The Lost Hero
Cover of first edition
|Cover artist||John Rocco|
|Series||The Heroes of Olympus (bk 1)|
|Genre||Fantasy, Greek and Roman mythology, young-adult novel|
|October 12, 2010 (hardcover, audiobook CD, Kindle/Nook)|
|Media type||Print (hardcover), audiobook CD, e-book|
|Pages||553 pp (56 chapters)|
|LC Class||PZ7.R4829 Los 2010|
|Preceded by||The Last Olympian|
|Followed by||The Son of Neptune|
The Lost Hero is a 2010 fantasy-adventure novel written by Rick Riordan and is based on Greek and Roman mythology. It is the first book in the series The Heroes of Olympus, the second series about demigods and Camp Half-Blood. It was preceded by the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, which focused solely on Greek mythology.
The book received generally positive reviews, and managed to win the Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2010 and landed on five bestseller lists, not including charts in the United Kingdom. The book is the first within the Percy Jackson universe to use Riordan's new style of writing, third person narration, where the point of view switches between the main characters: Jason, Piper, and Leo.
After realizing how many Greek and Roman myths he had left untouched as well the immense success of the original series, Riordan began writing a second series, using inspiration for his storyline from experiences that he and his children had while playing video and role-playing games such as World of Warcraft and Scion. After creating the storyline, Riordan created three new main characters—Jason, Piper, and Leo—but continued to use the previous main characters such as Annabeth and Grover as secondary characters. Unlike the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series which uses first-person narration solely from Percy's point of view, the second series is told in third-person, with the point of view alternating between various main characters. In The Lost Hero, those characters are Jason, Piper, and Leo. Although initially uncertain how fans would react, Riordan later found that they enjoyed the new format, as it allowed them to learn more about each character.
The novel begins on December 17, 2009, several months after the events of The Last Olympian, which concluded in August. This allowed continuity with the first series, so previous characters could be included and readers would not be confused. Riordan says that "it was my way of letting them revisit that world in a fresh twist, but also to catch up with Percy and Annabeth and the rest of the gang from the first series". He also decided to include the Roman gods after many readers requested that Riordan write a new series on Roman gods, who are the Roman equivalent of the Greek gods, with some minor changes in personality. He pondered on how the Roman aspect of the gods would be after moving from Greece to Rome to America. After a while, "playing with that idea gave me the idea for the new series".
Release and promotion
The novel was first released in the United States on October 12, 2010: the hardcover had a 2.5 million copy first printing, and audiobook and e-book formats were also released. Riordan has stated that he intends to finish a new book in the series every year, completing it in 2014.
Before The Lost Hero was released, Disney-Hyperion released several sneak peeks in an effort to build up publicity for the books release. This included releasing a preview of the first two chapters of the book as well as releasing the book cover. Along with the excerpt, Disney-Hyperion released information about the series and characters, a book trailer, and an event kit.
To celebrate the release of the book, a release party took place at BookPeople in Austin, Texas. The party began at 4 pm with over 800 visitors including Riordan himself. The party featured food, races, and rock climbing. Afterward, over 10,000 joined Riordan on an online webchat where he read the first two chapters and answered questions from the fans. He then signed one copy of the book and announced "that seven 'lucky demigods' will be selected in a sweepstakes to attend an exclusive one-week session at Camp Half-Blood at Bookpeople in July 2011".
As the book starts, Jason Grace awakens on a school bus, unable to remember who or where he is, or anything about his past. He is sitting next to Piper McLean and Leo Valdez, who know him by name and say they are his girlfriend and best friend respectively. All three are part of a class field trip to the Grand Canyon, and after they arrive, a classmate Dylan turns into a Venti (Storm Spirit) and attacks the trio and their trip leader, Coach Gleeson Hedge. In the ensuing fight, Jason surprises everyone, including himself, when his Gold coin turns into a sword which he uses to battle the storm spirit. During the fight, Coach Hedge revealed himself as a satyr and was captured by the spirits as they fled. Soon after the fight, a flying chariot appears in order to save the three, but one of the people in it, Annabeth Chase, is upset when she discovers that her boyfriend, Percy Jackson, who mysteriously disappeared, is not there as she expected. Annabeth, seeking Percy, was told in a vision from the goddess Hera to look there for the "guy with one shoe", but this turns out to be Jason, who lost his shoe due to the storm spirit attack. Jason, Piper, and Leo are told that they are demigods and are taken back to Camp Half-Blood where they meet other Greek demigod children like themselves.
