The Son of Neptune is the second book in The Heroes of Olympus series written by author Rick Riordan. It was released on October 4th, 2011, a week earlier than originally planned. The story takes place around six months after the previous book, The Lost Hero.
In an interview by Scholastic with Rick Riordan for The Lost Hero, Riordan is questioned about the whereabouts of Percy Jackson. The author hints that the answer would be revealed as Jason's quest progressed. By the end of the book he says that readers would have a good idea where the second book is going. It has led to speculation that the book would explore the events surrounding Percy and his involvement with Camp Jupiter, the Roman counterpart of Camp Half-Blood. On May 26, 2011, Riordan released both the cover art and the first chapter of the book confirming such speculation. Another excerpt that was read on a webcast event that aired on May 26, 2011 can be found here.
The cover has Percy Jackson on drift ice with a glacier in the background. Percy is holding a Roman eagle standard, like those that the legions carried. Riordan told of how he had to describe to John Rocco, the book's cover artist, of what the book was about, because the cover had to be done before Rick had finished writing it. After he had finished his description to Rocco, Rocco stayed up all night and created the cover.
According to Rick Riordan's blog, revisions of the third draft were completed on April 2, 2011. Riordan then tweeted on May 15, 2011, the manuscript is completely finished, revised, and edited. All that was left was formatting and publishing.
On August 8, 2011, Rick Riordan released a video giving more information about the book and its characters. The said video includes pictures of a black haired boy with a bow and arrow in his hands (Frank Zhang), a blonde haired boy holding a teddy bear in one hand and a knife in the other (Octavian), a girl with black hair sitting on a throne surrounded by a gold dog-looking creature with red eyes on her left and a silver dog-looking creature on her right (Reyna), and another girl riding a horse (Hazel).
Going to Camp Jupiter
Percy Jackson has no recollection of his life so far, except for a single name: Annabeth. He is being chased by the Gorgon sisters, Stheno and Euryale, who intend to kill Percy to avenge the death of their sister, Medusa, by his hand four years ago. Percy cannot remember killing Medusa, as he hardly remembers any of his past. He escapes and stumbles upon an old 'hippie' lady named June. June gives him a choice: he can carry her to the safety of Camp Jupiter across the highway and Little Tiber to regain his memory and, eventually, save the world, or he can retreat to the safety of the sea and live a long, happy life. Percy chooses to carry her across the river, losing the Curse of Achilles as a result, making him vulnerable once again.
At the entrance to Camp Jupiter, Percy meets two new demigods: Hazel Levesque and Frank Zhang. Together, they attack the Gorgons, who are eventually overtaken by Percy in the first demonstration of his demigod abilities. Percy is taken to the camp, where he is introduced to Reyna, the Praetor of the camp. Reyna seems to know something about who Percy is, but does not allow it to show. The old woman, being carried to safety by Percy, reveals herself as the goddess Juno. Juno reveals to the camp that Percy is a son of Neptune who has been slumbering for months. He is interviewed by Reyna, who is curious as to why he cannot remember his past. He is interviewed by Octavian who after consulting the auguries, allows Percy to join the legion.
Nico arrives at Camp Jupiter to visit his half-sister, Hazel. Percy recognizes him but Nico acts as if he does not recognize Percy. When left alone, Nico reveals to Hazel he does know Percy. Hazel has a flashback to her birthday of 1942. Marie, Hazel's mother, was originally blessed by Hazel's gift of jewels and diamonds. However, over time, news spread that the Jewels were cursed. Marie calls Hazel a "poisoned child" leading Hazel to run down the stairs. She bumps into a man and realizes it is her father, Pluto. Pluto tells Hazel that a descendant of Neptune will wash away her curse. She wonders if he is referring to Percy and returns to present day. When asked which cohort will take in Percy, Frank and Hazel invite him into the Fifth Cohort.
War Games and Receiving a Quest
During the Roman War Game, Percy impresses everyone with his natural battle skills and instincts. Mars, the god of war, then appears, and informs Frank Zhang that he is his son, and that Frank is to go on a quest and Percy must accompany him so that Percy will learn respect for Mars, due to Percy's bitter attitude toward the god for his past with Ares, such as the duel between them from The Lightning Thief.
