Wednesday, October 9, 2013


The House of Hades was the biggest disappointment in my literary life. And no, not because I had unrealistic expectations from it. I knew perfectly well that this book was at a crossroads (ironic, for anyone who's read it,) and that it could either be great or terrible.

I did not expect it to be this bad.

I had several problems with it. There was a ton of politicizing going on in the book, which ruins any story. However, my biggest problem is on page 265. Jason is talking about how he and Reyna idolized the emperor Diocletian. Hazel points out that Diocletian persecuted the Christians, and wonders why Jason would idolize him. Jason's response:
"He wasn't a total villain," Jason said. "Yeah, he persecuted the Christians, but otherwise he was a good ruler."
The truth behind this little anecdote is that Diocletian ordered the Diocletianic Persecution - the most severe persecution in Roman history! I mean, good grief, thousands of innocent people died in that persecution! It lasted for eight years (303-311) and was ordered across the whole Roman Empire. That is effectively the whole civilized world except the Far East. Christians were tortured, in an attempt to make them sacrifice to the Roman emperor or the old Roman gods, and if they didn't, they were murdered.

I'm sorry, you don't dismiss that. According to, estimates for deaths in the Diocletianic Persecution are up to 17,000. Seventeen thousand! In eight years! Diocletian actually released common criminals - meaning, actual criminals - just so he could imprison Christian clergy.

That could be considered just a throwaway comment - not worthy of ruining the book - if it wasn't done twice, this time in reference to Nero on page 252:
"Ha!" Octavian said. "You're the Oracle of Delphi? Right. And I'm the Emperor Nero!"
"At least Nero could play music," Grover muttered.
There may have been more cases. I'm not sure. I didn't finish the book, and I don't intend to. I'm well aware that in today's society, you can offend Jews or Christians and by and large get a pass, but I did not expect Riordan to go that route.

There were actually a lot of other things in the book that made me want to smack my head off a wall, but I'm not going to get into those, for a couple different reasons. Suffice it to say that this book was beyond disappointing.

No comments:

Post a Comment