The House of Hades

The latest and the fourth book in the The Heroes of Olympus series is The House of Hades. The previous book The Mark of Athena ended in a cliff-hanger. It was the first time Rick Riordan has ended a book with a cliff-hanger (which I enjoyed) in either of The Heroes of Olympus or Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. Well the fans criticized him for doing so and the author was prompt enough to apologize for the same (Dedicated one full-page for it!).

To my wonderful readers:
Sorry about that last cliff-hanger.
Well, no, not really. HAHAHAHA.
But seriously, I love you guys.

Not quite an apology but at least he acknowledged it!

The House of Hades

The narrators for this books are Hazel, Annabeth, Leo, Percy, Frank, Jason, Piper. This time round the action is split into two halves, one in Tartarus and another over Italy. Annabeth and Percy are trapped in Tartarus and must find their way out of it through the House of Hades. Hazel, Leo, Frank, Jason, Piper and Coach Gleeson Hedge must find a way to return Athena Parthenos to stop the impending Roman attack on Camp Half-Blood.

A votive sculpture found near the Varvakeion school reflects the type of the restored Athena Parthenos

The book opens on the morning of July 3, two days after the end of The Mark of Athena, somewhere in northwestern Italy. The Argo II is unsuccessfully trying to fly east over the Apennine Mountains running down the center of the Italian peninsula past hostile mountain gods who hurl boulders at the ship. Hazel sees Arion racing through the countryside and she asks Leo to descend so she can speak to him. Arion takes her to a nearby crossroads enveloped by storms where the goddess Hecate is waiting for her.

Hecate tells Hazel that she has four options: go west, back to the United States with the Athena Parthenos to stop the impending Roman attack on Camp Half-Blood, and leave Percy and Annabeth to their fate; go east, to make another attempt at crossing the Apennines, which will get the ship pounded to pieces, and although the Seven may survive the crash, they will be knocked out of the war with the Giants; go south, to Epirus around the southern end of Italy, which will not save Percy and Annabeth, either; or go north, to Bologna and then to Venice via a secret pass through the Apennines once used by Hannibal in his attack on Rome during the Second Punic War, which will require Hazel to use the Mist to protect the ship and her friends.

The rest of the story is about the decision Hazel’s decision and the hurdles Argo II has to face because of it and the path Percy and Annabeth have to take to escape from Tartarus.

This perhaps is the most darkest book Rick Riordan has written in recent time. There are lots of information about Tartarus and the action is gripping most of the time. The biggest improvement this time is that Rick Riordan was able to pull off the seven narrator thing which in my opinion he failed to do with The Mark of Athena. And unlike The Mark of Athena you do not feel that any hero received a raw deal! The book introduces new Gods, monsters and there is detail description of Tartarus.

The House of Hades is the best book in the The Heroes of Olympus series and is a must read.

SPOILER ALERT! Read it only if you have finished reading the book

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Review- Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

The movie briefly explains, Thalia’s sacrifice and Zeus taking pity on her and transforming her into a pine tree, creating a magical border around the camp so that no other half-blood would suffer from a fate as she did. In present day, Chiron and Mr. D investigate a Cyclops that has somehow passed through the border, and the cyclops is revealed to be Tyson, Percy’s half-brother. The camp is suddenly attacked by a Colchis Bull, who breaks through the border and ravages Camp Half-Blood. Percy finally defeats it with the help of Tyson, Annabeth, and Clarisse. Luke Castellan suddenly appears and confronts Percy, trying to convert him to his cause. When Percy refuses, Luke disappears.

The campers soon realize that Thalia’s tree has been poisoned and that they have been left vulnerable to attacks. Annabeth and Grover then find a way to save the tree as they learn about the Golden Fleece which has the power to heal almost anything and they then propose a quest to Mr. D, where they retrieve the Fleece from Polyphemus‘ Lair in CirceLand in the Sea of Monsters and use it to heal Thalia’s tree. Mr. D then announces the quest, but chooses Clarisse to lead the quest instead, much to Annabeth’s and Percy’s dismay.

Percy then convinces Grover and Annabeth to accompany him on the quest, and Tyson joins them against the groups’ wishes.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6aYjbpBm-E%5D

Firstly let me admit that I have read all the books in Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. So I could be a little biased against the movie. One of the scenes in the movie, looked like frame to frame rip from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (The taxi scene). The story of Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief had deviated a lot from the book. Thor Freudenthal (Director) has made this movie closer to the book.

The special effects are good but it could have been much better especially since Percy and his friends were sailing through the sea of monster. Sadly quite a few monsters from the book are missing. In the sea of monster, we see only one monster: Charybdis which was a bit of let down.

There are lots of plot holes like Percy talking to the lake and expecting Poseidon to respond. Unfortunately for Percy, Poseidon is the “God of the Sea” and not lake! The conclusion of the movie is absolutely pathetic. The final fight sequence kind of shows that Titans are easy to deal with!

Personally I don’t know which movie is worse Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters or Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. Watch it only if you are a fan of the series, even then you might be disappointed (like me)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I went in 1 hour early to watch The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. 9 am on a Christmas morning I was standing outside the Mall to get my tickets (Could have purchased the tickets online but it doesn’t feel the same!). 1 hour later I was inside the theater watching the movie I have been waiting for a long time!

I had my apprehensions about the movie ever since it was announced that Hobbits would be a trilogy like Lord of the rings and unlike LOTR trilogy, The Hobbits was a book written for kids. I have read the book couple of times. To be honest I have not enjoyed quite a few movies that were based on a book. Having seen directors like Chris Columbus ruin Harry Potter film series (And now he is ruining Percy Jackson and the Olympians series), I wasn’t sure whether Peter Jackson could do it right again. Few minutes into the movie and I knew I was in a for a very good treat. The magic of the Middle Earth for there for all to see.

In the book the dwarves came across as little greedy and very grumpy. There was no way you could like them, like you liked Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins. The best thing about the movie is that Peter Jackson makes you feel sorry for dwarves and you tend to cheer for them. They are shown as normal people with loyalty, who are fighting for what they had lost.

As the movie goes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is not based page by page on the Hobbits the book. There are lots of changes in the movie and that adds a bit of substance and meaning to the movie and makes it a more pleasurable experience to watch the movie.

Time for a short synopsis:

The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.

The focus is basically on three characters:

Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey: Once again it almost looks like he was always meant to play Gandalf (Mithrandir). He looks complete natural like he did in LOTR.

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins: Pulled out the role to perfection. There are two stages to Bilbo Baggins. One where Bilbo is scared and doesn’t want to be part of the quest and the other where he finds his courage and fights shoulder to shoulder along side dwarves. Having seen him play small supporting roles in movies like Ali G Indahouse, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. I wasn’t sure whether he was a right guy to play Bilbo Baggins. But by the looks of it, he is just the right guy!

Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield: looked good in his role as the angry leader of the Company of Dwarves and thanks to Peter Jackson’s script changes his anger was justifiable.


Best thing about watching movie in a theater is that you sense what other people felt about the movie. I can vividly remember few scenes in the movie.

1. The scene where Gandalf helps the dwarves escape from the Goblins led by the Great Goblin was truly epic!
2. Gollum paddling from his island (Slimy island) in his little raft.
3. The game of riddles played out between Gollum and Bilbo Baggins. Gollum had everyone watching the movie in splits of laughter. It is really sad Andy Serkis never got Academy Awards for playing Gollum. Brilliant actor!
4. Thorin Oakenshield swallows his pride and accepts to Bilbo Baggins that he had never been so wrong about anybody else and hugs him.

If you haven’t seen the movie, make it a point to watch it. You won’t be disappointed!