Review: The Battle of the Labyrinth

I’ve been pretty bad about getting my reviews up lately – I finished this book probably two weeks ago now. But, as I warned everyone, August is a busy month so I’m trying to do my best!

Between traveling across NY and preparing for traveling overseas, I’m certainly glad I got so much extra reading in during June and July. I hope you’ll all bear with me as I’m slightly distracted!

Today we’re talking another Rick Riordan book: The Battle of the Labyrinth. His fourth in the Percy Jackson series, I’ve always felt like this one really just blew the lid off of the Greek mythology he’s based his books on. He expands on so much of what he’s previously discussed while pushing his character development further as well. Riordan incorporates so many different things while they journey through the Labyrinth and other places. He really pushed his writing and challenged his characters in ways they couldn’t have imagined in earlier books. I love how he always takes the next step within each book. Sometimes characters stay stagnant – not Riordan’s.

REVIEW: The Battle of the Labyrinth, Rick Riordan
Published: 2008
Length: 361

Plot: It’s the summer before Freshman year, and Percy just wants to get through orientation at his (once again) new school before he heads to Camp Half-Blood. Things don’t go as planned, however. When she-demons set the school on fire, Percy and Annabeth have to escape quick – along with the mortal girl, Rachel Dare, who seems to see more than she should. When they get to camp, however, they learn things aren’t going as well as they’d hoped. With a new, mysterious trainer, and knowing an attack on Camp Half-Blood in imminent, Percy, Annabeth and their friends go underground into the Labyrinth to hopefully figure out a way to turn the tide.

Most Memorable Line(s): “Be careful, Seaweed Brain.”
-Aside from just being a funny line, it comes at such a pivotal point for Percy and Annabeth’s relationship. And I just love it.

What I liked: As I said earlier, Riordan’s characters are never stagnant. But what’s great about their movement is the way he’s able to manipulate the Greek myths INTO that character development. Everyone knows as people get older they start to have FEELINGS about other people. The Percy/Annabeth dynamic was kick-started in the last book, and in this one it’s thrust into high gear. But that’s not just normal people stuff, right? No, it’s more than that; it’s Aphrodite promising to make Percy’s love life interesting. I’ve always loved the way that Riordan had Greek mythology permeate every facet of modern life, but it’s in the way that he inserts the gods into seeminlgy random moments that I appreciate it most. The only way to make this world truly believable, to make us care about these quests and the characters’ journeys, is to ensure that the mythology WORKS within this modern time. I felt as though the gods were a little more DIRECTLY present in this book, and that was a really, really strong choice I thought. I also love, love, love the addition of Calypso and that view of the first Titan War. The focus on some of the other, minor characters was really strong in this book too – everyone really seems to have a purpose. We met the Hunters of Artemis in the third book, but this one really focuses on the different people already within Camp Half-Blood (save for Quintus, the suspicious new trainer). We get more of Tyson and Grover, we learn more about Nico DiAngelo, even Clarisse, the ever present camp bully who doesn’t seem like such a bully anymore.

What I didn’t like: The only thing I didn’t like about this book was Annabeth’s continued… thought process… regarding Luke. This is simply because of my Percy+Annabeth4eva views. I just want her to let him go! But, you know, without her insistence that he’s not a bad guy, we may not get what we get in The Last Olympian… which I’ll talk about soon.

Grade: 10/10. This is just a great middle-grade book. No complaints really detract from it.

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