Jason – Son of Jupiter. Jupiter is the Roman aspect of Zeus. When the book opens, he has no memory of who he is, and he thinks that Leo is his best friend, Piper is his girlfriend, and the Wilderness School where he is at is his school. We learn almost immediately from Coach that this is not the case. Jason, slowly over the course of the book comes to realize a few things, but not much. We do know that he thinks of all mythology in terms of the Roman pantheon and that he speaks Latin instead of Greek. He comes to like Piper and Leo truly becomes his best friend. After rescuing Hera, we learn that he is one of the seven from Rachel’s great prophecy (yep, the one told at the end of the Last Olympian). And he has been exchanged – most likely with Percy. So that he can help unite the two camps of demigods to fight the latest big evil – Mother Earth and her giants.
Piper McLean – A daughter of Aphrodite. She has the ability to charm speak. She also likes Jason. She learns that she will be the mediator between the campers when they do unite. She likes Annabeth and it appears that they may become good friends. She has angered the former cabin leader, Drew, for when she returns from the quest she challenges for cabin leadership and wins. Drew warns that
Leo – Son of Hephaestus. He has the very rare ability to summon and control and be immune to fire. His mother was killed in a fire when he was younger which was started, really, by Gaea (Mother Earth, Mother to the Titans). He has a magical tool belt, found the mysterious Bunker 9 and is wonderful at creating things.
Thalia – Jason’s sister. They shared the same mother – who imagined Zeus in his Greek form before Thalia was born and in his Roman form with Jason. This is really rare for one mortal to have two demigod children by the same God but in different forms. Thalia thought Jason was dead but recognizes Jason when they meet. She helps Jason win this particular battle and set Hera free.
Annabeth – Same Annabeth from the Percy Jackson books. She is looking for Percy who went missing at the same time Jason showed up with Piper and Leo. She still doesn’t like Hera (and Hera isn’t her biggest fan either). She appears to be needed in the quest that will be coming to defeat Mother Earth and the giants.
Coach Hedge – a satyr who was protecting Leo and Piper before Jason arrived. Helps out throughout the book. In the end, is working for Piper’s dad.
Chiron, Clarisse, and all the other campers from Camp Half-Blood from the Percy series.
Main Premise: Jason at first doesn’t know who he is. Turns out he is a son of Zeus – or really, Jupiter. He, Theo and Piper have to head out on a quest to save Hera. On the way, they meet giants and Khione, the goddess of snow. Turns out Khione was keeping the giant who held Piper’s father informed and she is working against the demigods. The trio also meets Boreas the North Wind in Quebec, a bunch of cyclopes, Medea (in an underground creepy department store that she runs, but the Trio blows up), King Midas who turns Piper and Leo into stone and Jason has to trick Midas so they can get free. They meet the original werewolf (plus a pack of them) and the Lord of the Winds, Aeolus. The group, with the help of the Hunters and Thalia save both Piper’s dad and Hera, but not before Porphyrion rises and disappears. They stall Gaea from rising, they don’t stop it. Jason remembers part of what it means to be a Roman demigod and the other campers learn a bit about it too – including why San Francisco is usually not a place where the Greek demigods want to go – that is where the Roman camp is located. And many years ago the Gods decided to split the two “camps” (lol!) and keep them separate and ignorant of each other.
Other Important Things to Remember for Later: Jason has a coin that turns into a sword. Piper has a dagger, Katoptris, which was previously never used in battle and was once wielded by Helen of Toy. Leo repaired a bronze dragon, which he named Festus, and was destroyed. His father sent the dragon’s head back to camp. Leo had a drawing returned to him that he drew when he was little. The drawing is of a boat – with a mast head just like Festus’ head, and the bunker has a very similar drawing. The campers realize they need to build the boat, under Leo’s leadership, and travel to Greece. After meeting their Roman counter-parts of course.
Review: The most frustrating issue with this book (and the series that it’s not related to – but is) is that the author doesn’t really do subtly well. The premise is a good one – in fact, I love that there will be a tie in to the Roman mythology. So often that pantheon gets ignored. I expect it to be a wonderful way to tie the two pantheon’s together. But, the fact that the author, and some of the characters, appear to know more then we do but we don’t get the information – hits us over the head repeatedly. All this by Chiron – “You should be dead… but I can’t tell you anything” and Jason having feelings but remembering nothing and Hera dropping hints about an exchange but not telling anything more… and then, when Chiron at the end, despite his swearing on the river Styx spills a lot of the info, but not all of it? Well, it’s a little tiring.
And, why not just say the books are all part of the same series? We get the sense that we will see Percy at some point since he’s part of the exchange.
The relationships were written, I think, better in this installment. We get more of a feeling that Piper and Jason should like each other. Leo’s reaction as the third in the trio where there is a couple is more natural and works a little better then Grover/Annabeth-Percy. And Leo’s dialogue, especially when he’s joking around, is great comic relief.
The battle scenes are a little tough to read sometimes, like in the prior books (except the last one) since we know that the heros are all going to survive since there is the bigger prophecy to deal with. So, in some ways they feel disposable. Necessary to set up the big showdown that will eventually be coming, and to establish who is on which side, but they aren’t exactly edge of the seat battles since we know the three main heroes are all going to survive.
Still, I liked it. I am looking forward to the Son of Neptune. I need to brush up on my Roman mythology though – since I am more familiar with the Greek mythology and didn’t feel as surprised when the Greek versions of the myths were discussed.