Read the complete and original review (and many more) at Word SpelunkingTHREE WORDS: Fun, Spellbinding, Educational-in-a-totally-surprising-and-awesome-way (it is too one word, pftt)MY REVIEW: I can’t believe I actually let this book sit on my shelf for nearly a month before picking it up (durn real life commitments)! I LOVED this second installment in Rick Riordan’s The Heroes of Olympus Series. Riordan continues to awe, amaze, and inspire me with his magical way with words and his status as a master storyteller.I am going to try and be as spoiler free as possible in this review! If you haven’t read the first book in this series, The Lost Hero, then you really must…actually, you should really start with The Lightning Thief, the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series…seriously, go, run and read them now…I can wait…As the lengthy synopsis states, in this installment, we find our hero Percy without his memory and only with the barest recollection of who and what he is. Fighting his way through monsters, Percy ends up at Camp Jupiter, a camp for demigods- children and descendants of the Roman Gods. At Camp Jupiter, Percy’s status as a son of Neptune is not seen as a good thing and he is quickly looked upon with distrust and caution. But then Mars, the god of war, declares that Percy and his new friends, klutzy Frank and unusual Hazel, must travel to the land beyond the gods, Alaska, and free Thanatos (Death). So the three demigods set out on a dangerous and deadly adventure.First of all, I was simply ecstatic to have Percy back, as he was not in the The Lost Hero. I did not realize how much I missed him! Even without his memory, Percy is still very much the same lovable, awesome character he has always been. He’s still brave, loyal, funny, and honorable. But, he’s also matured and grown in the months since the events in The Last Olympian. And I enjoyed every second spent with him!Riordan simply gets better and better with each book he writes. What I’m loving about this series is that it doesn’t feel repetitive or seem to just mirror its predecessor. Of course, it is similar to the first series, but it’s always entirely fresh and original in its own right as well. It has the same enchanting, captivating, magical quality of the first series, but Riordan has really added new, intricate layers and has expanded this world wonderfully.It was so much fun exploring a whole new realm of gods and goddesses. Camp Jupiter, with its Roman gods, is just has fascinating and spellbinding as Camp Half-Blood, although it is vastly different. Riordan has really offered readers a whole new world within a familiar setting.While I certainly missed the characters from the first series and from The Lost Hero, I definitely loved meeting all the new characters in this book. Riordan does an amazing job of creating realistic, relatable, and likable characters that come across has both entirely unique and endearingly average. I fell in love with Frank and Hazel as quickly and as much as I did with Jason, Piper, and Leo in the first book. Although, I’ll admit that Percy, Annabeth, and Grover will always be my favorite unstoppable trio.The action and thrilling excitement does not disappoint in this book! Even older readers (ahem, like me) will find themselves reading feverishly with a racing heart. My attention was grabbed from the very first sentence and I simply fell into the story, never wanting to leave. In fact, with only about 100 pages left to read, I actually forced myself to set the book down for a whole day because I didn’t want it to end.Surprisingly, I found this book to be quite educational. With the first series, I learned a great deal about Greek mythology and with this book I not only learned about Roman mythology, but also about the rich, complex history of Ancient Rome. And the best part is that younger readers won’t even realize they’re actually learning something because they will be having too much fun immersed in Percy’s journey! How cool is that parents and teachers?!MY FINAL THOUGHTS: The Son of Neptune is a phenomenal second installment in a spectacular series. Rick Riordan continues to enthrall and entertain readers (young and old alike) with his creativity, intelligence, and awesome ability to weave a story. Fans of the first book will not be disappointed and readers who have yet to discover this series are in for a wonderfully magical surprise once they do. A definite and total MUST read for all fantasy fans.