
- Percy Jackson: A demigod son of Poseidon or Neptune (Roman form), 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. 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 the doors of death. He succeeds and at the end of the book, leads the Roman camp into battle against Gaea's forces and is made Praetor by the campers. His memories are restored at around the middle of the book, as Percy drinks the gorgons' blood when he challenges Phineas.
- Frank Zhang, a son of Mars (Greek equivalent Ares). He is a Roman demigod at Camp Jupiter, a camp for Roman demigods. Frank has a crush on Hazel while she initially returns the same feelings for him.
- Hazel Levesque, an African-American girl who is Nico's stepsister and daughter of Pluto, the Roman equivalent of Hades. She has been resurrected by Nico since her death in 1942 at the age of 13, and is resurrected recently. She has a major crush on Frank Zhang. She is from the Roman training camp, Camp Jupiter. Hazel is somewhat shy but can be brave when she needs to be.
- 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 at the beginning. He is a Greek demigod whose sister, Bianca, is dead. He rescues Hazel, his half-sister, from the Fields of Asphodel, giving her a second chance.
- Reyna Avila Ramirez Arellano , daughter of Bellona, the Roman goddess of war, and Praetor of Camp Jupiter. It is found that Reyna and her sister Hylla are servants of the witch Circe. Annabeth Chase and Percy Jackson have washed ashore Circe's Island in The Sea of Monsters. They have released the pirates that Circe has turned into guinea pigs, and they have destroyed Circe's palace. Reyna and Hylla are taken captive and fight their way out. 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 critical acclaim. 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.
- "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". Rick Riordan Official Website. Retrieved January 29, 2012.