There are SPOILERS for the first three books in the series, so read at your own risk.
After that major cliffhanger at the end of Mark of Athena I was a bit shell-shocked. Two of my favorite characters were now roaming around the deepest, darkest parts of the Underworld. How would they survive? Well, I knew they would make it through it. That's a given. Not for one second did I believe that Riordan would kill off his original main characters. So while my heart was pumping and I was dying to see how they pulled off such an escape, I knew they would do just that- escape.
Tartarus was the most interesting of the settings Riordan has created for his many series'. I could tell he had put a ton of thought into how he could create such a place on paper. And he totally pulled it off. What a terribly, terrifying place!
This was my favorite Riordan book and no one will convince me otherwise. Every page was a delight to read and I couldn't stop flipping through to see what happened next. Both above the earth and below it, the characters felt with more complex (morally and physically) quests than they ever had before. Major characters grew and learned in unexpected ways (I'm looking at you, Frank and Hazel). And it reached a darker level than it ever had before. I love to see Middle Grade literature start to deal with real world problems, such as the divide between good and evil, and whether a good intention is really a good intention without proper action to back it up. This teaches a valuable lesson to people of all ages, but can really work to imprint on the younger generation that is reading this.
On a lighter and less scholarly note, I think I found my favorite character of the series. MVP of this book goes to Leo Valdez for just being the light of my life! He seriously made the book funnier and his story is the most interesting. I almost wish the series centered on him alone so that he got more page time.
This is a series worth reading. To add House of Hades to your goodreads, click here.