Sunday, October 27, 2013

The House of Hades

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

I have reviewed all the previous books by Rick Riordan concerning Percy Jackson. Links below.

The Heroes of Olympus:
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series:

Disclaimer: If you have not read this book yet and would like it remain unspoiled, DO NOT READ THIS BLOG POST. There are quite a few things I'd like to discuss that will be spoiler for those who have not read the book yet. ...a lot of things. I have needs. NEEDS.

Disclaimer: I'm not going to spend time rehashing things from previous books unless they are directly related to this book. If you want to know more about the series, I HAVE ALL OF THOSE OTHER LINKS WHERE I TALKED ABOUT THE BOOKS. GO READ THEM. NYEH.

An amazon summary to get away from all the hubbub above, "At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy's instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea's forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors from both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?" AMAZON LINK OF PREVIOUS BOOK SPOILERSSSS

So in the last book, The Mark of Athena, it left off with Annabeth recovering the lost statue of Athena before she went plunging into Tartarus with Percy. Hazel, Piper, Leo, Jason, Nico, and Frank were told to meet them on the other side of the doors of death.

That's the only recap I'm giving. BWAHAHAHA. ...unless it's relevant. JUST KIDDING.

In The House of Hades, there is Percy and Annabeth traveling through Tartarus; Hazel/Frank/Piper learning more of their powers, Leo having some issues (I'll really get into that later), Nico having issues (I'M GOING TO RIP THAT APART), and Jason being a waffle (by that I mean he waffles about making a choice).

Basically Percy/Annabeth have a horrendous romp through Tartarus while everyone above has a horrendous romp trying to get to the other side of the doors of death. There are some gods/titans/etc. that come into play which was pretty neat, but I mostly want to talk about the issues I had with the book.

Seriously, if you don't want anything spoiled, do not keep reading.

Let's start with Leo. Leo had some self doubt issues this book, but he was catapulted to Calypso's island (where Percy had been before) by Khione. As we all know, Calypso's curse is that she'll only get visitors (besides Gods) who are heroes that she's doomed to fall in love with but who will leave her. The island is also cursed to never accept a hero twice onto the island, he can only travel there once. Once Calypso has fallen in love with the hero, a raft is summoned that will take the hero to wherever he wants to go. Enter Leo. Leo lands on Calypso's island and they spend most of their time quarreling with each other. Leo tinkers around and makes different machines in the hopes to navigate off the island, which later turns into getting back on the island.

NOW, I have an issue with this because Rick Riordan suddenly seems hell bent on making all of his characters fall in love.

THEY DON'T NEED TO BE IN LOVE FOR IT TO BE A GOOD STORY. I THOUGHT YOU KNEW THAT BECAUSE RACHEL DARE (although she was courting Percy but LOL oracle has to remain a virgin so no love for her? That's still weird). Seriously, not every character has to fall in love and be in love. I understand that is a natural part of being seventeen(ish) but COME ON. I think it should qualify for a greek tragedy with everyone being in love with each other at all times.

Also, I was pretty irked by how much Leo was shown to change in that short amount of time just by 'falling in love' (I think he never admitted to it but it was pretty clear from his actions).

Which brings me nicely to Nico.

I don't know if Rick Riordan had this planned all along, but he kind of bumbled through it atrociously. Here goes.

Alright, so some background on Nico. In the first few books of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Nico seemed very emotionally involved with Percy's actions. It was a little weird, but the tie was made that Nico held Percy responsible for Bianca's death, he was also in emotional turmoil by the initial prophecy as he could have potentially fulfilled it, and he was very new to the Greek gods/goddesses being real. My understanding of that entire situation was that Nico idolized Percy, found out his idol was just a regular dude who also made mistakes and was more upset about all that.

How Nico was spun in The House of Hades, it turns out he's gay.


He has this meeting with Cupid where Cupid turns out to be kind of a malicious God (weird interpretation of love happens) and Nico is forced to admit that he had a crush on Percy. Nico tries to insist he's gotten over it, but he clearly hasn't from later actions in the book. Jason is witness to Nico's confession and has a thought like, "Oh, you know he's from the 1940's and they had a lot of gay oppression then" so he immediately understands Nico's fear. HOWEVER, Jason is like, "Dude it's okay. You can tell people," and Nico basically freaks out and insists that no one should ever know, etc.

I get it. I get trying to appeal to the current movement of the acceptance of LGBTQIA community, but I feel it's a bit wrong to suddenly turn one of your characters gay. To me, there wasn't any earlier indication at all that Nico could be gay, and this completely blew me out of the water. I usually pick up on that sort of thing. But in this book there was a servant to Cupid who was like "Yeah, I fell for a guy, why are you such a prude Jason?" and Jason is all "Whoops, no that's fine, I uh, oh hey Cupid!" There was a clear indication for the wind up and pitch for Nico's being gay, but it just felt so wrong to me. It still feels wrong.

However, I can't fault him for trying to let Nico be more of a real character with more dimensions. I think it's great that there is acceptance in the book, but I think it could have been done a lot more gracefully. If he wanted Nico to be gay, I think there were a lot more effective ways to go about it. A lot more.

I still could have gone the entire series of all of Percy Jackson's without ever knowing Nico's sexual preference. From the tone of the writing, it feels like an unnecessary detail that kind of blew up. Blech.

If someone could point me to a passage in any of the books where there is some indication of Nico being gay, I would love to read it to know that this was a pre-planned thing rather than trying to appeal to a more diverse reading population.

For now, I'm going to make sad faces at it.

...I feel like this book was really just a filler book to lead to the last book in this series.

...I'm mostly okay with it, but I'm more annoyed with the character development that's happening. Everyone is in love, everyone is freaked out, and the roman camp is kind of being whole heartedly ignored which was disappointing. There's a pivotal moment we see the roman camp, but it's one moment out of the entire book. Slightly obnoxious.


I am still eager for the next book, but I hold some hesitations.

There was a different element that Rick Riordan introduced in regards to fate. There are a handful of interesting moments where the point is raised of 'do you let fate decide what you will do and who you will be, or do you chose for yourself?' I thought that was a very neat aspect to introduce to have that kind of pointed out. I also think it would have been cool if he took it a step further and pointed out that many gods/goddesses/titans/giants/what have you ended up where they're at because of a choice they made long ago. They could always choose again.

Just a thought.

Happy reading!

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