"Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,/ To storm or fire the world must fall./ An oath to keep with a final breath,/ And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death." A terse quatrain casts a teasing challenge at a new combine of demigods in this series launch by Rick Riordan. A tantalizing new adventure epic from the author of Percy Jackson & The Olympians. Bound to be a bestseller (Reader tip: Peruse the first chapter and try to stop. We dare you.)
The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus Series #1)by Rick Riordan
After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:
Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the
After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:
Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.
Now, in a brand-new series from blockbuster best-selling author Rick Riordan, fans return to the world of Camp Half-Blood. Here, a new group of heroes will inherit a quest. But to survive the journey, they?ll need the help of some familiar demigods.
Read an Excerpt
The Heroes of Olympus, Book One
THE LOST HERO
Even before he got electrocuted, Jason was having a rotten day.
He woke in the backseat of a school bus, not sure where he was, holding hands with a girl he didn't know. That wasn't necessarily the rotten part. The girl was cute, but he couldn't figure out who she was or what he was doing there. He sat up and rubbed his eyes, trying to think.
A few dozen kids sprawled in the seats in front of him, listening to iPods, talking, or sleeping. They all looked around his age . . . fifteen? Sixteen? Okay, that was scary. He didn't know his own age.
The bus rumbled along a bumpy road. Out the windows, desert rolled by under a bright blue sky. Jason was pretty sure he didn't live in the desert. He tried to think back . . . the last thing he remembered . . .
The girl squeezed his hand. "Jason, you okay?"
She wore faded jeans, hiking boots, and a fleece snowboarding jacket. Her chocolate brown hair was cut choppy and uneven, with thin strands braided down the sides. She wore no makeup, like she was trying not to draw attention to herself; but it didn't work. She was seriously pretty. Her eyes seemed to change color like a kaleidoscope - brown, blue, and green.
Jason let go of her hand. "Um, I don't -"
In the front of the bus, a teacher shouted, "All right, cupcakes, listen up!"
The guy was obviously a coach. His baseball cap was pulled low over his hair, so you could just see his beady eyes. He had a wispy goatee and a sour face, like he'd eaten something moldy. His buff arms and chest pushed against a bright orange polo shirt. His nylon workout pants and Nikes were spotless white. A whistle hung from his neck, and a megaphone was clipped to his belt. He would've looked pretty scary if he hadn't been five foot zero. When he stood up in the aisle, one of the students called, "Stand up, Coach Hedge!"
"I heard that!" The coach scanned the bus for the offender. Then his eyes fixed on Jason, and his scowl deepened.
A jolt went down Jason's spine. He was sure the coach knew he didn't belong there. He was going to call Jason out, demand what he was doing on the bus-and Jason wouldn't have a clue what to say.
But Coach Hedge looked away and cleared his throat. "We'll arrive in five minutes! Stay with your partner. Don't lose your worksheet. And if any of you precious little cupcakes cause any trouble on this trip, I will personally send you back to campus the hard way."
He picked up a baseball bat and made like he was hitting a homer.
Jason looked at the girl next to him. "Can he talk to us that way?"
She shrugged. "Always does. This is the Wilderness School. ?Where kids are the animals.' "
She said it like it was a joke they'd shared before.
"This is some kind of mistake," Jason said. "I'm not supposed to be here."
The boy in front of him turned and laughed. "Yeah, right, Jason. We've all been framed! I didn't run away six times. Piper didn't steal a BMW."
The girl blushed. "I didn't steal that car, Leo!"
"Oh, I forgot, Piper. What was your story? You ?talked' the dealer into lending it to you?" He raised his eyebrows at Jason like, Can you believe her?
Leo looked like a Latino Santa's elf, with curly black hair, pointy ears, a cheerful, babyish face, and a mischievous smile that told you right away this guy should not be trusted around matches or sharp objects. His long, nimble fingers wouldn't stop moving-drumming on the seat, sweeping his hair behind his ears, fiddling with the buttons of his army fatigue jacket. Either the kid was naturally hyper or he was hopped up on enough sugar and caffeine to give a heart attack to a water buffalo.
"Anyway," Leo said, "I hope you've got your worksheet, 'cause I used mine for spit wads days ago. Why are you looking at me like that? Somebody draw on my face again?"
"I don't know you," Jason said.
Leo gave him a crocodile grin. "Sure. I'm not your best friend. I'm his evil clone."
"Leo Valdez!" Coach Hedge yelled from the front. "Problem back there?"
Leo winked at Jason. "Watch this." He turned to the front. "Sorry, Coach! I was having trouble hearing you. Could you use your megaphone, please?"
Coach Hedge grunted like he was pleased to have an excuse. He unclipped the megaphone from his belt and continued giving directions, but his voice came out like Darth Vader's. The kids cracked up. The coach tried again, but this time the megaphone blared: "The cow says moo!"
The kids howled, and the coach slammed down the megaphone. "Valdez!"
Piper stifled a laugh. "My god, Leo. How did you do that?"
Leo slipped a tiny Phillips head screwdriver from his sleeve. "I'm a special boy."
"Guys, seriously," Jason pleaded. "What am I doing here? Where are we going?"
Piper knit her eyebrows. "Jason, are you joking?"
"No! I have no idea-"
"Aw, yeah, he's joking," Leo said. "He's trying to get me back for that shaving cream on the Jell-O thing, aren't you?"
Jason stared at him blankly.
"No, I think he's serious." Piper tried to take his hand again, but he pulled it away.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I don't - I can't -"
"That's it!" Coach Hedge yelled from the front. "The back row has just volunteered to clean up after lunch!"
The rest of the kids cheered.
"There's a shocker," Leo muttered.
