Title: The Battle of the Labyrinth
Author: Rick Riordan
Publication Date: March 6, 2008
Age Range: Middle Grade
Genre(s): Fantasy, Mythology
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Percy Jackson isn’t expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears at his potential new school, 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.
“People are more difficult to work with than machines. And when you break a person, he can’t be fixed.”
Ah, I love this series so much. This book was so much fun, just like the others. I love how this is the super-serious book in this series, getting you ready for the battle that’s to come in the next installment.
I adore how Riordan personified the Labyrinth and was able to do his own take on this myth. I like how the focus on this story is Daedalus instead of a Theseus analog. I like how they have some puzzles to face, but they also escape out of some situations due to luck/godly interference, but it never feels like a cop-out.
We also get to see our precious baby Nico and his poor grieving soul. Y’all know how much I love Nico and I really enjoyed how Riordan showed his grief and Percy’s guilt. As a demigod, losing your friends young is a harsh reality, but that doesn’t make their fate any harder. Riordan handles this nuance so so well.
This book also had some side adventures that tied back into the main story so well. Grover has his final chance to find Pan before losing his searcher’s license. This is one of the earlier bits of the book, where we get to meet Juniper. I liked that we didn’t have to wait too long to see the conclusion of the arc.
We also get a super fun side story with Percy going on Calypso’s island. I really enjoyed this bit. In such a short portion of the book, Percy understands how cruel the gods can be, a better understanding of how long immortality actually is, and a really sweet moment with Calypso. This was a great juxtaposition to Percy’s tension with Annabeth throughout this book. This is definitely where Percy’s and Annabeth’s friendship starts to get some tension, but it was depicted so well.
I think my absolute favorite part of this book though was Percy’s birthday. Between the humor of Poseidon showing up and Paul having a masculine moment to Paul finding out Tyson is Percy’s brother and Sally clarifying that Tyson isn’t hers. I just loved this scene so much. I also really enjoyed that Nico came by and that Percy wanted to call Rachel. I just love the friendships with all of these characters and they just make my heart so happy. Oh and Percy confronting Poseidon about his other sons and favoritism and Poseidon saying that Percy was his favorite, ah my heart is so happy. I can’t handle it.
Rick Riordan does such an amazing job creating compelling stories and loveable characters. Even when he writes in conflicts between the characters, they never feel forced or inauthentic. I can’t wait to read The Last Olympian and revisit the finale to this series.