lost heroRick Riordan is the absolute king of middle grade literature involving modern youth interacting with ancient deities. Percy Jackson and the Olympians remains as popular as ever, and Riordan’s Kane Chronicles series, which focuses on Egyptian mythology, is another perennial favorite. Percy Jackson and Kane respectively have recently enjoyed well received graphic versions and it was only a matter of time before Riordan’s third series, The Heroes of Olympus, was treated to an adaptation as well.

Where Percy introduces readers to a world where the Greek gods still exist and produce half blood children with mortals, Heroes takes Riordan’s premise one step further, attempting to introduce the Roman pantheon alongside their Greek counterparts. Jason, the protagonist of The Lost Hero, wakes up on a bus with no memories of who he is or how he got there. Alongside Jason is Leo Valdez, who claims to be Jason’s best friend. Jason also finds himself holding hands with Piper McClean, who says she is his girlfriend. Worse, the three are on a field trip with their school, which is an academy for juvenile delinquents.

When the trio is attacked by a bully that turns out to be a monster from Tartarus, Jason instinctively defeats him, and it is revealed that he, Leo, and Piper are half bloods. However, not only is Jason instinctively aware of his gift, but he also refers to the Greek gods by their Roman names—a quirk that perplexes Olympians’ Annabeth Chase when she arrives to claim the three for Camp Half Blood while searching for her missing boyfriend, Percy Jackson.

As usual, Riordan’s heroes rarely stay at their camp for long before embarking on a quest. Several characters from Olympians make appearances, as well as lesser known gods from Greek and Roman mythology. Jason’s identity is the big mystery. Piper and Leo harbor secrets of their own, but they mostly take a back seat to the globetrotting action. Those hoping for the fleshed out back stories of Jason’s cohorts as seen in the original novel may be disappointed. However, the inclusion of cameos by other characters from the Olympians series will keep fans connected.

While the artwork for the launch of the graphic version of this Riordan series isn’t bad, it felt inconsistent. Initially, characters’ expressions appear stiff when compared to the situation in which the characters are involved. Leo Valdez is the clear exception here, as his grin always appears appropriately mischievous as his character presents itself. Still, character appearances seem to vary from panel to panel. For instance, Annabeth appears physically larger on some panels than others. However, most of this improves as the pages turn. Notably, the coloring does a great job of setting the mood for each trial the characters face, though it sometimes suffers from too much shadowing and darkness. This could be due to the fact that several scenes take place at night or in a cave. Either way, out of the three adaptations of the Riordan series, the artwork for The Heroes of Olympus lacks the richness of the other two.

Likely, none of these quibbles will inhibit the built-in fan base from reaching for this volume the minute it hits the shelves. Librarians already know that Riordan’s books are a hot commodity and that this graphic novel belongs on shelves everywhere.

The Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero, Book 1
by Rick Riordan, Robert Venditti
Art by Nate Powell
ISBN: 9781423163251
Disney-Hyperion, 2014
Publisher Age Rating: Ages 10-14

  • Jessikah Chautin

    Past Reviewer

    This reviewer is not longer actively working on our site, but we would not be here if not for our many dedicated contributors over the years. We thank all of them for their reviews, features, and support! Jessikah graduated with her MLS from The Palmer School of Library Science and has been working at the Syosset Public Library as a children’s librarian since 2003. She enthusiastically developed a children’s graphic novel collection for her library and enjoys developing programs around some of her favorite titles. As a child, Jessikah grew up on a healthy diet of Matsumoto, Toriyama and whatever anime series she could find. She often had a hard time deciding if she would prefer to be recruited as a Mahou Shoujo (Magical Girl) or a Gundam Pilot, a debate that still plagues her to this very day. If she could have any power it would definitely be telekinesis.

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