07 January 2013

The Battle of the Labyrinth/The Last Olympian

So, having read 3/5 of the Percy Jackson series, I still had the last two books to read.  Thence, the Overdue Reads project.  I'll try not to spoil these two books too much if you haven't read them.

Poor Percy is starting a new school at the beginning of The Battle of the Labyrinth - as is usual.  His mom's new boyfriend, Paul, teaches there and he meets Rachel Elizabeth Dare again.  And fights off some empousai who've been sent to kill him - which is about normal, too.  Soon he's back at Camp Half-Blood, training with the new teacher Quintas, and finding an entrance to the Labyrinth.  Annabeth receives the Quest (and the prophecy, of which she withholds a part) and leads Percy, Grover, and Tyson into the Labyrinth to find its Creator, Daedalus, with the hope that he can help them stop Kronos.

The Labyrinth is such a great convention - it is constantly changing, dimensionally amibivalent, and full of traps.  Even if you back up and reverse direction it isn't the same.  It leads to a breeder of mythological animals (and an Augean stable), a death match, a long-lost god, and a reunion with Luke.  Or is it Kronos?

The Last Olympian starts as Percy and Beckendorf attempt to scuttle Luke/Kronos's ocean liner.  Well, it turns out there is a traitor among the Camp Half-Blood faction and Beckendorf pays the ultimate price when he sets off the bombs.  His death is yet another set-back for the Campers who are facing division in the ranks when Clarice and the Ares cabin withdraw their support in protest of a division of spoils.  Meanwhile, Annabeth and Percy's relationship is strained by his friendship with Rachel.  They must ovecome everything to mount a defense of Manhattan and Olympus.

There are such great overtones from The Iliad in the conclusion to the series: a conclusion to a long-standing war, a spat over war spoils leading to a sit-out of needed manpower, a doomed masquerade to lead that faction into battle, and a final fight between enemies.  The revelation of the "last" Olympian was so clever, I really didn't see it coming.  I also like the history and outcome of the Oracle because it all ties up in the outcome of the battle.

Riordan did a great job tying up the series.  I'll be going on to read the Heroes of Olympus books but not right away - I've got other Overdue Reads to finish.

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