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Fans of Percy Jackson were in deep mourning when the final volume in the Olympians series, which opened with Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief finished, with Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian.

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My children were devastated when we reached the end of the series – and then delighted when we found out the story was not actually over.

The Heroes of Olympus is a new series by Riordan which also feature Percy Jackson. The first volume is called: The Lost Hero.

This adventure starts only a few months after the action of The Last Olympian concludes, although a lot has happened in the intervening months.

Percy has disappeared, and Annabeth, his girlfriend, has had no luck searching for him.

The story opens with the introduction of three new characters, Jason, Piper and Leo.  They meet at a kind of boarding school for delinquents, and it’s only when things go spectacularly wrong on a school field trip and they find themselves battling wind spirits aided by an ageing satyr they had thought was their sports coach, that they begin to question other strange events in their lives.

Spirited away to Camp Half Blood, they face their destiny and a brand new prophecy that will see them, and everyone associated with them drawn into terrible danger and the end of the lives they had always believed was their destiny.

If you already love Percy Jackson then you will be delighted with the continuation of the adventure.  If you’re new to Percy Jackson, you really do need to start at the beginning of the first series, because although much of the material here is new, it does rely on the reader understanding quite a lot of the back story that has gone on before, and the way that Riordan has chosen to write about and structure the world of his books.

My children were slightly unsure at first, wanting the comfort of the old characters to reassure them – but as the story progressed, at the same break neck, exciting speed that Riordan always writes, they became enthralled in the story in its own right.

Because we have already read the previous series, it was also great for them when they made links and connections with what we had read before, and were able to enrich the world of the story that Riordan had created with their own knowledge and imagination.

They soon warmed to the new characters, and were delighted by the main plot twist, which doesn’t really unfold until the end of the book and which really starts to come to fruition in volume two.

This first volume really is only setting the scene for what is to come, although Riordan never short changes the reader by making the story dull or slow. There is plenty of action and the same brilliant juxtaposition of myth and reality that made the first series such a refreshing delight to read.

This novel is quite a bit longer than those that make up the first series, and the density, pace and complex language means that it is really only suitable for older, confident readers, aged eight to fourteen.  I am reading the story aloud to my children, who love it, and if you have a younger child who enjoys fantasy fiction or has an interest in mythology it is an excellent read aloud story.  My children beg me for extended story time every time we read it.

The book is clearly aimed at boy readers, and as this book is slightly more advanced, material wise, than the previous series, it seems that Riordan is providing his long term, loyal readers, with something that they can grow up with and alongside.