Book Report: House of Hades

Editors’ Note:

Here is a example of a book report by a student, Brian B, in Mr. Key’s Humanities class. The editor is Michelle G.

Weaving Actions Together

House of Hades, told in the first person through alternating chapters from each of the seven characters’ point of view, depicts their struggles concerning relationships with others and even with themselves.

The consistent theme is the possibilities and consequences of one’s acts, even though, the story is basically about how government is run and how it deals with its problems and consequences.  The story, however, shows mostly the positive outcomes.  In the story, the main characters have to make decisions that are life or death.  Most of the decisions come out good, but the decision that produced a very bad outcome caused peril for the whole group and depression amongst the characters, especially for the character that caused the mistake.

Governments work the same way.  Governments make mostly good choices, but when they make a bad choice it draws substantial amounts of negative attention towards them.  For example, recently when the United States went into a recession, a great number of Americans blamed President Obama and reported their regret for having voted for him.  Also, when the government later shut down, the country turned on the Republicans, not because they shut down the whole government, but because the community was not able to do simple things such as going to national parks.  The date the book was published also plays a part in the theme of the book – since it was published in 2013, the author might have been influenced by the actual governmental mishaps in the United States.

Other text that are similar can be found in the author’s own repertoire.  He has multiple books in the “Heroes of Olympus” and “Percy Jackson” series.  In fact, the “Heroes of Olympus” series is an offshoot of the “Percy Jackson” series.  The author has also written another series called “The Kane Chronicles”.  All of these series have similar themes to House of Hades.  Another series with this style of writing is Christopher Paolini’s “Inheritance” series (or as it is more well known, the “Eragon” series.) The difference is that Paolini writes in a more mature style for older people, whereas Riordan is more of a youth adult writer.  Also, Paolini dresses up his series with mythological dragons while Riordan uses Greek mythology or, in the case of “The Kane Chronicles,” Egyptian mythology.

One could also compare this book to twine because the book is made of multiple converging strands that render it stronger.  The structure recalls aspects of the “Percy Jackson” series and from earlier books in the “Heroes of Olympus” series such as the reappearance of antagonists and memories of epic battles from previous plot lines.  They all intersect and combine to form a stronger narrative thread.  When the reader sees these familiar occurrences in the book, it creates a friendly feeling and it feels like the story is a real story.  As in real life, the story, like twine, can continue to be brought together and therefore is not yet finished.  It is an accumulation of pieces in a woven puzzle that is very close to being finished – the border is done, but the core is not completed.  The twine metaphor represents real life in another way because while going through life, many different aspects or threads seem familiar and relatable to the past, but life constantly weaves new threads into the structure, making it stronger and richer.

Another work of art that has a similar “twine” meaning is the New Zealand film Whale Rider.  In the movie, the grandfather tells the main character that a rope is made up of small strands that are individually weak, but as a whole they act as a strong community.  The film returns to this idea throughout by showing how working together and sticking by one another makes for better individual lives and a better community.  The book House of Hades is like that as well because when all of the individual stories and characters come together they are much stronger than individuals.

In conclusion, this book looks into life as we know it in an interesting and inventive way.  The book’s theme is about the causes and effects of one’s actions, more specifically those difficulties that come from running a government.  Another deeper meaning is that the book is about the metaphor of twine in the sense that it demonstrates the advantages of multiple strands of life making for a stronger, more diverse society.

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