Monday, April 20, 2009

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

The Battle of the Labyrinth is the fourth book in the Percy Jackson & the Olympian series. The book begins with Percy starting at yet another new school. He is a freshman, and his mother's boyfriend has pulled a few strings and made it possible for Percy to attend the school where he teaches. Percy enters Goode High School hoping things will go well. But Percy is a demigod, who is being hunted by all sorts of monsters, so things rarely go well. After being there for less than an hour, he faces off against a trio of empousai, masquerading as cheerleaders, and ends up setting the band room on fire.

After narrowly escaping the she-monsters, Percy makes it back to Camp Half-Blood, a safe place where demigods spend the summer. He learns that Kronos's army intends to circumvent the camps protective barrier by using the Labyrinth constructed by the ancient architect and inventor Daedalus. (Remember Icarus who flew too close to the sun fell to the earth when the wax holding his wings together melted? Daedalus was his father and the maker of the wings.) The Oracle chooses Annabeth to lead a group into the Labyrinth and try to thwart the attempt to attack Camp Half-Blood.

Riordan employs Ovid's version of the Labyrinth -- a maze of numberless winding passages and turns that open into one another, seeming to have neither a beginning nor an end -- rather than Homer's, which was a maze with a definite path. As he does in the other books, Riordan adds his own personal touches to the mythology here and there. In his rendering, the Labyrinth is connected to the lifeforce of Daedalus. It is a living thing capable of change.

Labyrinth suffers from some of the same problems that books two and three did. It is on par with the last two, neither of which were as good as the first book.

My review of The Lightning Thief (Book One)
My review of The Sea of Monsters (Book Two)
My review of The Titan's Curse (Book Three)

3 comments:

Nihil Novum said...

If I only read the first book, will it be satisfying or do I have to read the whole series to get closure?

Carlton Farmer said...

The first book is a pretty good stand-alone origin story.
But the books are quick reads. The final installment comes out in early May. You could knock the whole series out in a week if you wanted.

Nihil Novum said...

I might try that once the last book comes out. Nothing like a quick YA series to cleanse the palette.