But Piper kept her eyes on Jason, like she couldn't decide whether to be hurt or worried. "Did you hit your head or something? You really don't know who we are?"
Jason shrugged helplessly. "It's worse than that. I don't know who I am."
The bus dropped them in front of a big red stucco complex like a museum, just sitting in the middle of nowhere. Maybe that's what it was: the National Museum of Nowhere, Jason thought. A cold wind blew across the desert. Jason hadn't paid much attention to what he was wearing, but it wasn't nearly warm enough: jeans and sneakers, a purple T-shirt, and a thin black windbreaker.
"So, a crash course for the amnesiac," Leo said, in a helpful tone that made Jason think this was not going to be helpful. "We go to the ?Wilderness School'" - Leo made air quotes with his fingers. "Which means we're ?bad kids'. Your family or the court or whoever decided you were too much trouble, so they shipped you off to this lovely prison-sorry, ?boarding school' -in Armpit, Nevada, where you learn valuable nature skills like running ten miles a day through the cacti and weaving daisies into hats! And for a special treat we go on ?educational' field trips with Coach Hedge, who keeps order with a baseball bat. Is it all coming back to you now?"
"No." Jason glanced apprehensively at the other kids: maybe twenty guys, half that many girls. None of them looked like hardened criminals, but he wondered what they'd all done to get sentenced to a school for delinquents, and he wondered why he belonged with them.
Leo rolled his eyes. "You're really gonna play this out, huh? Okay, so the three of us started here together this year. We're totally tight. You do everything I say and give me your dessert and do my chores-"
"Leo!" Piper snapped.
"Fine. Ignore that last part. But we are friends. Well, Piper's a little more than your friend, the last few weeks-"
"Leo, stop it!" Piper's face turned red. Jason could feel his face burning too. He thought he'd remember if he'd been going out with a girl like Piper.
"He's got amnesia or something," Piper said. "We've got to tell somebody."
Leo scoffed. "Who, Coach Hedge? He'd try to fix Jason by whacking him upside the head."
The coach was at the front of the group, barking orders and blowing his whistle to keep the kids in line; but every so often he'd glance back at Jason and scowl.
"Leo, Jason needs help," Piper insisted. "He's got a concussion or-"
"Yo, Piper." One of the other guys dropped back to join them as the group was heading into the museum. The new guy wedged himself between Jason and Piper and knocked Leo down. "Don't talk to these bottom feeders. You're my partner, remember?"
The new guy had dark hair cut Superman style, a deep tan, and teeth so white they should've come with a warning label: DO NOT STARE DIRECTLY AT TEETH. PERMANENT BLINDNESS MAY OCCUR. He wore a Dallas Cowboys jersey, Western jeans and boots, and he smiled like he was God's gift to juvenile delinquent girls everywhere. Jason hated him instantly.
"Go away, Dylan," Piper grumbled. "I didn't ask to work with you."
"Ah, that's no way to be. This is your lucky day!" Dylan hooked his arm through hers and dragged her through the museum entrance. Piper shot one last look over her shoulder like, 911.
Leo got up and brushed himself off. "I hate that guy." He offered Jason his arm, like they should go skipping inside together. "I'm Dylan. I'm so cool, I want to date myself, but I can't figure out how! You want to date me instead? You're so lucky!"
"Leo," Jason said, "you're weird."
"Yeah, you tell me that a lot." Leo grinned. "But if you don't remember me, that means I can reuse all my old jokes. Come on!"
Jason figured that if this was his best friend, his life must be pretty messed up; but he followed Leo into the museum.
They walked through the building, stopping here and there for Coach Hedge to lecture them with his megaphone, which alternately made him sound like a Sith lord or blared out random comments like "The pig says oink."
Leo kept pulling out nuts, bolts, and pipe cleaners from the pockets of his army jacket and putting them together, like he had to keep his hands busy at all times.
Jason was too distracted to pay much attention to the exhibits, but they told about the Grand Canyon, and the Hualapai Tribe that owned the museum.
Some girls kept looking over at Piper and Dylan and snickering. Jason figured these girls were the popular clique. They wore matching jeans and pink tops and enough makeup for a Halloween party.
One of them said, "Hey, Piper, does your tribe run this place? Do you get in free if you do a rain dance?"
The other girls laughed. Even Piper's so-called partner Dylan suppressed a smile. Piper's snowboarding jacket sleeves hid her hands, but Jason got the feeling she was clenching her fists.
"My dad's Cherokee," she said. "Not Hualapai. 'Course, you'd need a few brain cells to know the difference, Isabel."
Isabel widened her eyes in mock surprise, so that she looked like an owl with a makeup addiction. "Oh, sorry! Was your mom in this tribe? Oh, that's right. You never knew your mom."
Piper charged her, but before a fight could break out, Coach Hedge barked, "Enough back there! Set a good example or I'll break out my baseball bat!"
The group shuffled on to the next exhibit, but the girls kept calling out little comments to Piper.
"Good to be back on the rez?" one asked in a sweet voice.
"Dad's probably too drunk to work," another said with fake sympathy. "That's why she turned klepto."
Piper ignored them, but Jason was ready to punch them himself. He might not remember Piper, or even who he was, but he knew he hated mean kids.
Leo caught his arm. "Be cool. Piper doesn't like us fighting her battles. Besides, if those girls found out the truth about her dad, they'd be all bowing down to her and screaming, ?We're not worthy!' "
"Why? What about her dad?"
Leo laughed in disbelief. "You're not kidding? You really don't remember that your girlfriend's dad-"
"Look, I wish I did, but I don't even remember her, much less her dad."
Leo whistled. "Whatever. We have to talk when we get back to the dorm."
They reached the far end of the exhibit hall, where some big glass doors led out to a terrace.
