What did you think of Rhea, Caleo 's return and the new campers (and development of the old ones)?
Dude, nice question!
Rhea I thought, was nicely done. Usually Rick portrays the big primordial beings (like Gaea and Tartarus) as completely overpowered and terrifyingly scary, but like it said in the book, Rhea reminded me a lot of Isis. I think she could become a bigger character throughout the series, and I would be nice to see an Immortal actively helping the heroes.
If I’m honest with you, I was dreading Caleo’s return, only because I thought Rick would hype it up, and make it overly dramatic. Again though, he has defied my expectations, instead providing the perfect amount of sass, sarcasm, and self-mockery to pull it off. I love the fact that most people in the fandom wanted Piper to punch Leo, but instead he was punch by the entire camp. I love the fact that Leo pointed out it took them all of 40 seconds to defeat Gaea. I love how awkward things were between Percy and Calypso. I LOVE that Harley was the one that brought Leo home (with Apollo’s help of course).
Oh, I could talk about the side characters in this book for hours. Rick has an unparalleled and unfailing way to make me completely fall in love with his characters.
Harley, I think, is definitely my favorite side-character in the book. He was so adorable, and excitable, and just so gosh darn cute. He reminded me of a lil’ puppy and I’m really glad we got to see more of him in this book.
The other side characters like Chiara, Damien, Paolo I thought were great as well, and I love love LOVE the fact that Rick is starting to include demigods of other nationalities. I’d love to see a Brit at CHB one day!
Though we don’t see that much of them, I thought Kayla and Austin’s relationship with Apollo really developed in this story. I think I’d like to get to know their characters more.
Nico was really great as well. He was happy, but he was still the grumpy and dorky son of Hades we all know and love. I laughed out loud at the bit where he organised the whole Camp to punch Leo (or as I like to call it, ‘the punch-line’) and ‘I have a doctor’s note’ is now my new favorite thing.
I think what most excited me about the development of the old characters was how much more we learned about one William Solace. Southern!Will was one of my favorite headcanons, and now it’s been #confirmed, which made me so unbelievably happy. I love how we know about his mother’s name and profession. I love how Rick characterized him exactly like I do in my fics, I actually got him right, I was so happy.
Meg. Meg Meg Meg. She was gooooood. She was done so well. I love that she’s a badass daughter of Demeter. I love that she’s only twelve. It reminds me of the fact that Percy was only twelve when he first started his quests. I love that she played such an important role in this book, and I have no doubt she’ll be pivotal in the whole series.
And finally Apollo. The development we see Apollo go through throughout the book is really quite great. At first, he’s a whiny teenager that’s been cut off by his Dad, but then we see him grow and change. He makes mistakes, and learns from them. He starts to care about the lowly mortals he use to all but ignore. He starts to understand just how much these heroes really do for the Gods, and just how much they have to sacrifice. He starts to doubt himself, and then comes back fighting when it matters most. He starts taking responsibility for things, instead of having it thrust upon him. But I also think he’s got a long way to go yet. There will be more lessons for him to learn, and when (if) he becomes a God again, I think he’ll be all the more stronger for it, and may even change the other Olympians way of thinking as well.