Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

March 2009, Puffin
352 pages, Paperback
Review copy

Children's, fantasy

Cushions: 4
Daggers: 3
Smiles: 5
Tissues: 1
Nayuleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Summary from Puffin 

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 . . .

Book 4 in the engagingly funny series is just as good as the others (links to previous books at the end of the review). Once again, Percy tries to have a normal life at school. And equally once again, it isn't his fault that those at the school are after him. Blame his genetics. Although, those genetics also help keep him alive.

I have recently finished the fifth book (to be reviewed shortly), and I actually found book four to be an awful lot darker. I'm not saying the stakes aren't high in book 5, and I was anxious about things, but I was more on the edge of my seat throughout this instalment. This is the book where characters have to make hard choices. What happens here affect where they are in the world, and how far they are from Percy in the final book. Everything has an impact.

Percy is growing as a teenager - he has the odd sulk (normal), he is becoming quite adept at wielding his weapon (not normal, but very handy with all the monsters he has to counter). As ever, he makes new enemies (not a new thing) new friends who have the potential to help him a lot on his adventure. I enjoyed meeting more of the gods - all of them have a big influence on whether Percy will win the task or not. Help came from a most expected quarter while Percy was in the labyrinth. It was a great take on a myth which I had to translate while studying ancient Greek (part of the reason I like Percy so much is my love of all things regarding ancient history - apart from skulls. They freak me out).

Percy and the Labyrinth is really setting the stage for the last book. It isn't just about Percy - everyone at camp has to participate in the battles now. It's either fight or die. That's not to say that everyone wants to help. They don't necessarily like hearing about what's happening in the world outside. There are bigger, darker threats than a few monsters who are after their half-blood selves. Threats which could affect the human world.

This book had me going 'oh on' an awful lot. All the characters get put through harsh trials, trials which they don't get through unscathed. Fluffy bunnies aren't in this book, but it makes a nail-biting read. Please don't think if you haven't read the other books you can't read this one. You can. Percy brings the reader up to speed about what's gone in previous books in a succinct, witty fashion. If you start with this book, you'll be scrambling around to get hold of the others.

Make sure you're up to date on Percy's adventure by checking out the website.

Also check out the books:

#1 Percy and the Lightning Thief 
#2 Percy and the Sea of Monsters
#3 Percy and the Titan's Curse

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