Friday, 15 April 2016

Book Review: Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth – Rick Riordan

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Puffin Books
First published: 2008
Cover: Paperback
Pages: 342

Blurb:  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 – and now my arch enemy Luke wants 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…

History of my copy: The whole Percy Jackson series, and in fact all of Riordan’s other books, have been sitting on my TBR list for a long time. I slowly picked up the first three in the series, although they then spent an even longer time sitting unread on my shelf at home. I finally got the Battle of the Labyrinth and the last book of the series on AS results day last year.

I’ve actually been reading this book on and off for a few months now. I got stuck in a rut where Riordan’s writing style, as iconic and different to anything I’ve ever read before, started to bother me. As I’m now 18, it felt a little too kiddy, and almost as if he couldn’t write any differently. However, Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer (review here) got me out of that because, although still written similarly, you could tell it was narrated by an older character, and I once more fell in love with the Percy-ness of the Percy Jackson series.

Plot: In the fourth instalment of the series, we see Percy, Annabeth, Tyson and Grover enter the Labyrinth, the infamous Greek structure known for its story involving Ariadne and the Minotaur. They’re searching for Daedalus and, with the help of mortal Rachel, they discover he isn’t quite who they expected him to be. A story about a maze also wouldn’t be complete without Grover finally achieving his goal; finding Pan! I was so happy for him when that happened!
         True to the Labyrinth itself, this book is full of unexpected twists and turns and shocking revelations, but you’ll have to find out all of them yourself! Oh, and there’s a pretty awesome battle scene.

Setting: As you have probably guessed, a whole lot of this book takes place in the Labyrinth, but it’s a lot more interesting than that. As they navigate the maze, they come across numerous surprising places. Anyone who has read any Riordan book will know that setting isn’t perhaps his strongest point, especially in this series as Percy, rather stereotypically for a fourteen-year-old boy, kind of focuses on just the weird parts of the rooms he walks into. But there’s definitely enough for you to know what’s going on and where!

Characters: One thing I love about books that follow children/teens over a few years is how they grow and develop, and how their views on people and topics change. Of course, adult’s also change over books, I’m not denying that but as your teenage years are pretty important, especially in terms of developing social skills, there’s just an intimacy and love of watching them grow and change.
                I can’t talk about Percy, without talking about Annabeth. These two! These two just make me miss all the guy best friends I have had and lost, because there’s something so great about those friendships – you can say anything and not have to worry about the consequences! However, their relationship takes a slightly different turn in this book as they finally share a kiss! Plus, you can just feel Annabeth’s jealousy of Rachel and Percy’s of Luke just oozing out of the pages.
                Tyson, my sweet, precious Cyclops! (Yes, you heard that right!) I don’t really know why, but I just adore Tyson so much. I think it may be because he reminds me of my own brother. And by that, I don’t mean that my brother has one eye (although he’s certainly tall enough and built like a cyclops). To me, Tyson always seemed a little simple and straight to the point, which is why he reminds me of my brother. So I guess I just feel like I can relate to Percy on that point.
                Not a favourite character of mine, but dear lord my heart broke a little for Clarisse in this book! And Dionysus did something nice to her, what?! And he was sad about the death of his son, man that really got to me too.
                But, as for a characters I would like to be even more developed: Nico and Luke! I assume they will be major roles in the next book, and I know that Nico has just arrived to talk with Percy at the end of this one, but I need to know all that back story now!

Actually, whilst I’m on the topic of the end of this book, it was probably actually my favourite part. Poseidon meeting Paul; Paul finding out that Tyson is Percy’s brother (and Sally’s quick explanation that he isn’t her child); Poseidon just disappearing. Gah, I want more Percy, Poseidon, Paul and Sally scenes please!

To read or not to read: Read. Despite my review, this book is actually my least favourite of the Percy Jackson series. It was good, and a must read to continue with the series, but I often felt it just lacked something. However, the end of the book was much better than the first, and it did pick up, but it just didn’t do much for me. I am hoping the last book makes up for it!

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