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The Lost Hero is a 2010 fantasy-adventure novel based on Greek and Roman mythology written by author Rick Riordan. It is the first book in the series The Heroes of Olympus, the sequel to the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, which focused solely on Greek mythology. It was released on October 12, 2010.
Origins and development
Riordan began writing a second series after realizing how many Greek and Roman myths he hadn’t been able to explore and twist into tales for modern-day readers in the first series. After creating the storyline, Riordan created three new main characters, Jason, Piper and Leo though still made the previous main characters, Percy, Annabeth and Grover secondary characters. The narrative is told from a third person alternating between the three characters. Although initially nervous, Riordan later found that fans enjoyed the new format which allowed them to learn more of each character.
Riordan set the book two to three months after the events of The Last Olympian so that previous characters could be involved and so readers wouldn't be confused. He says that "it was my way of letting them revisit that world in a fresh twist, but also to catch up with Percy and Annabeth and the rest of the gang from the first series." He also decided to add in the Roman gods after many readers requested for Riordan to write a new series on Roman gods, who were actually just the Greek gods with a few differences. After such requests, he began to think how the Roman aspect of the gods would be after moving from Greece to America. After a while, "playing with that idea gave me the idea for the new series."
The Lost Hero uses concepts from ancient Greek and Roman mythology in a modern setting. The story is narrated by Jason Grace, then Piper McLean, then Leo Valdez repeatedly, each character telling two chapters. The book has 56 chapters.
Jason is a boy who suffers from amnesia. He wakes up on a bus, sitting next to Piper, a girl claiming to be his girlfriend, and a boy, Leo Valdez, who claims to be his best friend. In a field trip to the Grand Canyon, storm spirits attack the three while their supervising teacher, Coach Gleeson Hedge, reveals himself to be a satyr, and fights for their lives. Jason surprises himself by using a sword disguised as a coin to fight off the spirits, and Coach Hedge is captured while defending them. At the height of the battle, two pegasi land next to them carrying strangers: Annabeth and a boy with a tattoo of a rainbow named Butch. Annabeth gets angry because she had a vision that she would find a clue to her missing boyfriend, Percy Jackson, at the Grand Canyon. She was told to look for the "one with the missing shoe." Jason, who has lost a shoe in the battle, has no memories of his own identity, let alone Percy Jackson's whereabouts. Jason, Piper and Leo are informed that they are demigods, (children of a god and a mortal) and are taken back to Camp-Half Blood where they meet other demigod children like themselves. There, Leo is revealed as a son of Hephaestus, Piper as a daughter of Aphrodite, and Jason as a son of Jupiter, (note the Roman, not Greek, nomenclature). After scarcely 24 hours learning about their previously hidden identities, the three receive an urgent quest to rescue Hera, queen of the gods, who was captured by unnamed forces. The three friends set off on the back of a giant robotic dragon Festus on a cross-country quest to save Hera and Piper's father from the clutches of giants and Khione. Their enemies are under orders from Gaea to reawaken her and overthrow the Olympic gods. On their way, Jason, Piper and Leo meet Boreas the North Wind (who lives in the Château Frontenac), a trio of cyclopes, the evil enchantress Medea, King Midas, a pack of werewolves and the very unhelpful Lord of the Winds Aeolus. In the end the heroes and their friends, the Hunters of Artemis, manage to save both and Piper's father and Hera, and temporarily stall Gaea's plans—but they will have to face the giants again. With part of his memory returned, Jason realizes that he is a hero from a Roman counterpart to Camp Half-Blood somewhere near San Francisco, and that Hera has switched him with the Greek hero Percy Jackson, who is now at the Roman camp with no memory of his life at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman and Greek demigods must unite to provide the prophesied group of seven heroes who will defeat the giants. Jason, Piper, Leo and Annabeth have to find the Roman camp and convince them to help.
- Jason Grace: One of the main protagonists; A demigod who suffers amnesia at the beginning of the book and calls everything by their Roman name. He owns a coin that turns into a lance or sword. It is revealed that he is Thalia Grace's younger brother, as they have the same mother, but they share no similarities in their appearances, other than their blue eyes. When Jason was two years old, he was taken from his mother and sister by Hera, and Thalia ran away from home shortly after that. A demigod son of Zeus, also known as Jupiter in Roman mythology. It is also made known that he came from a Roman version of Camp-Half Blood before he lost his memory. This counterpart to Camp Half-Blood is located near San Francisco, California, which is also known to house the now-toppled Mount Othrys (Mount Tamalpais).
- Piper McLean: A demigod daughter of Aphrodite and a Cherokee movie star. At the beginning of the book, Piper claims to be Jason's girlfriend. She has a dagger named Katoptris, previously wielded by Helen of Troy, that can show more than the holder's reflection. She also has the gift of charmspeak, the ability to persuade anybody to do anything. Few children of Aphrodite have had this ability, and none are living in her time that can match her in power.
- Leo Valdez: A demigod son of Hephaestus. Leo claims to be Jason's best friend at the beginning of the book. He has a magical toolbelt that will produce any tool he thinks of. Leo Valdez repaired the bronze dragon. He can also create fire from nothing, a rare ability given to Hephaestus's children.
- Festus: A mechanical bronze dragon. He appeared previously in The Demigod Files. He helped Leo, Jason, and Piper until he fell in Omaha, Nebraska.
- Gleeson Hedge: A satyr or faun who was meant to watch over two demigods (Piper and Leo). He is taken captive after saving Leo's life twice. He was mentioned in The Last Olympian in a letter to Grover Underwood.
