Have you missed your usual dose of Greek mythology lately from the blog? Well have no fear, as today’s review centers on The Battle of the Labyrinth, the fourth installment of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan.
We begin our story with Percy enduring yet another attack by mythological creatures (this guy just can’t catch a break, can he?) This time Percy narrowly avoids being killed by two empousai, which are vampire-like daughters of the goddess Hecate. After fending them off, Percy returns to Camp Half-Blood, where he learns of the Labyrinth, a section of the palace of King Minos of Crete. This particular labyrinth is special as it provides an entrance into Camp Half-Blood, and upon mistakenly finding an opening to it, Percy finds out that Luke, his archenemy from book one, plans to march his army through it and destroy Camp Half-Blood. The Labyrinth is always changing however, making the task of navigating it extremely difficult. What follows is an amazing tale of mythology that leads to some surprising twists and turns, including Percy making Mt. St. Helens erupt! We also get introduced to a mortal character who comes to Percy’s aid, and we witness another epic battle scene. Not too bad for the life of a teenage kid (I mean demigod).
All throughout this series I’ve been fascinated with the incredible amount of Greek mythology that Riordan has managed to squeeze into the stories. I know you’re probably saying well Kim, it’s a series about demigods and mythological creatures , what did you expect?! What I’m trying to say is that with so many mythological creatures and myths it’s amazing that Riordan is able to weave so many of them into Percy’s story. The labyrinth was a great plot device, giving the reader the opportunity to meet many more gods, demigods, and mythological creatures than they did in the first three novels in the series. My favorite minor god that we were introduced to was Janus. Janus has two faces and is the god of beginnings and transitions. His two faces are to look to the future and the past, thus also making him the god of time, doorways, and decisions.
Riordan’s strongest suit is his character development. We have seen strong characteristics that continually develop in each of our main characters throughout the series. For Percy, we see him become a type of seer. What started in book one as dream-like memories have now become full-blown premonitions that begin to play an important role in the quests that Percy and his friends sign on for. It’s character development like this, that started in book one and continues to grow, which makes Percy, Annabeth, and Grover fascinating and quirky characters to follow.
Riordan is a master storyteller and The Battle of the Labyrinth is yet another novel to add to his ever-growing successful career. If you have yet to try out this action packed, fast-paced, kick-ass adventure then you’re sorely missing out. This is one of the best young adult novels that I continuously recommend to others for its intelligent writing and subject matter.
4 out of 5 Stars
The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
Disney Hyperion (2009)
Paperback 384 pages