"All right, cupcakes," Coach Hedge announced. "You are about to see the Grand Canyon. Try not to break it. The skywalk can hold the weight of seventy jumbo jets, so you featherweights should be safe out there. If possible, try to avoid pushing each other over the edge, as that would cause me extra paperwork."
The coach opened the doors, and they all stepped outside. The Grand Canyon spread before them, live and in person. Extending over the edge was a horseshoe-shaped walkway made of glass, so you could see right through it.
"Man," Leo said. "That's pretty wicked."
Jason had to agree. Despite his amnesia and his feeling that he didn't belong there, he couldn't help being impressed.
The canyon was bigger and wider than you could appreciate from a picture. They were up so high that birds circled below their feet. Five hundred feet down, a river snaked along the canyon floor. Banks of storm clouds had moved overhead while they'd been inside, casting shadows like angry faces across the cliffs. As far as Jason could see in any direction, red and gray ravines cut through the desert like some crazy god had taken a knife to it.
Jason got a piercing pain behind his eyes. Crazy gods . . . Where had he come up with that idea? He felt like he'd gotten close to something important-something he should know about. He also got the unmistakable feeling he was in danger.
"You all right?" Leo asked. "You're not going to throw up over the side, are you? ?Cause I should've brought my camera."
Jason grabbed the railing. He was shivering and sweaty, but it had nothing to do with heights. He blinked, and the pain behind his eyes subsided.
"I'm fine," he managed. "Just a headache."
Thunder rumbled overhead. A cold wind almost knocked him sideways.
"This can't be safe." Leo squinted at the clouds. "Storm's right over us, but it's clear all the way around. Weird, huh?"
Jason looked up and saw Leo was right. A dark circle of clouds had parked itself over the skywalk, but the rest of the sky in every direction was perfectly clear. Jason had a bad feeling about that.
"All right, cupcakes!" Coach Hedge yelled. He frowned at the storm like it bothered him too. "We may have to cut this short, so get to work! Remember, complete sentences!"
The storm rumbled, and Jason's head began to hurt again. Not knowing why he did it, he reached into his jeans pocket and brought out a coin -a circle of gold the size of a half-dollar, but thicker and more uneven. Stamped on one side was a picture of a battle-axe. On the other was some guy's face wreathed in laurels. The inscription said something like IVLIVS.
"Dang, is that gold?" Leo asked. "You been holding out on me!"
Jason put the coin away, wondering how he'd come to have it, and why he had the feeling he was going to need it soon.
"It's nothing," he said. "Just a coin."
Leo shrugged. Maybe his mind had to keep moving as much as his hands. "Come on," he said. "Dare you to spit over the edge."
They didn't try very hard on the worksheet. For one thing, Jason was too distracted by the storm and his own mixed-up feelings. For another thing, he didn't have any idea how to "name three sedimentary strata you observe" or "describe two examples of erosion."
Leo was no help. He was too busy building a helicopter out of pipe cleaners.
"Check it out." He launched the copter. Jason figured it would plummet, but the pipe-cleaner blades actually spun. The little copter made it halfway across the canyon before it lost momentum and spiraled into the void.
"How'd you do that?" Jason asked.
Leo shrugged. "Would've been cooler if I had some rubber bands."
"Seriously," Jason said, "are we friends?"
"Last I checked."
"You sure? What was the first day we met? What did we talk about?"
"It was . . ." Leo frowned. "I don't recall exactly. I'm ADHD, man. You can't expect me to remember details."
"But I don't remember you at all. I don't remember anyone here. What if-"
"You're right and everyone else is wrong?" Leo asked. "You think you just appeared here this morning, and we've all got fake memories of you?"
A little voice in Jason's head said, That's exactly what I think.
But it sounded crazy. Everybody here took him for granted. Everyone acted like he was a normal part of the class-except for Coach Hedge.
"Take the worksheet." Jason handed Leo the paper. "I'll be right back."
Before Leo could protest, Jason headed across the skywalk.
Their school group had the place to themselves. Maybe it was too early in the day for tourists, or maybe the weird weather had scared them off. The Wilderness School kids had spread out in pairs across the skywalk. Most were joking around or talking. Some of the guys were dropping pennies over the side. About fifty feet away, Piper was trying to fill out her worksheet, but her stupid partner Dylan was hitting on her, putting his hand on her shoulder and giving her that blinding white smile. She kept pushing him away, and when she saw Jason she gave him a look like, Throttle this guy for me.
Jason motioned for her to hang on. He walked up to Coach Hedge, who was leaning on his baseball bat, studying the storm clouds.
"Did you do this?" the coach asked him.
Jason took a step back. "Do what?" It sounded like the coach had just asked if he'd made the thunderstorm.
Coach Hedge glared at him, his beady little eyes glinting under the brim of his cap. "Don't play games with me, kid. What are you doing here and why are you messing up my job?"
"You mean . . . you don't know me?" Jason said. "I'm not one of your students?"
Hedge snorted. "Never seen you before today."
Jason was so relieved he almost wanted to cry. At least he wasn't going insane. He was in the wrong place. "Look, sir, I don't know how I got here. I just woke up on the school bus. All I know is I'm not supposed to be here."
"Got that right." Hedge's gruff voice dropped to a murmur, like he was sharing a secret. "You got a powerful way with the Mist, kid, if you can make all these people think they know you; but you can't fool me. I've been smelling monster for days now. I knew we had an infiltrator, but you don't smell like a monster. You smell like a half-blood. So-who are you, and where'd you come from?"
Most of what the coach said didn't make sense, but Jason decided to answer honestly. "I don't know who I am. I don't have any memories. You've got to help me."
Coach Hedge studied his face like was trying to read Jason's thoughts.
"Great," Hedge muttered. "You're being truthful."