There, Leo is revealed as a son of Hephaestus, Piper as a daughter of Aphrodite and Jason as a son of Jupiter, though Hera tells him he is her champion. In the Aphrodite cabin, Piper is horrified to discover that the head councilor, Drew, is abusing her position as well as rare gift of charmspeaking (which Piper also possesses) to take advantage of the other Aphrodite campers. In the Hephaestus cabin, it is revealed that Leo has the rare ability to conjure fire (a power that has not been seen for centuries), but does not use nor tell anyone about it out of guilt about his mother's death seven years prior. Meanwhile, Jason finds out about his sister Thalia Grace. She is the demigod daughter of Zeus and is a Hunter of Artemis. Shortly after they arrive, the three are given a quest to rescue Hera. In the woods, Leo discovers a mechanical bronze dragon (made by the Hephaestus campers long ago) that he names Festus (Happy) and starts to repair him. Piper, Jason, and Leo soon discover that their enemies are working under orders from Gaea to overthrow the gods. Thalia and Jason meet each other again for the first time ever since Jason was captured by Hera when he was an infant.
On the way to Aeolus's castle, Jason, Leo, and Piper become separated from Thalia, who says she will return and meet them at the Wolf House, the last place Thalia had seen Jason before this meeting. After almost being imprisoned by Aeolus under Gaea's orders, the trio manage to escape thanks to Mellie, Aeolus's former assistant, and end up in San Francisco, thanks to the result of a dream Piper had with Aphrodite. After landing in San Francisco, the trio rush to Mount Diablo to fight the giant Enceladus, who captured Piper's father. They manage to kill the giant with the help of Zeus sending a thunderbolt and save Piper's father(Tristan McLean), after which they rush to the Wolf House to free Hera.
Although the heroes and the Hunters save Hera, the king of the giants, Porphyrion, rises fully; Hera's energy was being used to raise him, and disappears into a hole in the Earth to escape Hera as she uses her power to destroy the monsters around her. Back at Camp Half-Blood, Jason's memory then starts returning, and he remembers that he is a hero from Camp Jupiter, a camp for Roman demigods, and is the son of Jupiter, Zeus's Roman counterpart. Meanwhile, Piper challenges Drew and after a brief power-struggle is made the new Aphrodite counsellor. Leo shows the Hephaestus campers (along with Jason and Piper) bunker nine, revealing his fire powers along the way. In bunker nine, he shows them plans for a ship that would sail to Greece, and the Hephaestus campers decide to undergo the project, also appointing Leo to be their new counsellor. Jason realizes that Hera, also known as Juno, has switched him with Percy Jackson, who will be at Camp Jupiter with amnesia, in the hopes that the two camps would become allies and seven demigods will defeat Gaea and the giants together.
Child of lightning, beware the earth,
The giants' revenge
the seven shall birth,
The forge and dove shall break the cage,
And death unleash through Hera's rage.
- Jason is Jupiter's/Zeus's son who must beware Gaea (the earth goddess) waking from her sleep.
- Gaea's children (giants) are rising for revenge on the gods. This shall bring the seven demigods together.
- The forge, a child of Hephaestus (Leo) and the dove, a child of Aphrodite (Piper) freed Hera from her prison.
- All the monsters in the Wolf House were killed (and Jason nearly was) when Hera showed her divine form.
The Second Great Prophecy
Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall,
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.
- Seven half-bloods from Camp Half Blood and Camp Jupiter will come together (Percy, Annabeth, Jason, Leo, Piper, Frank, and Hazel).
- A storm or a fire will destroy the world (Leo destroys Gaea with a fire).
- One of the seven will make an oath that is kept until their last breath. Leo vows to return to Ogygia. Leo dies in the explosion that kills Gaea. He is revived thanks to the Physician's Cure. (This also could have been to bring back Festus.)
- Demigods, a giant, and a titan will free the Doors of Death.
