When demonic cheerleaders invade his high school, Percy Jackson hurries to Camp Half Blood, from whence he and his demigod friends set out on a quest through the Labyrinth, while the war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near.
Original publication date
This fourth book in the series is a far cry from the first book in the series. The story was intriguing and kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat. The twist and the turns were ones that I had not been expecting. There is a part of me that almost wished that more time was spent on the different gods and their histories, (ie. Calypso) although that would probably be a completely different series in itself. In the end, I was thoroughly surprised, that which the first couple of books failed to achieve. Percy Jackson and the Olympians is proving itself to be like a warm drink on a bitterly cold day - taking its time to warm you up, but once you are settled, it feels absolutely heavenly.
Mr. Riordan is beginning to suffer from the Rowling Disease. That's creating a new artifact or artifacts in each book to solve problems that could be solved easily enough by an artifact already introduced and used in an earlier
Deus ex machina du jour conturbat me.
but then Chaucer would disembowel me with Zeus' thunderbolt.
*These can take form of the ill-advised philosophical interlude (see Taran Wanderer), the overly-long training montage, the psychological-trauma-purge-session so we can just
Actually in most ways, The Battle of the Labyrinth is a perfectly solidly entertaining entry and not a dire example of the "set-up" novel. In a brief sequence we check in with Percy Jackson undergoing orientation at his new high school, where he again runs into Rachel Elizabeth Dare, the mortal who can see through the Mist. But almost immediately the action ramps up and Percy is called to an emergency quest: Kronos is planning an invasion of Camp Half-Blood by leading his army through the Labyrinth and our heroes must enter the Labyrinth to seek Daedalus's help, before Luke does.
I like the idea of the Labyrinth as a living entity that grows underground, constantly shifting, and having entrances and exits all over the world. Riordan mostly uses it as a device to deliver the group directly to exciting new obstacles. There's only one new main character, Rachel Dare, who brings a nice new perspective, while the other returning characters get grouped into interesting dynamics. Teaming up Tyson and Grover on their own, for example, is a bit inspired mischief, while Percy and Annabeth have entered the bickering stage of their relationship... and don't forget the drop-ins by Nico and Rachel Dare.
The separated plot threads weave a vaster playing field than previous installments, but it's also the first book that can't really stand on its own as a full story. It seems a bit of a necessary evil to set up the inevitable "final battle" coming in The Last Olympian, but I miss the plain zaniness I most associate with the series. It's not completely gone-- Nico summons the dead with Happy Meals and the Sphinx has given up riddles for standardized testing-- but it's been reduced for a more serious overall tone. Combined with the new sorts of personal struggles Percy's going through (including the so many girl troubles Aphrodite promised him, oh Percy you fool), and it's a little bittersweet how close this feels to the end.
The story gets progressively more complex, interweaving characters that Riordan
There's a touching tribute to Pan towards the end and much left open for interpretation (Pan's words to the group, the meaning of Annabeth's quest, Nico's re-appearance, Luke's fate).
Compelling as always, though you may want to read up on your mythology prior to diving in.
Kronos wants to take down Camp Half-Blood before he tackles the gods at Mt. Olympus.
Now, Percy must find the maker of the maze so he doesn't tell Kronos how to navigate the maze.
I think this is an amazing addition to the series.
I do laugh about this series because it, like so much of kids/YA lit, is completely formulaic, but the formula is so much fun, you just can't help enjoying yourself. I liked this volume better than the previous -- it's
"Think positive. Tomorrow you're off to camp! After orientation, you've got your date--"
"It's not a date!" I
You can feel that "Jeez!" sear the page. It's lovely. Awkwardness like this abounds throughout the book, in and around the more action-packed plot Percy's readers are used to, and it's not just between Percy and Annabeth. It seems like everyone has a love interest all of a sudden, even Grover. I love it!
Aside from embarrassing romantic entanglements, The Battle of the Labyrinth mirrors the form and quality of the three preceding books in the series. There is action! There is a prophecy! There is THE prophecy! There are angry gods who can't seem to take care of themselves! There are Percy, Annabeth and Grover all ready and willing to save the day! I appreciated Annabeth's leadership role and the focus on Grover's quest in this book. I really hope that this more extended treatment of them is not just to make up for a 5th book all about Percy and his 16th birthday.
As usual, there seemed to be rushed moments in the book. For this book, it seemed to me that the final battle was too rushed, but I feel that way frequently about the final confrontations in YA books. It just always amazes that an entire book can be taken to get to the confrontation, yet the confrontation is over in one single chapter. I guess I just always enjoy the build up to the battle, that when it finally happens, it just happens all too fast.
With only one book to go, Riordan has done a nice job of keeping fewer and fewer plot lines dangling so that I think he'll be able to tie up the story nicely. I'm looking forward to the final installment, but at the same time, as this has been an enjoyable series to read, will be sad to see the story come to an end.
I cannot wait for the next book.
I'm quite looking forward to reading the next book.
Comparison with the Harry Potter series is once again, unavoidable. Not only because Harry Potter is the gold standard, but there are certainly many similarities between the series. Just like the second to the last book in the Harry Potter series, this book also spent time and beef up the romance element! There are three girls for Percy - Annabeth, Rachel and Calypso. Even Grover got Juniper! Not to mention we found out tough girl Clarisse has her heart for traitor turn crazy and now back to normal Chris. Love is in the air and i think it's appropriate given the characters are now 15 and they need to have that emotional connections before the inevitable battle in the final book. The rise of the main villain is another good example of how similar the two series are. There is also a battle at the end of this book, it is big, but we know it will be nothing compare to the final book. Just like in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the battle in the end is nothing compare to the battle in the final book. Even though I see all these similarities, but it is not an imitation like how Eragon is pretty much a copy of Star Wars but move it in the fantasy dragon land. That is a complete similarity of the plots, the similarity between Percy Jackson and Harry Potter is more in terms of the structure of the series and the writing style.
This book once again, make the series even more epic with the scope of the Labyrinth, the ever impressive monsters and the final battle. I know the chances are slim, but I really hope they get to make it into a movie. But one can only hope, since so far none of any young adult fantasy books turned films make it past the first movie. None of them made a ton of money. Even Narnia might not be able to adapt the entire series given the eroding responses. The only exception is Harry Potter. (not counting Twilight, since that's more of in the genre of teen romance territory)
I love Riordan's ability to give great mental images of horrifying "monsters" in such a way that you see it without it becoming the cause of nightmares.