Friday, 7 November 2014

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

So, before I begin, let me tell you a story. I’m not a person who really knows how to control my emotions. Nope, not the usual kinds of emotions, but the one when you get too excited and too happy that you just forget about the other people around you. Well, that’s me. I saw this book in the bookstore, almost one month after the book came out, and I literally screamed and ran towards it while shoving my friend (as if she didn’t exist) like a madman because I was that happy. So… let’s forget about that now, shall we?

The Blood of Olympus is the fifth and final book from the Heroes of Olympus pentalogy. In this book, the seven demigods, Percy, Annabeth, Jason, Piper, Frank, Hazel, and Leo also the trio, Reyna, Nico, and Coach Hedge the Satyr, are in the final quest to save the Earth from the waking Gaia, the primordial goddess of the Earth. If Gaia wakes up, we can say ‘yasas’ to the planet (that’s ‘goodbye’ in Greek). While the seven demigods are trying to get to somewhere in the Greek mainland to fight Gaia, Reyna, Nico, and Hedge are struggling to bring back the statue of Athena Parthenos back to Camp Half-Blood as a sign of truce between the Roman side and the Greek side of the demigods and prevent a destructive war. Will they ever succeed? Also, the book has a side (a major side for me, at least) of Leo trying to get back to Ogygia, where the love of his life, Calypso is trapped due to her curse. Will he ever succeed in getting another kiss from Calypso?

Anyway, as always, the author, Rick Riordan, wrote the story with flair that is just so amazing, weaving humour, sass, suspense, adventure, emotions, and educational stuff in a book 500 pages long I admit, I’m no Percy, heck, I’m not even Piper… I can’t hold this book for an extended amount of time. It takes a lot of energy from me! You open one page and you’ll laugh out loud (especially when it’s Leo who speaks). Open another, and for five pages straight, you’ll scream “Fight! Fight! Fight!” as you yearn to know what will happen to the characters (Will they die? Will they kill the monsters?). Open yet another page, and be ready to be sucked into a wormhole of emotions as the heart falls from the chest due to really emotional scenes between the characters (and there are so many of them, which I love, since you can never put aside humanity from the young ones). It’s a fun book, really. You’ll even learn so many things about Greek or Roman myths. That’s why I love Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series. The myths are the integral parts of the story. Rick Riordan doesn’t shove them in your head like… well, like a History book.

Still, I wish there are POVs from Percy. The book doesn’t have that. It is sad since I fanboy over him like a lot. Also, I wish Rick Riordan added at least another 25 pages to make the Gaia scene in Camp Half-Blood more electrifying and scary and well, more fights, since she’s Gaia, the primordial goddesses. It feels short to me, the demigods fight with Gaia. But all in all, the book is a great read. The characters? They are always the best.

The friendship in the book, they are all believable, and the support and love and faith they give and get from one another prove to be the catalyst for them to go all the way in the quest. I’ll say these things about the characters:

Percy – Percy, Percy, Percy. You know I’m always smitten with your goofiness and clumsiness. NO ONE, AND I MEAN THIS AND NO MORTALS SHALL EVER DO THIS, no one can ever hate you. Percy has always been protective of his friend, but he never has any qualms on keeping the wrong things he has done to himself. He shares his mistakes because it’s the right thing to do. He is remorseful of all the faults he made before, and he tries to mend them. If one thing, the traumatising experience in Tartarus changes Percy for the better. In a way, Percy is much more humanised, if I may say so. Percy is as strong as the waves over the ocean, but he still knows that he can never succeed without this friends. No one in literary fiction can ever outdo Percy. Hands up!

Annabeth – One badass demigod with an ocean of knowledge and a knack of logic and martial arts, don’t mess with Annabeth, the daughter of Athena. Annabeth has always been one of my favourite female characters, and I don’t think I’m farfetched to say this: she’s one of the best representations of female in literature in young adult fictions. She has brawn, she has brain, and her spirit shines bright. She’s Percy’s beacon, she’s the guiding light of everyone else in Argo II. Like all humans, she has her weak points, but she never lets her weaknesses to be barriers to her life. She crushes them like she crushes giants.