- Jason Grace: A demigod son of Jupiter. Jason suffers amnesia at the beginning of the book and is inclined to call the gods by their Roman names. He owns a coin that turns into a sword or a lance depending upon heads or tails, although it is destroyed during their quest. He is 15 years old and Thalia Grace's younger brother, although Thalia was born under the Greek aspect of Zeus while Jason was born under the Roman aspect, Jupiter. Jason was offered to Hera as a champion at the age of two, which later provoked Thalia to run away from home. Before the start of the book, he lived in Camp Jupiter, the Roman counterpart to Camp Half-Blood. He harbors feelings for Piper McLean, but at the end of the book it is hinted that he was romantically involved with a girl named Reyna before.
- Piper McLean: A demigod daughter of Aphrodite and Tristan McLean, a Cherokee movie star. She is Jason Grace's girlfriend and has a dagger named Katoptris, previously wielded by Helen of Troy. She also has the rare gift of charmspeak, the ability to persuade anybody to do anything. She is 15 years old and her eyes change color from green to brown to blue. She has choppy, uneven brown hair that she cuts herself, refusing to make it neat.
- Leo Valdez: A demigod son of Hephaestus and Esperanza Valdez. Leo claims to be Jason's best friend at the beginning of the book, and although that was a trick of the Mist, he and Jason do become good friends as they get to know each other on their quest. He has a magical tool belt that will produce any tool he requests that can be found in an average mechanical shop. Leo repaired the bronze dragon Festus. He can also create fire from nothing, a rare ability sometimes given to Hephaestus's children. He had a crush on Khione, the goddess of snow, and on Thalia Grace, Jason's elder sister.
- Gleeson Hedge: A satyr who was assigned to watch over two demigods, Piper and Leo, until they could be safely brought to Camp Half-Blood, and suddenly has to guard a third, Jason. He is taken captive after saving Leo's life twice, and later watches over Piper's father after he is rescued. Gleeson is first mentioned in The Last Olympian in a letter to Grover Underwood.
- Annabeth Chase: A demigod daughter of Athena. She rescues Jason, Piper, and Leo while on the search for her missing boyfriend, Percy Jackson.
Upon release, The Lost Hero was a No. 1 bestseller on The New York Times bestseller list, USA Today bestseller list, The Wall Street Journal bestseller list, the Publishers Weekly bestseller list, and on United Kingdom bestseller charts. As of January 30, 2011, The Lost Hero has been on The New York Times best seller list for 14 weeks, ranked at number 1.
The Lost Hero received mostly positive reviews from critics and fans. Publishers Weekly gave The Lost Hero a favorable review, and stated that "Riordan's storytelling is as polished as ever, brimming with wit, action, and heart". The novel received a mixed review from Vicky Smith of Kirkus Reviews, who wrote that the "Greek-vs.-Roman tension tantalizes" and that "incidental details that bring the gods into the story often shine." However, she also noted that there are "far too many pages of stretched-out action, telling not showing and awkward dialogue" and believed that only the die-hard fans would enjoy the book. She said that "unless Riordan tightens things up considerably by number five, they may find themselves hoping that it does not end with a third Great Prophecy". The Seattle Times's Karen Macpherson called the Greek and Roman mix "fascinating" and also said that the "characters are interesting and well-developed, and the richly complex story has Riordan's trademark wry humor and nearly nonstop action". Kidsreads, on the other hand, gave a mixed review, stating "I always learn something new whenever I read these books, and it certainly helps that I laugh along the way. You’re not going to want to miss this one!" but also comments on the confusing plot line, commenting that "This time, they cross over to Roman mythology, and the sometimes-blurred lines between the two cultures are examined in closer detail." The book also received a positive review from The Epoch Times, which said "If anyone was afraid that Riordan couldn’t top his Percy Jackson series—they can quit worrying. This new series, even though in the same genre as the Percy Jackson group, has fresh ideas, more mystery and magic and keeps the reader engrossed from start to finish." 
The Lost Hero won the Junior Young Reader's Choice Award in 2013.
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- "The Lost Hero Sneek Peek". Retrieved June 19, 2012.
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- Vicky Smith (October 15, 2010). "Rick Riordan's The Lost Hero". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved October 22, 2010.
- Macpherson, Karen (October 29, 2010). "Riordan's new book 'Lost Hero' mixes in mythology". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 30, 2010.
- Boche, Benjamin (October 12, 2010). "Kidsreads review of the Lost Hero". The Lost Hero: The Heroes of Olympus, Book One. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- Chasteen, Patricia (December 14, 2010). "The Epoch Times Book Review". Book Review: The Lost Hero. The Epoch Times. Retrieved July 12, 2012.