Publisher: Puffin (Penguin)
Pages: 361 (Hardback)
Series: Percy Jackson #5
‘Most people get presents on their sixteenth birthday, I get a prophecy that could save or destroy the world.’
That’s how it is when you’re the son of Poseidon, God of the Sea. According to an ancient prophecy, bad things will happen when I turn sixteen – because I’m the one who gets to decide the fate of the entire world. But no pressure.
This is the one where Kronos, Lord of the Titans, is beginning his attack on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Oh and the dreaded (and not to mention enormous) monster Typhon is also heading our way. So it’s me and forty of my demigod friends versus untold evil…
Can Percy stop the rampage of the Titans, to save Olympus and himself?
Another five stars for Percy Jackson! Riordan really pulled it out of the bag for a gripping, action filled, and surprisingly emotional finale.
The Last Olympian moved away from the standard Percy Jackson formula a lot: it’s not just Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and guest half-blood of the book – everybody is involved – and there’s no ‘road trip’ element either. Everything is firmly set and grounded in New York, the site where the final battle between Titans and demigods will take place. After four books of fun, but slightly formulaic adventures this was a breath of fresh air and just what the series needed to end on a high note – it genuinely felt epic, high-stakes, and exciting – a proper all out battle, not just Percy and his friends upsetting things. As one character says it’s like the Trojan War all over again and in a lot of ways it is – complete with the devastating feud between Achilles and Agamemnon (this time between the Ares and Apollo camp cabins).
As I said everyone who has ever been given a namecheck seems to play their part in this book; Beckendorf, Silena Beauregard, Clarisse, Travis and Connor Stoll etc. etc. And I was genuinely impressed with how much Riordan managed to make me care about some of their fates considering all but Clarisse had essentially been little more than ‘walk on’ parts before this book. It does make me a bit sad though to think how much more exciting and emotional this book would have been if Riordan had bothered to spend the time giving them proper personalities earlier on. Clarisse again excepted because Clarisse did have her day in the sun in Sea of Monsters and has always been the best fleshed out of the ‘less important’ half-bloods. She’s also a BAMF, a genuinely strong female character, and probably my favourite besides Tyson – and I loved loved loved seeing her odd friendship with the Aphrodite cabin leader. Why couldn’t we have seen more of those nice little camp dynamics earlier? I mean I honestly snorted when I first saw the blurb for this book ‘forty of my demigod friends‘ Percy’s only ever mentioned about five non-plot-crucial campers names before this book! But credit where credit’s due, Riordan did a great job of making me interested in them in a very very short amount of time and as a result the final battle managed to pull at the emotional ‘oh shit who’s going to make it through?’ side of things as well as being a totally wonderful action sequence.
And what an action sequence. . . so much action in this book. Both Riordan and the Titan’s seem to have pulled out all the stops for this one sending in monster after monster after hordes of fucking monsters. I loved it. It’s certainly the most action packed of the book so far. It’s also the most grown up. I said in my last review that Percy’s narration was essentially the same at twelve as it is at fourteen. Now, at fifteen-sixteen, it still has exactly the same tone but there’s a maturity to it as well that wasn’t quite there before, nothing particularly tangible that I can pinpoint, but it’s there and the idea of him kissing girls no longer makes me feel weird. And the storytelling’s more mature too. Yes, the action scene is fantastic but there’s also an interesting underplot to examine Luke’s backstory and how and why he’s ended up where he is. It’s a little predictable and a lot of it seems information that could have been included in earlier books (though not quite Deathly Hallows level of final instalment info-dumping) but it does deepen the Percy Jackson world and mythology just that little bit more and makes this book that little bit more than just a 300+ page action-scene. It also sets everything up pretty neatly after the conclusion of this series for a final prophecy to kickstart the next.
I read this whole book with a massive grin on my face almost the entire time. A very fitting end to a great series of books. I will now be paying the cute guy who runs the children’s section in Waterstones a visit veeeery soon to buy the first two of Riordan’s follow-on Heroes of Olympus series.