"Of course I am! And what was all that about monsters and half-bloods? Are those code words or something?"
Hedge narrowed his eyes. Part of Jason wondered if the guy was just nuts. But the other part knew better.
"Look, kid," Hedge said, "I don't know who you are. I just know what you are, and it means trouble. Now I got to protect three of you rather than two. Are you the special package? Is that it?"
"What are you talking about?"
Hedge looked at the storm. The clouds were getting thicker and darker, hovering right over the skywalk.
"This morning," Hedge said, "I got a message from camp. They said an extraction team is on the way. They're coming to pick up a special package, but they wouldn't give me details. I thought to myself, Fine. The two I'm watching are pretty powerful, older than most. I know they're being stalked. I can smell a monster in the group. I figure that's why the camp is suddenly frantic to pick them up. But then you pop up out of nowhere. So, are you the special package?"
The pain behind Jason's eyes got worse than ever. Half-bloods. Camp. Monsters. He still didn't know what Hedge was talking about, but the words gave him a massive brain freeze-like his mind was trying to access information that should've been there but wasn't.
He stumbled, and Coach Hedge caught him. For a short guy, the coach had hands like steel. "Whoa, there, cupcake. You say you got no memories, huh? Fine. I'll just have to watch you, too, until the team gets here. We'll let the director figure things out."
"What director?" Jason said. "What camp?"
"Just sit tight. Reinforcements should be here soon. Hopefully nothing happens before-"
Lightning crackled overhead. The wind picked up with a vengeance. Worksheets flew into the Grand Canyon, and the entire bridge shuddered. Kids screamed, stumbling and grabbing the rails.
"I had to say something," Hedge grumbled. He bellowed into his megaphone: "Everyone inside! The cow says moo! Off the skywalk!"
"I thought you said this thing was stable!" Jason shouted over the wind.
"Under normal circumstances," Hedge agreed, "which these aren't. Come on!"
The storm churned into a miniature hurricane. Funnel clouds snaked toward the skywalk like the tendrils of a monster jellyfish.
Kids screamed and ran for the building. The wind snatched away their notebooks, jackets, hats, and backpacks. Jason skidded across the slick floor.
Leo lost his balance and almost toppled over the railing, but Jason grabbed his jacket and pulled him back.
"Thanks, man!" Leo yelled.
"Go, go, go!" said Coach Hedge.
Piper and Dylan were holding the doors open, herding the other kids inside. Piper's snowboarding jacket was flapping wildly, her dark hair all in her face. Jason thought she must've been freezing, but she looked calm and confident-telling the others it would be okay, encouraging them to keep moving.
Jason, Leo, and Coach Hedge ran toward them, but it was like running through quicksand. The wind seemed to fight them, pushing them back.
Dylan and Piper pushed one more kid inside, then lost their grip on the doors. They slammed shut, closing off the skywalk.
Piper tugged at the handles. The kids inside pounded on the glass, but the doors seemed to be stuck.
"Dylan, help!" Piper shouted.
Dylan just stood there with an idiotic grin, his Cowboys jersey rippling in the wind, like he was suddenly enjoying the storm.
"Sorry, Piper," he said. "I'm done helping."
He flicked his wrist and Piper flew backward, slamming into the doors and sliding to the skywalk deck.
"Piper!" Jason tried to charge forward, but the wind was against him, and Coach Hedge pushed him back.
"Coach," Jason said, "let me go!"
"Jason, Leo, stay behind me," the coach ordered. "This is my fight. I should've known that was our monster."
"What?" Leo demanded. A rogue worksheet slapped him in the face, but he swatted it away. "What monster?"
The coach's cap blew off, and sticking up above his curly hair were two bumps-like the knots cartoon characters get when they're bonked on the head. Coach Hedge lifted his baseball bat-but it wasn't a regular bat anymore. Somehow it had changed into a crudely shaped tree-branch club, with twigs and leaves still attached.
Dylan gave him that psycho happy smile. "Oh, come on, Coach. Let the boy attack me! After all, you're getting too old for this. Isn't that why they retired you to this stupid school? I've been on your team the entire season, and you didn't even know. You're losing your nose, grandpa."
The coach made an angry sound like an animal bleating. "That's it, cupcake. You're going down."
"You think you can protect three half-bloods at once, old man?" Dylan laughed. "Good luck."
Dylan pointed at Leo, and a funnel cloud materialized around him. Leo flew off the skywalk like he'd been tossed. Somehow he managed to twist in midair, and slammed sideways into the canyon wall. He skidded, clawing furiously for any handhold. Finally he grabbed a thin ledge about fifty feet below the skywalk and hung there by his fingertips.
"Help!" he yelled up at them. "Rope, please? Bungee cord? Something?"
Coach Hedge cursed and tossed Jason his club. "I don't know who you are, kid, but I hope you're good. Keep that thing busy"-he stabbed a thumb at Dylan-"while I get Leo."
"Get him how?" Jason demanded. "You going to fly?"
"Not fly. Climb." Hedge kicked off his shoes, and Jason almost had a coronary. The coach didn't have any feet. He had hooves-goat's hooves. Which meant those things on his head, Jason realized, weren't bumps. They were horns.
"You're a faun," Jason said.
"Satyr!" Hedge snapped. "Fauns are Roman. But we'll talk about that later."
Hedge leaped over the railing. He sailed toward the canyon wall and hit hooves first. He bounded down the cliff with impossible agility, finding footholds no bigger than postage stamps, dodging whirlwinds that tried to attack him as he picked his way toward Leo.
"Isn't that cute!" Dylan turned toward Jason. "Now it's your turn, boy."
Jason threw the club. It seemed useless with the winds so strong, but the club flew right at Dylan, even curving when he tried to dodge, and smacked him on the head so hard he fell to his knees.
