The Last Olympian is the fifth and final volume in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. My reviews of the first four books are here, here, here, and here. The bare-bones explanation: Percy Jackson is a half-blood, the son of a human mother and a Greek god. There’s a prophesy that when he turns sixteen, he will make a decision that will determine the fate of the world, whether the gods will continue to shepherd humanity or if the titans will destroy the gods and reclaim ultimate power over Earth.
We get almost nothing by way of exposition, and not much of the quest-type action that characterizes the earlier books; there’s a little bit of ominous preparation and then we’re dropped right into the climactic battle. For the most part this is just fine; the battle has its own plot arc, and its placements fits well into the overall plot arc of the series. The bit of questing that takes place at the beginning of The Last Olympian is important but feels a bit rushed, squeezed in on our way to demigods and titans duking it out around the Empire State Building.
Yep, the Empire State Building, entrance to Olympus and focal point of the novel. The first four books take some pretty awesome road trips around the United States, always coming back to New York. This one sticks close to home, with a clear love for Manhattan (and a casual disregard for the rest of the city; the Brooklynite in me bristled a few times.) It also sticks close to home emotionally; everyone Percy cares about is at risk. The details are solid and often surprising—the identity of the last Olympian, for instance, or the issues surrounding the Oracle—and the writing is likewise solid. There is less exploration of Greek mythology in this volume, but the world Riordan painstakingly crafted in the first four is rich and consistent. Basically, The Last Olympian is a well-crafted novel and a satisfying conclusion to an consistently excellent series.