My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Now, that’s more like it.
The first thing I NEED to say is that this book FINALLY addresses the question of Annabeth’s conception and birth, which has been bugging me ever since book one. She’s supposed to be a daughter of Athena, who was a virgin goddess. And it went down just like I thought it would. You may peek into my brain if you want to know what I thought would be the only way to justify it. Or you could also just read the book.
But on with the review.
After three interesting and decently-written installments in the series, Riordan really hits his stride in Book 4. This book was fantastic; he ties up some loose ends while introducing some interesting new characters and brings back our core group for some gripping adventures and a few twists that were surprisingly worked in with a deft and subtle hand — not something I generally expect in a children’s book. Especially not one written by the author of the craptastic The Maze of Bones.
The Battle of the Labyrinth starts with the usual: Percy getting chased down by monsters at his latest school. But, this time, he’s surprised to find a human girl there who can see through The Mist, which causes humans to see mythical things in a human light (for example, hideous monsters look like human cheerleaders through The Mist). Rachel Elizabeth Dare can see through the mist better than even half-bloods like Percy can — a gift that Percy’s mother also possesses.
After the attack, he returns to Camp Half-Blood and participates in a dangerous game of Capture the Flag, during which he discovers an entrance to the mythical Labyrinth on the grounds. He quickly realizes that Luke Castellan, a former camper and son of Hermes who is currently working for the Titan Kronos, the series’ Big Bad, is planning to use this entrance as a base to stage a sneak attack on the camp.
He and his friends must act fast if they want to save the camp.
There were some genuinely moving moments in this installment, which I can’t really discuss without spoiling the novel. But I will say that I thought these twists were artfully done. I was touched by the humanity given to these mythological characters. Riordan touched on some interesting themes in this novel, including human loss and suffering, as well as providing some super-fun action.
This was hands-down the best novel in the series so far, and if things keep improving in this fashion, I can’t wait to read The Last Olympian.