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.

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Rick Riordan
My reviews of The Lightning Thief (Book 1), The Sea of Monsters (Book 2), The Titan’s Curse (Book 3) and Battle of the Labyrinth (Book 4)

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battle of the labyrinth percy jackson and the olympians book 4 rick riordanWriting reviews of middle books in a series is hard! There are so many early-book spoilers one wants to avoid, and one has already said many of the important things, and one doesn’t yet have perspective on the overall plotting and pacing. Humph.

Anyway, this is book four out of five of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (after The Lightening Thief, The Sea of Monsters, and The Titan’s Curse). It’s summer again, so Percy’s ready to head back to Camp Half-Blood where he plans to spend the summer working on his combat skills with other kids of mixed (half mortal, half Greek God) descent. And perhaps go on a quest and deal with the latest stage of the big, dangerous conflict started in the earlier books. He’s a bit thrown off by some changes—an alliance between formerly at-odds campers, a new combat teacher—and by some constants of teenage life—he’s not quite sure what to make of either young woman in his life, though they’re quite sure what to make of each other—but off he goes, into the Labyrinth. The one built by Daedalus that originally had a minotaur in the center, of course.

It continues to be good, solid modern mythology. Guilt and grieving are more prevalent in this volume than in the previous ones, and Percy and his friends are distinctly growing up and taking on more responsibility. Interestingly, while he successfully takes on extra responsibility and handles violence, danger, and the omnipresence of death, Percy still seems emotionally young in comparison to his female contemporaries and his two close non-human friends. He’s a fifteen-year-old boy, so this makes sense, but it still adds an interesting element to the book and makes Percy’s moments of emotionally maturity more meaningful.

And now I’ve just one more left to read.

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Battle of the Labyrinth ~ Rick Riordan
My reviews of The Lightening Thief (Book 1), The Sea of Monsters (Book 2), The Titan’s Curse (Book 3), and The Last Olympian (Book 5)

The Titan’s Curse follows The Lightning Thief and The Sea of Monsters in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Once again, our hero—a half-blood, child of a Greek god and a mortal—must save a friend, do some traveling, meet some myths and monsters, and try to prevent the end of the world as we know it.

I’m getting more impressed with these as the series goes on. They’re still, at heart, fun modern fantasy, but the more I read the more I want to read. He introduces a steady progression of mythological characters in interesting, personality-rich ways. Percy and his friends are growing up, gradually but believably. (And, unlike some books I could mention, when a character loses several years, they deal with it. I was most pleased.) All in all, I’m enjoying these.

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The Titan’s Curse (Wikipedia) ~ The Titan’s Curse (Google Books) ~ Rick Riordan
My reviews of The Lightning Thief (Book 1), The Sea of Monsters (Book 2), Battle of the Labyrinth (Book 4), and The Last Olympian (Book 5)

The Sea of Monsters In this, the second book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (begun in The Lightning Thief), Percy has been doing better with some of the normal aspects of life—managing his ADHD and dyslexia, school, home life—but when summer comes, he realizes how much hell is breaking loose in the world of Greek gods and mythical creatures, the world to which he belongs as much—or more— as our normal one. Once again, Percy finds himself out and about, trying to save western civilization with his friends.

It’s another good adventure; it moves at a good clip, the myths are well-realized—accurate but updated in some clever ways—and has a few well-executed twists. All in all, an entertaining read.

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The Sea of Monsters ~ Rick Riordan
My reviews of The Lightning Thief (Book 1), The Titan’s Curse (Book 3), Battle of the Labyrinth (Book 4), and The Last Olympian (Book 5)

Percy Jackson is ADHD, dyslexic, and prone to getting into fights. Between these, he’s been kicked out of one school a year, till he ends up in sixth grade in a boarding school for troubled children. There, his Latin teacher tells him that learning his classical myths is a matter of life and death and his algebra teacher turns into some sort of bat-creature and attacks him (Luckily, aforementioned Latin teacher tosses him a sword in the nick of time.) Eventually, he winds up at Camp Half-Blood: a camp for kids who are the children of unions between the Greek gods and mortals.

There’s some figuring-out and some prophesy and some questing and some more figuring-out, and throughout there are loads of Greek myths. It’s quite a bit of fun,and, for lack of a better term, really catchy — it was stuck in my head for the two days I was reading it. It didn’t make me miss my stop on the subway, but there was this constant stream of Percy Jackson-related thoughts running through the back of my mind. I’m not sure if this says more about the book or about my mind, but I enjoyed it.

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Rick Riordan
My reviews of The Sea of Monsters (Book 2), The Titan’s Curse (Book 3), Battle of the Labyrinth (Book 4), and The Last Olympian (Book 5)