Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Battle of the Labyrinth
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
American release date: 2008
Format,/Genre/Length: Novel/Fantasy/361 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: Teen Fiction
Overall Personal Rating: A
Similar series or titles to check out: the Harry Potter series
Even though it's summer, and Percy is actually on summer break, here he is instead
getting ready to go to orientation at a new school - one where his mom's new boyfriend,
Paul Blofis, is a teacher. And to be quite honest, Percy has his doubts about this. But
can you blame him? Something bad has happened at every school he's ever attended.
Why should Goode High School be the exception?
Right off the bat, Percy sees a familiar face, and that's not a good thing. The last time
he saw Rachel Elizabeth Dare was at Hoover Dam, and at that time he discovered that,
even though she was human, she could see through the Mist. And though he tries to
avoid her now, she manages to catch up to him. She's there for orientation too, it
seems. When two cheerleaders enter the room, Rachel looks at them and tells Percy
to run. He hesitates only for a minute before following her. Unfortunately, so do the
cheerleaders, a confrontation which results in another school being blown up! This
definitely won't look good on his permanent record! Upon leaving the school, who
should they run into but Annabeth, who tells Percy he has to get back to Camp
Half-Blood right now!
Upon their arrival at camp, Percy can't help but notice things are different. For one
thing, Annabeth actually wants to talk to Clarisse, Ares' daughter, who has always been
antagonistic toward them - and just about everyone else. But she won't explain why.
Then there is the new swordmaster, Quintus, who has a hellhound for a pet, her name
being Mrs. O'Leary. Then there is the fact that Mr. D - Dionysus, the hard-drinking
surly and sarcastic director of the camp - is away, and he's never away. But before
Percy can even begin to assimilate any of this, Chiron has found him and told him he
needs to get to the woods, that Grover will want Percy at the hearing. What hearing?
The Council of Cloven Elders is meeting to determine his fate, because Grover claims
to have heard the voice of the great god Pan speak to him - and Pan is whom all the
satyrs have been searching for years for! The Council is skeptical of Grover's claim,
and gives him seven days to find Pan, or else he'll lose his searcher's license!
Percy is asleep in the cabin he shares with his Cyclops half-brother Tyson when he is
awakened to discover an Iris message awaiting him in the fountain in the cabin. But
unlike most Iris messages, this one is like watching a video, and Percy sees Nico, who
is obviously in the Underworld, speaking to a ghost. Percy has never revealed that he
knows that Nico is the son of Hades. Nico holds a grudge against Percy, blaming him
for the death of his twin sister Bianca, who had become one of Artemis' women, and
died in battle. And now he is speaking of a soul exchange. Percy can only imagine
whose soul he wishes to exchange for his sister!
Annabeth finally discusses Clarisse's recent mission with Percy and Grover, beginning
with the sudden appearance of Chris Rodriguez near Clarisse's mother's home in
Arizona (Chris had last been seen aboard Luke's ship The Princess Andromeda), Now
he just isn't himself anymore, and talks about string, and the Labyrinth. And when
Percy and Annabeth, during a camp game, accidentally discover an entrance to the
Labyrinth right inside of the camp, they realize how vulnerable they are, that Kronos is
planning an assault on the camp, using Luke, and that will be his means of egress!
Also, Grover reveals that he believes Pan to be underground, which is against a sayr's
natural inclination, which explains why no one has found him yet, as satyrs avoid being
below the earth at all costs. Annabeth goes to the Oracle, brings back a prophecy, and
the quest is on, which she will lead. Percy, Tyson and Grover will accompany her.
As well as a fourth person to be named later. Into the Labyrinth they go. Although
Percy knows she is holding back a line of the prophecy; he doesn't know why, but he
figures out that in order to rhyme, the line ends in the word death! Not exactly an
auspicious start to a quest, is it?
Why is Percy getting these strange Iris messages - who are they from? And is Quintus'
gift one that will help him - or hurt him?
The fourth book in the Percy Jackson series continues to pack all the punch of its
predecessors, as Percy and his friends traverse the Labyrinth, finding new creatures, as
well as old friends. Rick Riordan has a definitely wicked sense of humor which is quite
appealing. For instance, Nico summons the undead to him by presenting them with an
offering of Happy Meals. It is fun to run across more creatures from Greek mythology,
such as the two-faced Janus, and the inventor Daedalus, as well as Zeus' missus, Hera.
Percy's dreams are never random, and this time they center around Daedalus, who is
the creator of the Labyrinth. But as smart as Percy is about some things, he is clueless
when it comes to women, and he seems to hold a strange position between Annabeth
and Rachel Elizabeth Dare. Add to that the fact that Grover really doesn't want to be
there - both because he hates being underground and because Percy's half-brother
Tyson makes him nervous. What is this string that Luke seems to be looking for? And
how can they get to it first? And why does Annabeth insist on protecting Luke, refusing
to see him for what he is?
The writing is up to its usual standard, the plot is far from dull, and you'll find yourself
anxious to see how the heck our brave group of demigods is going to pull this one off -
because if they don't, the price for their failure will be the destruction of Camp
Half-Blood, followed by that of Mount Olympus itself! I can't say anything bad about the
series, and I'm sorry that there is just one book left. I hope that it either comes to a
very satisfactory conclusion, or that he is planning to delve deeper into Percy's world in
another series. Either way, you can't afford to miss this volume, it's a must-read if you
are a fan of the series.
Overall Grade: A
You'll find yourself tangled in the Battle of the Labyrinth as precious time ticks away......
a surprise around every corner!
"In the Radius": If you like Percy Jackson, read all of the books that came before this