Piper wasn't as dazed as she appeared. Her fingers closed around the club when it rolled next to her, but before she could use it, Dylan rose. Blood-golden blood-trickled from his forehead.
"Nice try, boy." He glared at Jason. "But you'll have to do better."
The skywalk shuddered. Hairline fractures appeared in the glass. Inside the museum, kids stopped banging on the doors. They backed away, watching in terror.
Dylan's body dissolved into smoke, as if his molecules were coming unglued. He had the same face, the same brilliant white smile, but his whole form was suddenly composed of swirling black vapor, his eyes like electrical sparks in a living storm cloud. He sprouted black smoky wings and rose above the skywalk. If angels could be evil, Jason decided, they would look exactly like this.
"You're a ventus," Jason said, though he had no idea how he knew that word. "A storm spirit."
Dylan's laugh sounded like a tornado tearing off a roof. "I'm glad I waited, demigod. Leo and Piper I've known about for weeks. Could've killed them at any time. But my mistress said a third was coming-someone special. She'll reward me greatly for your death!"
Two more funnel clouds touched down on either side of Dylan and turned into venti-ghostly young men with smoky wings and eyes that flickered with lightning.
Piper stayed down, pretending to be dazed, her hand still gripping the club. Her face was pale, but she gave Jason a determined look, and he understood the message: Keep their attention. I'll brain them from behind.
Cute, smart, and violent. Jason wished he remembered having her as a girlfriend.
He clenched his fists and got ready to charge, but he never got a chance.
Dylan raised his hand, arcs of electricity running between his fingers, and blasted Jason in the chest.
Bang! Jason found himself flat on his back. His mouth tasted like burning aluminum foil. He lifted his head and saw that his clothes were smoking. The lightning bolt had gone straight though his body and blasted off his left shoe. His toes were black with soot.
The storm spirits were laughing. The winds raged. Piper was screaming defiantly, but it all sounded tinny and far away.
Out of the corner of his eye, Jason saw Coach Hedge climbing the cliff with Leo on his back. Piper was on her feet, desperately swinging the club to fend off the two extra storm spirits, but they were just toying with her. The club went right through their bodies like they weren't there. And Dylan, a dark winged tornado with eyes, loomed over Jason.
"Stop," Jason croaked. He rose unsteadily to his feet, and he wasn't sure who was more surprised: him, or the storm spirits.
"How are you alive?" Dylan's form flickered. "That was enough lightning to kill twenty men!"
"My turn," Jason said.
He reached in his pocket and pulled out the gold coin. He let his instincts take over, flipping the coin in the air like he'd done it a thousand times. He caught it in his palm, and suddenly he was holding a sword-a wickedly sharp double-edged weapon. The ridged grip fit his fingers perfectly, and the whole thing was gold-hilt, handle, and blade.
Dylan snarled and backed up. He looked at his two comrades and yelled, "Well? Kill him!"
The other storm spirits didn't look happy with that order, but they flew at Jason, their fingers crackling with electricity.
Jason swung at the first spirit. His blade passed through it, and the creature's smoky form disintegrated. The second spirit let loose a bolt of lightning, but Jason's blade absorbed the charge. Jason stepped in-one quick thrust, and the second storm spirit dissolved into gold powder.
Dylan wailed in outrage. He looked down as if expecting his comrades to
reform, but their gold dust remains dispersed in the wind. "Impossible! Who are you, half-blood?"
Piper was so stunned she dropped her club. "Jason, how . . .?"
Then Coach Hedge leaped back onto the skywalk and dumped Leo like a sack of flour.
"Spirits, fear me!" Hedge bellowed, flexing his short arms. Then he looked around and realized there was only Dylan.
"Curse it, boy!" he snapped at Jason. "Didn't you leave some for me? I like a challenge!"
Leo got to his feet, breathing hard. He looked completely humiliated, his hands bleeding from clawing at the rocks. "Yo, Coach Supergoat, whatever you are- I just fell down the freaking Grand Canyon! Stop asking for challenges!"
Dylan hissed at them, but Jason could see fear in his eyes. "You have no idea how many enemies you've awakened, half-bloods. My mistress will destroy all demigods. This war you cannot win."
Above them, the storm exploded into a full-force gale. Cracks expanded in the skywalk. Sheets of rain poured down, and Jason had to crouch to keep his balance.
A hole opened in the clouds-a swirling vortex of black and silver.
"The mistress calls me back!" Dylan shouted with glee. "And you, demigod, will come with me!"
He lunged at Jason, but Piper tackled the monster from behind. Even though he was made of smoke, Piper somehow managed to connect. Both of them went sprawling. Leo, Jason, and the coach surged forward to help, but the spirit screamed with rage. He let loose a torrent that knocked them all backward. Jason and Coach Hedge landed on their butts. Jason's sword skidded across the glass. Leo hit the back of his head and curled on his side, dazed and groaning. Piper got the worst of it. She was thrown off Dylan's back and hit the railing, tumbling over the side until she was hanging by one hand over the abyss.
Jason started toward her, but Dylan screamed, "I'll settle for this one!"
He grabbed Leo's arm and began to rise, towing a half-conscious Leo below him. The storm spun faster, pulling them upward like a vacuum cleaner.
"Help!" Piper yelled. "Somebody!"
Then she slipped, screaming as she fell.
"Jason, go!" Hedge yelled. "Save her!"
The coach launched himself at the spirit with some serious goat fu-lashing out with his hooves, knocking Leo free from the spirit's grasp. Leo dropped safely to the floor, but Dylan grappled the coach's arms instead. Hedge tried to head-butt him, then kicked him and called him a cupcake. They rose into the air, gaining speed.
