Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4
Date: March 2008
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Percy Jackson isn't expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears on campus, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to worse.
In this fourth installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half-Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos's army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop the invasion, Percy and his demigod friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth - a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn.
Reviewed by: Mary
I was very excited for the fourth book in the Percy Jackson series because it was focused on one of my favorite myths – Daedalus, Icarus, and the Labyrinth. In most of the previous books, the stories Riordan is updating are done with a modern and sarcastic twist. While the sarcasm is still present in this book, he actually goes to a deeper and darker place this time and really lays the groundwork for an epic final battle in book five.
When Percy and Annabeth discover an entrance to Daedalus’ labyrinth at Camp Half-Blood, they realize that their defenses are weaker than they imagined and the army of Kronos could march right to their door. Anna beth finally gets her own quest – find Ariadne’s String and solve the Labyrinth before Luke can. Annabeth’s need to please others and be successful is on full display and it really deepens her character.
During their quest, the group also meets Hephaestus, another of my favorites. When he sends them to investigate his force at Mount St. Helens and of course everything goes wrong and Percy ends up nearly killed and stranded on Calypso’s Island. The scenes with Calypso are some of the best that Riordan has written so far, and they very clearly bring home many of the themes and emotions that he has been building – the complicated nature of family, the stubbornness of the gods in their old ways, and how this war is about echoes of the old war.
Riordan also uses Antaeus, a monster at the center of the Labyrinth and another son of Poseidon to make a point about how the actions done in a gods name are not always what they wanted, and it works well here though it’s a bit gruesome. But it’s a point that the books needed to address, and Riordan doesn’t shy away.
We also get to see the end to Grover’s search for Pan, a scene that definitely made me tear up. Plus there is the return of Nico Di Angelo, son of Hades, who spends the entire book being an idiot but I guess somebody has to. Plus we bring in Rachel Dare, a mortal Percy ran into on his last quest who may be the key to saving this one.
The book is full of bittersweet moments, and a strengthening of the deep bonds between the main characters. Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and Tyson are getting older and wiser and it works. I was both sad and excited to be nearing the end of their adventures.