Frank requests that Hazel also comes. Percy, Frank, and Hazel are to free Thanatos, the god of Death according to the "prophecy" Mars had given them. The three demigods set out on the quest using the only ship in the Roman navy, the Pax. While traveling, Percy struggles to retrieve his lost memory. It is revealed through Hazel's flashbacks that she had died in the 20th century, but Nico di Angelo had rescued her from Fields of Asphodel as he had felt like Hazel deserved another chance and it was too late to save Bianca di Angelo, who had chosen to be reborn. Frank has a stick that is connected to his life so if the stick were to ever completely burn, Frank would die. It is referred to as "the tree of life" by Thanatos when he is explaining to Percy, Hazel, and Frank about how his chains can be broken. Frank is also told by gods and people alike that he has "special talents," but does not know what they are and often thinks of Percy as better than him because Percy has more experience, confidence, and skills.
While speaking with Mars, his father, it is revealed that the seven demigods of the prophecy each pull their own weight, and Frank needs to stop comparing himself to Percy. Percy has a fatal flaw, personal loyalty, and Frank will need to make a decision that Percy himself cannot make. When Frank asks Mars what his is, Mars says that he cannot tell him and that he will need to discover his fatal flaw himself, and will, soon.
Departing Camp Jupiter
The trio leave arrive at the dock to start their quest on the Pax. On the way, Hazel gets a flashback to her first life and her death. They arrive in Mendocino and Hazel and Frank get attacked by karpoi, or grain spirits. Frank gets separated from Hazel and she lands in a field of grass. The karpoi serve Gaea and start to attack Hazel, but Frank and Percy finds her and defeat the karpoi. They then find Polybotes and his army marching towards Camp Jupitar. After Polybotes and his army leaves, they make their way to the R.O.F.L where they meet the godess Iris. Frank gets attacked by some snakes but he uses the spear Mars gave him to summon Gray which defeats the snakes for him.
Portland and Seattle
When traveling through Portland, Oregon, they encounter Ella the harpy. She is intelligent, but Phineas, also a son of Neptune, wants to keep her captive. Percy makes a deal with Phineas, betting on two vials of Gorgon Blood. One vial heals a person and the other one is fatal. Percy suggests they each take one and that if Phineas wins, the Gorgon Blood will give him his sight back, and if Percy wins, Phineas will grant them with information on where Thanatos is being held captive, by writing the place on a piece of paper. Phineas, thinking Gaea will protect him, accepts the gamble. Phineas eventually loses and crumbles into dust. The demigods take Ella with them and Hazel realizes that Ella may have read, and memorized, the Sibylline Books, books of prophecy about Rome.
On the boat ride to Seattle, Frank and Hazel share a flashback through Hazel's life. It is revealed that she gave up her spot in Elysium to save her mother from the Fields of Punishment. Frank gives Hazel his life stick to protect it. When they wake, they are in Seattle. They head to Amazon headquarters and ask the receptionist, Kinzie, to speak with Hylla. Percy and Frank are immediately knocked over, and the trio is disarmed.
They are taken to Hylla, through a gigantic warehouse that is for Amazon.com; people all over the world are unwittingly funding the Amazon kingdom. When they see Hylla, she recognizes Percy from their time on Circe's island, and blames him for her and Reyna's imprisonment by Blackbeard. She almost kills him until Hazel tells her they were sent by Reyna. Hylla has Hazel stay to talk while Frank and Percy are taken to jail cells.
Hylla reveals her difficult "situation" where Otrera has been brought back by Gaea and plans to fight Hylla to the death for the title of queen of the Amazons. Because Otrera will come back each time she dies because Thanatos is in chains, Hylla's chances are slim. Hazel is about to give up when Arion, the immortal horse that Hazel met briefly before her death in 1942, starts to get agitated in his cage. Hazel feeds him a gold nugget, and Hylla realizes she may be the one to tame him.
Hylla gives Hazel a rough plan to escape, and Hazel explodes a few tons of jewelry boxes to get to Percy and Frank, sets Arion free, and he pulls them to Vancouver.
Learning the Family Gift
The trio visits Grandma Zhang's home, which has been circled by Laistrygonian giants who believe that if they eat Frank, they will inherit his gifts. Frank uses his spear, a gift from Mars, to summon Gray, a skeleton warrior, who kills a group of the giants to allow Frank and his friends to sneak into his Grandma's house. There Mars is waiting for Frank so he can speak to him privately, to talk to him about his family gift and his duty. Mars waves his hand and Frank falls asleep, to be woken by his grandmother. The giants are waiting outside his house, while Percy blows up their explosive cannonballs with the garden hose. Frank hears Ella recite a prophecy that seems to relate to their quest, but she does not finish it as the paper was burnt. Percy blows up the garden irrigation system, as they drive out of Grandma Zhang's burning house. Frank thinks he sees a large black speck, a buzzard, flying from the second story window, which he thinks could be his grandma.
