Publisher: Puffin (Penguin)
Pages: 342 (Paperback)
Series: Percy Jackson #4
‘Honestly, Blowing up another school was the last thing I wanted to do’
As the son of a Greek god, I’ve had my share of near-death disaster. This summer I didn’t choose to battle the cheerleading squad, but when two hissing she-devils with fangs are heading straight for you, what’s a half-blood meant to do?
That was just the beginning. This is the one where my arch-enemy, Luke, is looking for a way to invade our camp via an ancient labyrinth. If he succeeds, thousands of bloodthirsty monsters will attack. So it’s goodbye sunshine, hello darkness as four of us descend into the terrifying underground and beyond…
Can Percy navigate his way out of trouble – before Luke’s army bring mass destruction to camp half-blood?
Eeeeee! Love, love, love. And just the sort of read I needed right now. Doubts about whether I’m just a bit too old to get the full enjoyment from these books officially over. I think I might even like this one more than Sea of Monsters and I am definitely, definitely, looking forward to seeing how the final confrontation will go down in the next book.
Battle of the Labyrinth answered a lot of my little niggles about the series – we saw adult half-bloods, Percy had his ‘my family are the good guys because they’re my family’ mentality questioned and challenged, the differences and distances between mortals and half-bloods was explored, Percy acknowledged that he didn’t really bother to interact with many other half-bloods, and I finally learnt how Riordan reconciled the idea of Athena as a virgin goddess with her having a whole host of half-mortal children (and loved the implication that my childhood-favourite hero, Odysseus, was full mortal). All this while giving me a massive dose of Tyson (Tyson!), gigantic friendly hellhounds (doggy!) and using a lot of the most overlooked, ignored, and least known aspects of Greek mythology. It had Empusas! And… well, lots of others that I don’t want to list because it was such fun running into them when I wasn’t expecting it.
Battle of the Labyrinth also, finally, gives the Percy Jackson series its ‘Voldemort in a cauldron’ moment – from this book onwards shit gets real. It almost seems a bit late for it in the penultimate book of the series, and I do hope The Last Olympian doesn’t feel rushed as a result, but I can’t wait to see how it wraps up. It certainly made this book feel more ‘fate of the world’ than the series has managed for me before – there are monsters in numbers and powers that even Percy and Annabeth can’t beat on their own so it really is starting to feel like a proper war – two sides against each other – rather than a couple of kids and their whacky Greek rogues gallery.
I should probably also mention that, at fourteen, Percy and Annabeth are growing up and hitting puberty. Percy’s narrative voice doesn’t really seem to change though, it sounds the same in Battle of the Labyrinth as it did in Lightning Thief when he was twelve. He just finds girls, and Annabeth in particular, a lot more difficult to understand – and to be honest I can’t say I blame him, Annabeth acts like a total brat in this book whenever he even talks with another girl. The series has obviously been heading for an Annabeth/Percy pairing right from the start of course, but I really hope she does some growing up and gets given a chance to shine properly in the last book – this book was meant to be her quest after all, but you wouldn’t know it from how it actually went down – rather than simply being relegated to ‘clever female love interest’.
This series is never going to be up there with Harry Potter for me – the characters simply aren’t developed enough for me to immerse myself in it in the same way and it still feels a bit like a series of random encounters- but for what it is (an action packed adventure stuffed full of geeky mythological references) it’s absolutely wonderful and I love it to pieces. Will be cracking open the final book straight away and almost certainly buying myself a complete set for rereading purposes in the near future.