Title: Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4
Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books
Release Date: April 7th 2009
Percy Jackson isn’t expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears on campus, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to diabolical.
In this latest instalment 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 them, Percy and his demigod friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth-a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn. Full of humour and heart-pounding action, this fourth book promises to be their most thrilling adventure yet.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
Percy Jackson doesn’t even get through the freshman orientation at his new school before getting into a fight with some monsters and setting something on fire. When Percy kills two empousai disguised as cheerleaders he is left with no choice but to flee to Camp Half-Blood before he can get into too much trouble. But there is already plenty of trouble at the camp.
Grover has been called before the Council of Cloven Elders; he hasn’t made any process finding the Wild God Pan and, even though his claim is true, the council do not believe that he felt the presence of the Wild in New Mexico. Grover is given one week to find evidence of Pan or his searchers licence will be taken from him.
Then, in the middle of a camp competition, Percy and Annabeth fall into an entrance to the Labyrinth right in the middle of Camp Half-Blood. Annabeth and Clarissa, who have been working together for a while, suspect that Luke plans to use the entrance to lead an invasion into Camp Half-Blood. In order to stop him Annabeth, Percy, Tyson and Grover, who believes the quest will lead him to Pan’s hiding place in the Labyrinth, plan to travel though the Labyrinth to the centre where Daedalus’s workshop is, and ask the demigod for his help to stop Luke.
Their journey isn’t easy, although the Minotaur no longer resides in the Labyrinth, and won’t be appearing anytime soon after Percy killed him in the first book, the maze is still tricky. There is no sure way to navigate it and there are monsters around every corner who try to lead the heroes astray; Janus who stands between two doors and speaks of a choice Annabeth needs to make, and Kampê and her prisoner Briares, one of the hundred handed Cyclops, locked away in Alcatraz.
As Percy and his friends make their way to Hephaestus’s forge, who they hope can lead them to Daedalus, Percy keeps seeing visions of Nico which show the younger half-blood being led astray by a mysterious ghost advisor. Soon it isn’t just the quest and Luke that Percy has to worry about, but what Nico is planning and what his advisor is whispering in his ear.
Percy doesn’t believe that navigating the Labyrinth will be as simple as Annabeth and Clarisse assume, however when Annabeth asks him to accompany her on her quest he agrees without even thinking on it. Percy is willing to do anything to help his friends and he won’t let Annabeth face Daedalus and, possibly, Luke on her own. He has grown a lot since the first book as well, and he is more than willing to make a stand and fight to give his friends time to get away even if it means sacrificing himself.
Annabeth is leading a quest for the very first time but confidence takes a few knocks along the way; first because of the prophecy the oracle gives her, then by her confusion navigating the maze, and later by Janus and Hera. However she is determined to find Daedalus’s workshop, determined to stop Luke before he can attack the Camp. Daedalus is Annabeth’s hero; as the greatest architect who ever lives, the man who created the Labyrinth and another child of Athena, he is someone she looks up to and idolizes.
The relationship between Annabeth and Percy changes slightly in this book. With the introduction of Rachel Elizabeth Dare, a mortal who can see though the mist, Annabeth seems to realise she has competition for Percy’s affection. It affects her opinion of Rachel and she really doesn’t like the other girl at first, but Annabeth respects intelligence and Rachel proves she has that in spades. Percy has always been a little jealous of Annabeth’s feelings for Luke. There is still a very large part of Annabeth that loves Luke, she refuses to believe he can’t be saved and she holds onto that belief even though Percy feels there is no way for Luke to redeem himself after what he’s done.
Nico has one goal; to bring his sister Bianca back from the dead. Since he left Camp Half-Blood after learning of his sister’s death he has been learning all he can about his own power as the son of Hades. Nico is a lot stronger now, he has the ability to summon spirits and travel through the shadows; however his desperation leads to him making some bad choices. He hates Percy, blames him for Bianca’s death and wants revenge, but more than that he wants to speak to his sister. He tried summoning her and when that didn’t work he started seeking out ways to bring her back. Nico is walking down a very dangerous path, and the ghost advisor whispering in his ear is not helping. However there is someone out there who shows Nico to Percy, who wants him to be saved before it’s too late.
The Labyrinth is such a huge part of this story, the setting and the history woven through the plot, and honestly I loved it. The original story of Theseus and the Minotaur is one of my favourites from Greek mythology so I loved the modern twist Rick Riordan put on it while still keeping true to Daedalus’s history. With the Greek Gods having moved with the heart of Western civilisation the Labyrinth has moved as well, it is now spread out underneath the whole of the US, and time passes differently. In the space of one afternoon Percy and Annabeth can go from Camp Half-Blood on the East Coast all the way to Alcatraz on the West. The Labyrinth has taken inspiration from all the different cultures it has come into contact with as it has grown, at first the closer Percy and Annabeth get to the centre the older the walls of the maze get, but it’s not long before they’re surrounded once more with more modern architecture. As they travel Percy dreams of Daedalus; we see through Percy’s eyes the consequences of Daedalus helping Theseus defeat the Minotaur, him losing Icarus, killing Minos, causing his nephews death, being banished to the maze and disappearing from the world.
Now that I’ve finished the fourth book, and the fifth as well, I can safely say that the Battle of the Labyrinth is my favourite of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I really loved the mythology and the history in this book, as well as the journey each of the characters took, not just through the labyrinth but in terms of their development as well.
What did you think of Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.