Using Frank's instructions from his grandmother, they find the plane owned by a legacy of Rome, who takes them to Alaska - the land beyond the gods. Ella refuses to go on the plane, so the trio leave her in the woods and Percy asks Tyson and Mrs. O'Leary in a dream, to go and find her. They land in Anchorage and take a train to Seward, which is close to the Hubbard Glacier. Then the train is attacked by gryphons and they hide under a Hyperborean giant. They continue to walk to Seward, but Percy gets trapped in the boggy soil, muskeg, Hazel jumps in to try and save him, but Gaea sends Hazel a vision of what life could have been like if she had not died, and the news that Nico had been captured. They rest at Hazel's old house in Seward, and Hazel goes out to find a way to travel to the Hubbard Glacier, but she had miscalculated and it was further away then she had previously thought. Suddenly, they are attacked by more gryphons, but before they can fight them off, Hazel hears Arion, who allows them to get on his back to go to the Hubbard Glacier.
Fighting Alcyoneus and Freeing Thanatos
They reach Hubbard Glacier and find Thanatos. His chains cannot be broken unless melted by the fire of life (Frank's stick). Hazel attacks Alcyoneus, while Percy defends Frank from around a hundred shades. Meanwhile, Frank uses his stick to melt Thanatos' chains (four chains wrapped around his limbs). Percy summons a mini-hurricane while attacking the shades and manages to retrieve the golden eagle, the pride of the Twelfth Legion. Frank eventually frees Thanatos, and is torn between helping Percy or Hazel. Percy tells him to help Hazel, assuring him that he will be okay. Frank then realizes his special gift, that he can literally shape-shift into anything. He transforms first into an eagle and then into a grizzly bear and knocks the giant unconscious. Hazel and Frank suddenly realize Percy's difficult situation as he grows more tired and can no longer keep his hurricane formed as the ghosts keep attacking him. Percy thrusts Riptide into the ground making the ice around him start breaking. The icy Roman camp, shades, and Percy Jackson fall over the edge of the glacier into the void as Frank and Hazel watch.
Frank is so distracted by Percy's sacrifice that he zones out. Hazel has to inform him of the task at hand. They mount Hazel's horse, Arion, and drag the giant into Canada, only 10 miles from the glacier. The giant wakes up and demands to know where he is. He is in a daze but quickly gets up and charges at Frank. As the giant charges, Frank waits and then quickly transforms into an elephant (remembering his grandmother's advice to change into an animal he knows well). The giant is finally defeated by Hazel, and the two rush back to where Percy went over. Percy is seen standing at the glacier, angry, but otherwise unharmed. When they approach him, Percy casually greets them and Frank notes that he looked like they were just meeting up for lunch. Percy says that the fall was nothing, and states that he fell twice as far off the St. Louis Arch. Hazel and Frank look appalled at Percy's nonchalant attitude, despite everything he had just done. First they gather all the lost weapons and armor made of Imperial Gold in a chariot, knowing that the weapons could make a huge difference for the camp if they get back in time. Then they mount Arion and race back to Camp Jupiter arriving there in four hours.
Joining the Defensive
Percy fully regains his memory during the four hour journey back to Camp Jupiter, but when they return, they see that the Camp is under attack. Percy takes charge and leads the Romans into battle, with the help of his old friends, Tyson and Mrs. O'Leary, the hellhound. They also bring Ella with them after finding her, and she and Tyson seem to like each other. The Romans defend their camp with valor after discovering that Percy had retrieved the legion's golden eagle. Percy then challenges the giant Polybotes to a duel and the rest of the camp form a circle around the two. Percy calls to Terminus, the god of borders, to help him defeat the giant as giants can only be defeated by demigods and gods working together. Percy eventually defeats the giant after a treacherous battle by smashing Terminus' detached head into Polybotes' skull.