Coach Hedge shouted down once more, "Save her! I got this!" Then the satyr and the storm spirit spiraled into the clouds and disappeared.
Save her? Jason thought. She's gone!
But again his instincts won. He ran to the railing, thinking, I'm a lunatic, and jumped over the side.
,Jason wasn't scared of heights. He was scared of being smashed against the canyon floor five hundred feet below. He figured he hadn't accomplished anything except for dying along with Piper, but he tucked in his arms and plummeted headfirst. The sides of the canyon raced past like a film on fast-forward. His face felt like it was peeling off.
In a heartbeat, he caught up with Piper, who was flailing wildly. He tackled her waist and closed his eyes, waiting for death. Piper screamed. The wind whistled in Jason's ears. He wondered what dying would feel like. He was thinking, probably not so good. He wished somehow they could never hit bottom.
Suddenly the wind died. Piper's scream turned into a strangled gasp. Jason thought they must be dead, but he hadn't felt any impact.
"J-J-Jason," Piper managed.
He opened his eyes. They weren't falling. They were floating in midair, a hundred feet above the river.
He hugged Piper tight, and she repositioned herself so she was hugging him too. They were nose to nose. Her heart beat so hard, Jason could feel it through her clothes.
Her breath smelled like cinnamon. She said, "How did you-"
"I didn't," he said. "I think I would know if I could fly. . . ."
But then he thought: I don't even know who I am.
He imagined going up. Piper yelped as they shot a few feet higher. They weren't exactly floating, Jason decided. He could feel pressure under his feet like they were balancing at the top of a geyser.
"The air is supporting us," he said.
"Well, tell it to support us more! Get us out of here!"
Jason looked down. The easiest thing would be to sink gently to the canyon floor. Then he looked up. The rain had stopped. The storm clouds didn't seem as bad, but they were still rumbling and flashing. There was no guarantee the spirits were gone for good. He had no idea what had happened to Coach Hedge. And he'd left Leo up there, barely conscious.
"We have to help them," Piper said, as if reading his thoughts. "Can you-"
"Let's see." Jason thought up, and instantly they shot skyward.
The fact he was riding the winds might've been cool under different circumstances, but he was too much in shock. As soon as they landed on the skywalk, they ran to Leo.
Piper turned Leo over, and he groaned. His army coat was soaked from the rain. His curly hair glittered gold from rolling around in monster dust. But at least he wasn't dead.
"Stupid . . . ugly . . . goat," he muttered.
"Where did he go?" Piper asked.
Leo pointed straight up. "Never came down. Please tell me he didn't actually save my life."
"Twice," Jason said.
Leo groaned even louder. "What happened? The tornado guy, the gold sword . . . I hit my head. That's it, right? I'm hallucinating?"
Jason had forgotten about the sword. He walked over to where it was lying and picked it up. The blade was well balanced. On a hunch he flipped it. Midspin, the sword shrank back into a coin and landed in his palm.
"Yep," Leo said. "Definitely hallucinating."
Piper shivered in her rain-soaked clothes. "Jason, those things-"
"Venti," he said. "Storm spirits."
"Okay. You acted like . . . like you'd seen them before. Who are you?"
He shook his head. "That's what I've been trying to tell you. I don't know."
The storm dissipated. The other kids from the Wilderness School were staring out the glass doors in horror. Security guards were working on the locks now, but they didn't seem to be having any luck.
"Coach Hedge said he had to protect three people," Jason remembered. "I think he meant us."
"And that thing Dylan turned into . . ." Piper shuddered. "God, I can't believe it was hitting on me. He called us . . . what, demigods?"
Leo lay on his back, staring at the sky. He didn't seem anxious to get up. "Don't know what demi means," he said. "But I'm not feeling too godly. You guys feeling godly?"
There was a brittle sound like dry twigs snapping, and the cracks in the skywalk began to widen.
"We need to get off this thing," Jason said. "Maybe if we-"
"Ohhh-kay," Leo interrupted. "Look up there and tell me if those are flying horses."
At first Jason thought Leo had hit his head too hard. Then he saw a dark shape descending from the east-too slow for a plane, too large for a bird. As it got closer he could see a pair of winged animals-gray, four-legged, exactly like horses-except each one had a twenty-foot wingspan. And they were pulling a brightly painted box with two wheels: a chariot.
"Reinforcements," he said. "Hedge told me an extraction squad was coming for us."
"Extraction squad?" Leo struggled to his feet. "That sounds painful."
"And where are they extracting us to?" Piper asked.
Jason watched as the chariot landed on the far end of the skywalk. The flying horses folded their wings and cantered nervously across the glass, as if they sensed it was near breaking. Two teenagers stood in the chariot-a tall blond girl maybe a little older than Jason, and a bulky dude with a shaved head and a face like a pile of bricks. They both wore jeans and orange T-shirts, with shields tossed over their backs. The girl leaped off before the chariot had even finished moving. She pulled a knife and ran toward Jason's group while the bulky dude was reining in the horses.
"Where is he?" the girl demanded. Her gray eyes were fierce and a little startling.
"Where's who?" Jason asked.
She frowned like his answer was unacceptable. Then she turned to Leo and Piper. "What about Gleeson? Where is your protector, Gleeson Hedge?"
The coach's first name was Gleeson? Jason might've laughed if the morning hadn't been quite so weird and scary. Gleeson Hedge: football coach, goat man, protector of demigods. Sure. Why not?
Leo cleared his throat. "He got taken by some . . . tornado things."
"Venti," Jason said. "Storm spirits."
The blond girl arched an eyebrow. "You mean anemoi thuellai? That's the Greek term. Who are you, and what happened?"
