Writing 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.