Honestly, blowing up another school was the last thing I wanted to do.
As the son of a Greek god, I’ve had my share of near-death disaster – and now my arch-enemy Luke wants to invade our camp via an ancient labyrinth.
If he succeeds, thousands of bloodthirsty monsters will attack. So it’s goodbye sunshine, hello darkness as four of us descend into the terrifying underground and beyond…
4.5 Stars (Rounded to 5)
I’m making progress with this series! ‘Percy Jackson’ is the series I regret not reading when I was 12, and now I’m admittedly a little bit older than the target age, I’m finally getting into it. After giving ‘The Lightning Thief’ 4.25 stars, ‘The Sea of Monsters’ 4.5 stars and ‘The Titan’s Curse’ 4.75 stars, I was hoping that this instalment would leap another 0.25 stars to hit 5. It didn’t quite do that, but ‘The Battle of the Labyrinth’ did act as the perfect set-up for the final book, and captivated me until the very end.
I’m going to be very brief in this review, as we’ve all read this series, and as it is the fourth book there’s not much new to really add. I am however going to be spoiler-free just to be certain that I do not ruin it for anyone who finds themselves lurking (e.g. my best friend 😉 )
Firstly, the plot was just as enjoyable as the previous ones. It felt a bit darker this time around, as we start edging closer to the climax of the series, but it still has the charm and childishness in Percy’s narrative voice that you can only really get in a middle grade novel, and I absolutely loved that. There were shock twists that surprised me, but I suppose I was always looking out for surprises as Riordan has a habit of springing things on the reader, therefore it felt slightly less of a shock when anything unexpected did occur. Saying that, there were many elements which I didn’t call, and it is nice to be able to read a middle grade book which doesn’t feel completely predictable to me.
As I have always said about this series, I love exploring the Greek mythology. As someone who loves the idea of mythology but never really looked into it, I suppose I use this series as a way of easing me in before I go and pick up a textbook on it to learn more. We meet a whole new bunch of mythological figures in this one, as well as seeing a host of old acquaintances, and there is a collection of myths referenced which we have not explored yet. I love that there is a mythological basis to all of it so I can go and find out more about the gods and such, and I also think that it is great that there is so much substance out there for inspiration that the series is always finding concepts and characters that it hasn’t used before.
Percy and Annabeth undeniably grow closer in this book. I love the way in which their interactions can change in the space of a page! We see quite a lot of feisty and angry Annabeth here, and Percy is completely clueless not only to her feelings but to his own. It is incredibly endearing if you ask me! The tense tolerance between Tyson and Grover is hilarious, and Nico is somehow likeable and dislikeable at the same time (he certainly does do things which cause for both positive and negative reactions!).
I felt like the end of this book was a tiny bit of a let down. I loved the actual story at the end, but what with twists on the last page of the previous three books, I was expecting a really dramatic ending, which wasn’t really there. It just felt like a bit of a disappointment; I know that Riordan’s last-minute twists were becoming so frequent that the surprise element was lost, but when you follow the other conclusions with this one, it felt a little bit lacklustre. Regardless, it left me desperate to read the final book in this series (but I can’t because I have to wait for my best friend to finish ‘Battle of the Labyrinth’ so we can buddy read ‘The Last Olympian’).
In conclusion, I would place this instalment as my second favourite of the series, marginally ahead of ‘The Sea of Monsters’ and trailing a bit behind ‘The Titan’s Curse’. All I can really say is that if I were reading these a few years ago, they would be definite favourites. They’re still pretty damn good, but I’m picking up on things I would have overlooked if I were still of a ‘middle-grade’ age, and I wish I had been persuaded to read these back then. I’d still recommend them to anyone, but I feel as if they aren’t quite as magical to me now as they would have been then.
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