Jason – Let me confess, I didn’t like Jason the first time I met him. He seems so… stiff, rigid. It is like he doesn’t know what he is supposed to be. I’m glad to say that Jason, after five books, you have climbed up my ranking of characters. You starts to excel in the House of Hades, and in the Blood of Olympus, you are, what can I say, a kickass guy who learns that your heart is the greatest weapon and ally you have (well, besides the fact that you are the son of Jupiter). Jason shows us his flaw in this book, and honestly, I pitied him like a lot (and I never expected I would). He develops so much in this book, I feel like he should have his own book now. I admire Jason for who he is, his steadfastness and his trust in all his comrades.

Piper – Piper is a beautiful girl. Enough said… if you only look on the outside. She wants to prove to the world that good looks are not the only thing that she has, she wants to show you that clouding your judgments with the things on the outside is a wrong thing to do. Within her, Piper has the power to carve the road that she wants to take. Her destiny lies in her own hands. She is quiet gale that will sweep you away with the slightest force.

Frank – From a big kid, to a still big but now buff Roman Praetor, Frank’s tremendous change also echoes the change in his faith to himself. He used to be insecure, thinking that he is going to die anytime, his lifeline literally burning like slow combusting coals, but Frank then gains all the confidence he needs to know that life is not about worrying all the time. It’s about living it in ways that will make it more meaningful at every single moment. Having a well-toned body helps too.

Hazel – The daughter of Hades has the power to bend the mist according to her will. It’s a good thing, although unfortunately before this, she is not that willing on having her feelings in check. Fortunately, in this book, Hazel learns to not confuse herself over guys. Well that’s good since she has great powers, like super dangerous powers that can even confuse Gods and other creatures, and she’s way better with it now. Go, magic girl!

Leo – This kiddo! This damn little scrawny skinny fuck-ass git! Why on earth why?! You are sloppy, you know how to blow stuff and ironically, you make stuff too, you are such a clumsy, clumsy, clumsy kid, and only know how to make bad jokes (that are admittedly funny) 24 hours a day, seven days a week… and then you just… just… ugh!!! You brave, brave boy. You think you are a coward, you think you are the seventh wheel, let me tell you, if you are alive and kicking in front of me, I’ll scream at you and say “Get fucking over it! You’re the most badass best boy out there!” Live your life with Calypso. Go, go, go!

Reyna – In this book, we get chapters from her POV. I was rather apprehensive in the beginning, but boy, I love that we get that. Reyna is a strong character. Even with a troubled past, she managed to get through it (well, sort of) and be who she is today. She doesn’t let her past to determine her future. Her sisterly bond with Nico? It’s cute. I like it that she has someone whom she can trust, especially on her history. Reyna is always about putting other people first. She believes in the goodness in other people’s hearts, and in the end, that faith frees her own soul from being chained to guilt.

Nico – Another child of Hades, and Nico, let’s start with how much I adore you. You are always left in the dark, being all alone. You think it’s because the others think that you’re a bit of a freak, you know with you being the son of the God of the Underworld and all, but then you realise that you don’t have to be invisible. You step out into the light and be happy. You overcome your fears of not being accepted, of being alone. I’m so proud of you Nico. Not to mention, you now have sass too. You go, di Angelo!

So, this marks the end of the Camp Half-Blood world. There is no going there again. Percy Jackson and his friends may still need to fight occasionally, but for now they will save their weapons in a good place while living their lives normally. I guess that’s a good thing about it, you know, imagining that your characters have a good future to look forward too. They must have had enough wars for a lifetime. Me? I’m just going to go to the shower so that I can cry. Farewell Percy Jackson and the Gang. It’s been good knowing you all this time.

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