The camp is once again in awe of Percy's instincts and skills, and they name him praetor, leader of the Roman camp. Percy collapses from exhaustion later that night, and is confronted by Hera in a dream. She calls him "a loose cannon", but says that he is valuable because he is the glue that will unite the Greeks and the Romans. Percy then talks to the camp about Hera's plan about uniting the two camps. Even though Octavian tries with his heart and soul to prevent the camp from listening to Percy, he is overwhelmed by the others' support for Percy. Percy swears on his life that the Argo II will be harmless and Octavian makes it clear for everyone; either they behave or Percy, along with the Greeks, would be killed. At the end of the book, Percy, Hazel, Frank, and the rest of the camp go to await the arrival of the Argo II carrying Jason Grace, Piper McLean, Leo Valdez, Percy's girlfriend, Annabeth, and Coach Hedge. Percy puts one arm around Frank and one arm around Hazel and tells them he wants to introduce them to his other family.
There are no chapter titles. Each chapter has a name of one of the main characters and is written in Roman Numerals. There are 52 chapters going alternately in the order of Percy, Hazel then Frank. Each characters gets four chapters before it shifts to another character.
|Percy||I, II, III, IV, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII, XXXVII, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XL, XLIX, L, LI, LII|
|Hazel||V, VI, VII, VIII, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXIX, XXX, XXXI, XXXII, XXXIX, XLI, XLII, XLIII, XLIV|
|Frank||IX, X, XI, XII, XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV, XXXIII, XXXIV, XXXV, XXXVI, XLV, XLVI, XLVII, XLVIII|
Before going on a quest, a prophecy is required and was therefore insisted upon by Octavian. Mars gave them an informal prophecy, which is more like instructions rather than a guide, written by Mars himself on paper and his grenade-turned-ballpen:
"Go to Alaska. Find Thanatos and free him. Come back by sundown on June twenty-fourth or die."
However, while in the Zhang's mansion, Ella recited two lines of a prophecy to Frank:
"To the north, beyond the gods, lies the legion's crown. Falling from ice, the son of Neptune shall drown-"
This part of the prophecy was apparently read by Ella from the Books of Sibylline, but was not able to read the whole prophecy because the rest was burnt before she got the chance to read it.
- Percy Jackson - The son of Poseidon who appears at Camp Jupiter after being switched with Jason Grace.
- Hazel Levesque - A demigod daughter of Pluto and from Camp Jupiter, she becomes friends with Percy along with Frank.
- Frank Zhang - A demigod son of Mars from Camp Jupiter, he becomes friends with Percy after the latter saved his life.
- Nico di Angelo - A son of Hades and Hazel's half brother.
- Ella - A highly knowledgeable harpy, who follows Percy, Hazel, and Frank on their quest until she was brought back to Camp Jupiter.
- Stheno - one of the remaining Gorgons who chases Percy with Euryale at the start of the book.
- Euryale - the other Gorgon who also chases Percy in The Son of Neptune.
- Phineas - a blind seer and undead son of Neptune who wagered boldly with Percy.
- Gaea - The earth goddess. She taunts Percy and Hazel throughout the book.
- Alcyoneus - One of Gaea's children, the Giants. The evil counterpart of Pluto/Hades.
- Polybotes - Another one of Gaea's children; the evil counterpart of Neptune/Poseidon.
- Otrera - First and original Queen of the Amazons. Brought back to life by Gaea and tried to take over the Amazons, planning to head to Camp Jupiter and fight on Gaea's side alongside Polybotes and his army of monsters.
- Many other monsters.
- Hera/Juno - the goddess of marriage and queen of the Olympians who brings Percy to the camp. Percy carried her across the Little Tiber river.
- Ares/Mars - the god of war who issues the prophecy and quest to Alaska.
- Reyna - a daughter of Bellona and Praetor of the Twelfth Legion.
- Hylla - Queen of the Amazons and Reyna's older sister.
- Octavian - a legacy of Apollo and augur of Camp Jupiter.
- Lupa - the immortal wolf who serves as trainer and overseer of Camp Jupiter. Is Chiron's counterpart in Roman culture.
- Thanatos - the god of death and lieutenant of Pluto.
- Tyson - a Cyclops son of Poseidon and Percy Jackson's half-brother.
- Mrs. O'Leary - Percy's pet hellhound.
- Hyperborean Giants - They appeared in Alaska, where Percy and the gang seek to free Thanatos.
- Leo Valdez - the engineer of the Argo II, which Percy has frequent dreams about.
- Terminus - the god who guards the boundaries of the camp.
