WarningMight contain spoilers.

As much as I liked The Lost Hero, this is what I was waiting for. Jason is a bit bland compared to Percy: he’s the archetypical perfect leader. His character arc isn’t about change or growth but restoring his memory. It’s not just that we’ve spent more time with Percy, either. Where Jason woke up next to friends at Camp Half-Blood, Percy’s journey begins with struggling just to survive and find safety, while neither his family nor Annabeth know where he’s been. His broken state at the beginning of the story, his prayer to his father, and all his memories of Annabeth are heartwrenching.

Of course, despite how grim the circumstances might seem, we all knew Jason’s concerns about how the Romans would receive him were misplaced. This is Percy Jackson we’re talking about, after all. When he falls off a cliff in the midst of battling an army on his own, he just calmly climbs back up and waits for his friends to come back.

Stheno’s free samples and the karpoi’s arguments over who will rule are hilarious. So are Iris’s ROFLcopters.

The Roman campers are generally a little bland compared to the Greeks. Octavian is such a straightforward and undisguised villain compared to Luke. Reyna is interesting but at the same time uncomplicated. (First she’s rejected by Jason, then she’s rejected by Percy. Is this all she’ll ever get to do?) Dakota and Gwen are placeholders. Frank and Hazel are the exceptions to the rule—and even then, I feel for Hazel, whose life is hardly simple, but Frank is still more interesting.

The scale of the series feels larger than that of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The covers are atrocious, though. I also can’t help noticing that four out of the six protagonists have a dark and terrible secret. In all fairness, it does make for a good story, and, apart from Frank’s secret, it’s Gaia’s doing.

Since the demigods fought each other in the American Civil War, I assume that means one side and its gods were fighting for slavery.

Next in series: (#3 in Thoughts & Spoilers: Books: Heroes of Olympus (2010))