- Hera: The goddess of marriage and Zeus's wife. Also known as Juno in Roman mythology.
- Gaea: The goddess of the earth, and the mother of all living things. The mastermind behind Hera's imprisonment. She has also been dealing with Midas and Medea, whom they encounter in Omaha, Nebraska and Chicago, Illinois.
- Percy Jackson: A demigod son of Poseidon, who was the protagonist in the first Camp Half-Blood series. By the time Jason, Piper and Leo encounter storm spirits at the Grand Canyon, he has been missing for three days. It is later revealed that he and Jason have been swapped, causing both their memories to be repressed and Percy to be sent to the Roman version of Camp Half-Blood, from which Jason originally came. Understandably, Annabeth is anything but happy with this news.
- Annabeth Chase: A 16 year-old demigod daughter of Athena, who was a main character from the first series. She first appears in a chariot with a demigod named Butch, looking for her boyfriend, Percy Jackson. Instead, she finds three demigods; Jason, Piper and Leo. She brings them to camp and helps Piper choose a weapon. She continues her search for Percy throughout the book. Later, she learns that Percy has been switched with Jason and has been brought to the Roman camp in California and has no memory of who he is. She vows to accompany Jason, Piper and Leo on their next quest to retrieve Percy and to ask the Roman demigods to help them defeat the giants.
After its release, The Lost Hero was a #1 bestseller on The New York Times bestseller list, USA Today bestseller list, The Wall Street Journal bestseller list, IndieBound bestseller list, and on the bestseller charts for the United Kingdom.
The book was first released as a hardcover in the United States on October 12, 2010. The audiobook and e-book were released simultaneously with the hardcover. Disney gave the book a 2.5 million first printing. Prior to the release, the website was opened which had an exert, information about the series and characters, a book trailer and an event kit. Riordan plans to release a new book every year, finishing the series in 2014. Shortly after the release, the sixth character was revealed on the Heroes of Olympus series's official website.
Prior to its release, Riordan released the first two chapters and the book's cover on the series website.
To celebrate the release of the book, a release party took place at BookPeople in Austin, Texas. The party began at 4 pm with over 800 visitors including Riordan himself. The party had food, races and rock climbing. Afterward, over 10,000 joined Riordan on an online-webchat where he read the first two chapters and answered questions from the fans. He then signed one copy of the book and announced "that seven “lucky demigods” will be selected in a sweepstakes to attend an exclusive one-week session at Camp Half-Blood at Bookpeople in July 2011".
Besides the official release party, Borders Books & Music in Dearborn also had a release party. This was a national event and began at 2 pm. The party had arts and crafts, trivia and a reading of the first two chapters.
Publishers Weekly gave the novel a favorable review, stating that "Riordan's storytelling is as polished as ever, brimming with wit, action, and heart." The book received a mixed review from Kirkus Reviews, stating that the "Greek-vs.-Roman tension tantalizes" and that "incidental details that bring the gods into the story often shine." However, the reviewer also notes that there are "are far too many pages of stretched-out action, telling not showing and awkward dialogue". The reviewer found that only the die hard fans would enjoy the book and "unless Riordan tightens things up considerably by number five, they may find themselves hoping that it does not end with a third Great Prophecy." The Seattle Times found the Greek and Roman mix "fascinating" and that the "characters are interesting and well-developed, and the richly complex story has Riordan's trademark wry humor and nearly nonstop action".
- Riordan, Rick (12 October 2010). The Lost Hero. The Heroes of Olympus. Disney Hyperion. ISBN 9781423113393. OCLC 526057827.
- Dave Itzkoff (June 21, 2010). "The World of ‘Percy Jackson’ Lives On In ‘The Lost Hero’". The New York Times.
- "Rick Riordan plans new series invoking Greek gods". The Associated Press. June 21, 2010. Archived from the original on June 25, 2010.
- "Rick Riordan reveals secret password for 'Heroes of Olympus' preview". The Independent. June 21, 2010.
- Kirch, Claire (October 14, 2010). "Riordan Debuts New Series in Austin". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
- Banks, Dave (October 18, 2010). "Greek Goddesses and Roman Gods: The GeekDad Interview With Rick Riordan". Wired News. Wired News. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2010. Text " GeekDad " ignored (help); Text " Wired.com" ignored (help)
- "New York Times bestseller list". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
- "USA Today bestseller list". USA Today. Retrieved 09 November 2010. Check date values in:
- "The Lost Hero – Heroes of Olympus: The Online World of Rick Riordan". rickriordan.com. Retrieved 09 November 2010. Check date values in:
- "Indiebound bestseller list". Indiebound. Retrieved 09 November 2010. Check date values in:
- Seller, John A. (September 13, 2010). "Disney Announces Print Run, Plans for 'Percy Jackson' Spinoff 'The Heroes of Olympus' is set to launch on October 12". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
- Krug, Kurt (October 12, 2010). "Life Borders hosts ‘Lost Hero’ book party Saturday". Press and Guide. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
- "The Lost Hero". Publishers Weekly. October 25, 2010. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
- Vicky Smith (October 15, 2010). "Rick Riordan's The Lost Hero". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved October 22, 2010.
- Macpherson, Karen. "Riordan's new book 'Lost Hero' mixes in mythology". The Seattle Times (The Seattle Times). Retrieved 30 October 2010.
- The Heroes of Olympus US website
- The Heroes of Olympus at Disney Books
- Percy Jackson official US website
- Percy Jackson U.K. website
- Rick Riordan's official blog
- Rick Riordan's official site