Jason did his best to explain, though it was hard to meet those intense gray eyes. About halfway through the story, the other guy from the chariot came over. He stood there glaring at them, his arms crossed. He had a tattoo of a rainbow on his biceps, which seemed a little unusual.
When Jason had finished his story, the blond girl didn't look satisfied. "No, no, no! She told me he would be here. She told me if I came here, I'd find the answer."
"Annabeth," the bald guy grunted. "Check it out." He pointed at Jason's feet.
Jason hadn't thought much about it, but he was still missing his left shoe that had been blown off by the lightning. His bare foot felt okay, but it looked like a lump of charcoal.
"The guy with one shoe," said the bald dude. "He's the answer."
"No, Butch," the girl insisted. "He can't be. I was tricked." She glared at the sky as though it had done something wrong. "What do you want from me?" she screamed. "What have you done with him?"
The skywalk shuddered, and the horses whinnied urgently.
"Annabeth," said the bald dude, Butch, "we gotta leave. Let's get these three to camp and figure it out there. Those storm spirits might come back."
She fumed for a moment. "Fine." She fixed Jason with a resentful look. "We'll settle this later."
She turned on her heel and marched toward the chariot.
Piper shook her head. "What's her problem? What's going on?"
"Seriously," Leo agreed.
"We have to get you out of here," Butch said. "I'll explain on the way."
"I'm not going anywhere with her." Jason gestured toward the blonde. "She looks like she wants to kill me."
Butch hesitated. "Annabeth's okay. You gotta cut her some slack. She had a vision telling her to come here, to find a guy with one shoe. That was supposed to be the answer to her problem."
"What problem?" Piper asked.
"She's been looking for one of our campers, who's been missing three days," Butch said. "She's going out of her mind with worry. She hoped he'd be here."
"Who?" Jason asked.
"Her boyfriend," Butch said. "A guy named Percy Jackson."
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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What can I say, the amazing author has done it again. I just read the first two chapters and I think I go insane if I have to wait until October to read the rest. From what I read so far this book will definitely be a home-run.
All I can say is that if you loved the Percy Jackson series, you will LOVE this spin-off, series, or whatever you want to call it. I'm so excited for the next book it's driving me crazy!! The characters are interesting, the plot is interesting, and basically everything is interesting and amazing!!!!! If you haven't read it, read it NOW ASAP!! You'll thank me later : )
I loved this book from beginning to end. Can only recommend!
This book is definitely in my top 10! You know a book is amazing when you can't put it down till you finish. Well, that's how this book is. Your hanging on the edge of your seat every second, wondering what's going to happen. This action packed book is great for anyone!
I was so sad when I finished reading the Series, because I didn't want it to be over :(. But then I found out about The Lost Hero and now I'm so happy and SUPER excited for Oct. 12! I love the Percy Jackson books! I love Annabeth and Percy! Forget the Twilight Series, The Percy Jackson books are the best books I have ever read! Instead of Team Edward, Team Percy!!!!!!!! Can't wait for Lost Hero!
I absolutely loved reading the percy jackson series! Rick Riordan is an excellent author, and nice too (he came to my school in 3rd grade before he was famous) so no doubt that this will be almost as equally as awesome! Of course, though, no book can match the greatness of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, except, maybe, Harry Potter. Just my opinion though! :)
I love the Percy Jackson series and so I am sure this one just as good, or better! Rick Riordan writes so exquisitely, it's like your in the room with Percy! I liked the movie but the book is so much better!!! Isn't that weird!? Books are ALWAYS better than movies.
I wish that the star system went to 1 billion stars because that is what I would rate it. Wow, you guys must read the excerpt. What if Jason is Percy? But from the excerpt, it sounds like Jason will end up with Piper. But if its Percy, will he end up with Annabeth? FLAWLESS PLOT LINE!!! I thought this book might lack because it would be the same idea as Percy Jackon and The Olympian, but it is soo good. I love the way they tied in Percy and Annabeth and didm't just ignore that whole series as some authors do. GET ME THIS BOOK NOW!
The one thing better than reading the percy jackson series is the the feeling i'll have while reading this new series.
The Lost Hero, in my opinion, made it obvious that this series about Camp Half-Blood is going to be just as good, if not better, than the previous Percy Jackson series. Not only did Rick Rioridan make a book with great characters and an outstanding plot, but he even linked the book to the last series, with an ending that will test your patience while waiting until the fall of 2011 to read its sequel. The book, just like its previous companion, has everything to do with Greek mythology and, subsequently, has action at every turn. Yet, Rioridan still manages to include humor and even a little romance (just like in his previous series). Also, I believe that reading Rioridan's first series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, will make you further appreciate the second series, The Heroes of Olympus. I believe that anyone who likes fantasy, humor, action, and romance all in one, should read The Lost Hero.
O. M. G. I read the first couple of chapters on the website (password NEWHERO). It seemed AWESOME!
Of all the books I've waited for, this one seems to haunt me the most. When I read the the preview, suspense ran high, and I was sweating. "Who took Percy? Is Percy fighting for his life like Annabeth in The Titan's Curse? Is Percy going to return-alive?" those questions haunt me day and night, so I can not rest until I have read this book. I am way to excited- whenever I re-read the preview (man, I am crazy about certain genres! I can't just go off and leave Fiction! I don't like real history books.) I sweat so much my dad says, "Take a shower!" The suspense is eating at me. I am so excited sometimes my veins show. My heart beats faster, and I can't bring myself to not think about it. I am far too excited.