- Julia - a little girl who is Terminus' assistant.
- If all of Poseidon's Greek children are counted as Romans, there are four sons of Neptune in the book:
- Percy Jackson, Arion (Hazel's horse), Phineas, and Tyson are children of Poseidon.
- Also, Periclymenus, Shen Lun, and Frank are legacies of Poseidon, along with the rest of Frank's family.
- Arion and Phineas are children of Poseidon in mythology, but in the book they are said to be children of Neptune.
- The number of chapters from the character's point of view is different. In The Lost Hero, each of the main characters (Jason, Piper, Leo) gets two chapters before it shifts to another character while in The Son of Neptune the main characters (Percy, Hazel, Frank) gets four chapters each instead of two.
- The Son of Neptune takes place exactly six months after the events of The Lost Hero. However, Percy claimed that Hera stole eight months of his life instead of six, as Percy went missing in December and arrived at Camp Jupiter in late June. Oddly enough Hazel also claimed that Jason was missing since October which supports that Percy and Jason were missing for 8 months and not 6.
- This is the first book in the entire Camp Half-Blood series that does not feature Camp Half-Blood as a main setting.
- The Son of Neptune has more prophecies mentioned than any other book:
- The first Great Prophecy is mentioned by Ella.
- The Prophecy of Seven is read partly by Percy and we learn the leader of the Fifth Cohort tried to control it decades ago, but failed.
- Mars gave a prophecy to go to Alaska to free Thanatos, but this may not be a true prophecy.
- Ella spoke of a prophecy about a son of Neptune drowning.
- Ella also mentioned a prophecy about Wisdom's daughter.
- The Amazons mention a prophecy about how the most courageous female warrior would someday master Arion and ride him to victory, ushering in a new era of prosperity for the Amazons.
- The Prophecy of Seven was first heard by Camp Half-Blood after the Second Olympian War. However, as shown in The Son of Neptune, Camp Jupiter has known about the prophecy for centuries.
- The Son of Neptune makes several references to events during the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, even before Percy got his memory back.
- Percy has a dream about fighting Ares on the beach in The Lightning Thief.
- Percy called the Laistrygonian Giants Canadians, something Annabeth called them during The Sea of Monsters.
- Nereus is seen giving Percy a dirty look when he passed San Francisco because of the events in The Titan's Curse. Percy also remembered looking for Annabeth here and the death of Zoë Nightshade, events also from The Titan's Curse.
- Vitellius asked if Percy cleans stables during their first conversation. Percy claimed he didn't, but he did clean the Flesh-Eating Horse's Stables in The Battle of the Labyrinth, although that was likely due to Percy's amnesia at the time.
- When Percy dreams about Leo Valdez working on the Argo II, he recognizes the head of Festus. This is a reference to the short story The Bronze Dragon from The Demigod Files, where Percy worked with the titular character.
- Hazel tells Percy about Jason Grace's defeat of the Titan Krios. Percy feels like he can imagine something like that. This could be a reference to The Titan's Curse or The Last Olympian, where Percy fought Atlas and Hyperion and Kronos respectively.
- Percy vaguely remembers seeing Nico di Angelo's face before, but cannot recognize his name.
- This is the only book cover that shows Percy from the front.
- This is the only book in the Heroes of Olympus series in which Leo and Piper do not narrate a chapter.
- Ironically the initials of the title, Son of Neptune, spell SON.
- The Son of Neptune seems to make more references to The Sea of Monsters than any other book in The Heroes of Olympus series:
- Queen Hylla and Percy discuss the latter's confrontation with Circe, including his transformation into a guinea pig and the subsequent destruction of C.C.'s Spa and Resort.
- Percy vaguely recalls fighting the Laistrygonian Giants, but does not recall Tyson's involvement.
- Several characters and species play a big role in both books: Percy, Tyson, the Laistrygonians, and the Harpies.
- Grover Underwood only appears in Percy's dreams, similar to how he mostly appears in dreams in The Sea of Monsters.
- Don the faun mentions Percy's empathy link with Grover, which was first referenced in The Sea of Monsters.
- The title, The Son of Neptune, could be a reference to the original title of The Lightning Thief; The Son of the Sea God.
- The book is dedicated to Rick Riordan's wife, Becky. He said she shares his sanctuary in New Rome and not even Hera could make him forget her.
- Hazel is the only narrator not descended from Poseidon.