The Last Olympian
by Rick Riordan
It took all of six books and most of the seventh for the Harry Potter series to build up to the climactic Battle of Hogwarts. The Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, in comparison, takes only five books to gather its forces for a free-for-all war between Titans and Olympian gods, mythical monsters and the young demigod heroes of Camp Half-Blood.
Most of this book, in fact, consists of the preparations for a battle up and down the length of Manhattan Island; plus the battle itself, which goes on for several days. And everyone, Percy included, knows that before the battle is over, he will have turned 16 years old and fulfilled the prophecy that, on that birthday, he will make the choice either to save or to destroy Olympus.
In spite of this very direct, action-packed premise, the fifth Camp Half-Blood adventure is no simple affair. The forces of evil are embodied in an ex-camper named Luke Castellan - yet Percy's close friend Annabeth can't help believing there is still some good in Luke. The members of the Ares cabin refuse to take part in the battle because of a feud with the sons of Hermes which will not be made up. Someone on Percy's side is passing information on their plans to the enemy.
While Mount Olympus is about to fall before a horde of monsters, defended only by a bunch of underage heroes and their satyr, nymph, and centaur friends, the Olympian gods are occupied elsewhere. Most of them are trying to stop Typhon, which Wiki calls "the deadliest monster of Greek mythology," from cutting a wide swath of distruction across the USA. Others, like Hades and Percy's own father Poseidon, are too busy protecting their own kingdoms to come to the aid of Olympus; while still others, minor gods like Nemesis and Janus, have switched sides and joined the Titans.
See another side of Prometheus, the friend of mankind, when he comes to parlay with Percy on behalf of the Titans. Witness what happens when Percy willingly undertakes the curse of Achilles. Meet the gods of the East and Hudson rivers. Find out what Pandora's box really looked like. Watch an English teacher cross swords with a monster, a hellhound bound like an excited puppy, and a vicious flying pig become "pork chops." See Percy torn between romantic feelings for two girls - one a mortal, the other a demigod - and find out how a 70-year curse by the god Hades concerns the mortal girl's fate. And cheer as Percy Jackson comes into his full powers as a kicker of supernatural butt.
I am intrigued by the Acknowledgements at the end of this book, in which author Rick Riordan refers to this book as the close of "the first Camp Half-Blood series." So it would seem that, unlike Harry Potter, this series ends on a note of hope for a second series set in the same world. After enjoying one set of witty, action-filled updates of the classic myths, I trust a lot of delighted readers will welcome another.
St. Louis, USA
Recommended Age: 12+
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