It's hard to make such a claim, but it's true. This book couldn't have been as great as it is without it's predecessors, but as a stand alone novel it holds up really well. I feel like anything you could write about this book would be contributing to spoilers, and I refuse to do that! The characters are fantastically developed and the feeling you get throughout the whole book of "something just isn't right" won't leave you after the last page. The last page was the best page of the book! It reminded me of why I don't like to start series when they first begin, but I'm invested in this as I was with the Olympians series, and as I am with The Red Pyramid. Riordan is a great writer, and the educational aspects in his books are really what makes selling and recommending his work one of the easiest things I do as a bookseller. If these books had been around when I was studying Greek, Roman and Egyptian mythology in middle and high school, it would have been a great way to keep the lessons organized in my mind. Hats off to yet another Riordan adventure that I'm thrilled to be on!
ALL RIGHT CUPCAKES!!! LISTEN UP. DONT BUY THIS BOOK AND I'LL SMACK YOU IN THE FACE THAT'LL SEND YOU TO CHINA!!!! BUY NOW OR GET A LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!! Bottem line. Great book.
Jason is clueless. After all, he doesn't remember anything, and he's holding hands with this beautiful girl, AND he's talking to a very fidgety kid. What's more, he's in the back seat of a bus full of other kids he doesn't know, riding through the middle of a desert. Eventually these people must have realized just how clueless Jason is, and introduce themselves. The fidgety kid's name is Leo, who seems to not have the ability to sit still without playing with gears and what not. Remember the girl? Oh, her name's Piper. And she and Jason have been dating for several months. This is fairly peculiar... This was a fantastic read. I absolutely adore Rick Riordan's novels, and "The Lost Hero" is certainly no exception. I enjoyed the different perspectives given with every few chapters, yet no information was repeated, keeping the book short...er (Ha). In times of trouble, new powers appear and fighting instincts kick in, leaving a very action packed novel. Moving onto things that could have improved (there's always two sides to a story), nothing. Absolutely nothing. Okay maybe one thing. More content. The book is quite lengthy as it is, with an applause worthy 576 pages. I very strongly and passionately recommend this book if you enjoy fantasy, action, heck, even romance! Somewhat of a spin-off/sequel series to the Percy Jackson series, fans do not fear, Percy is still in it... though he's gone missing. Again, you should seriously consider reading this book, I almost guarantee you'll like it. An easy 5 star rating for me.
I couldn't believe it when I found out about this book and the series to which it is only the beginning. I actually had just randomly looked Rick Riordan up on Wikipedia in hopes of finding any information about his new Kane Chronicles. Imagine my surprise when I found out he's writing a sequel to the Percy Jackson series! I've heard of books having sequels but not series having sequels! I have to admit, at first I had mixed feelings. I personally wanted to co-write with my cousin a sequel to his Percy Jackson series. Apparently I had the same idea as Rick Riordan though, and that's perfectly okay with me! I look forward to reading this new series of his. I am a huge fan of Greek mythology, and I'm sure that this new series will be just a fantastic as the first!
I am 47 and I loved the Olympian series and this first book of the new series was great, can't wait until next fall for the next book.
I read the first two cahpters and they were AMAZING! Rick Riordan is an awesome author . I am going nuts without beeing able to read the whole book! I can't wait for Annabeth to find Percy (he's trapped by...) and to find out who Leo, Piper and Jason's parents are!
The Lost Hero is the first of a series of books about the heroes of Olympus. It's an action-packed adventure loaded with Greek and Roman mythology. Jason, the lost hero, finds himself on a bus heading to Wilderness School, a camp for delinquents. The trouble is, he has no idea who he is, or how he got there. He soon learns that he's a demi-god and that his memories have been taken away by Hera, Queen of the gods. Why? That's the part we never learn. What we do know, is that he's on an important mission to save the gods from a horrible uprising. He and his friends, Piper and Leo, embark on a dangerous journey in which they must fight a family of horrible cyclops, evil mythological characters, and gargantuan giants. This action packed adventure is a real page-turner. Kids will want to read the next book in the series, Son of Neptune, to find the answers to some of the unresolved questions in the plot. The Lost Hero is definitely a great read and a brilliant way to teach kids about Greek and Roman mythology.
I got this as a gift for my birthday, and finished it off in two days. I cannot wait until fall next year for the second book to come out. Rick Riordan wrote this series and the last (Percy Jackson & The Oplympians) intended for young readers (8-14) But I'm 16 and there's SO much I'm learning, and they're so fun to read! I don't think I will get bored reading any of his books more to come. I was a bit disappointed with the Kane Chronicle, which was a bit slow for me, but this series picked my anticipation up real quick.
heart racing and full of action
I've had this ongoing debate with a friend of mine about new series based on an older series,in this case Percy Jackson and the Olympians being the first series, and the new Heroes of Olympus series out. She complains that since the main character is different, the story will automatically suck, because who wants to read about someone in the same world who isn't the main character. THIS BOOK IS CONCLUSIVE PROOF ON MY SIDE!!! This book lets Percy take a backseat, and focuses on three new demigods recently found. Same world, same rules, different people. YET THE BOOK IS STILL AMAZING!! the action comes slower than the lightning thief or the last Olympian, but trademark sword duels and demigod powers is still very much here. The story sets up perfectly for the start of the series, and reads like a riordan book should, with plenty of wisecracks and wit everywhere. Recommended for fans of the Percy Jackson series, but i STRONGLY urge people picking this up to read the percy jackson books first, as to understand it better.
I have already read 2 chapters and can't wait for it to come out. It's going to be awesome
I thoroughly enjoyed the Percy Jackson series, and "The Red Pyramid" was great, but I think this is Riordan's best so far. I absolutely can't wait for the next book!
o my goodness i started to read the first two chapters of this and so far its amazing... i fell in love with th percy jackson books, so i'm glad that rick is making another greek themed series! i can't wait for this to come out! i hope the people who make it a movie actually stick to the book, unlike what they did for percy jackson. i hated that.