A Year in Books: August (‘Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian’)
Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian is the final book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. For those of you who have not read the first four books of the series, the plot summary may contain spoilers (depends on what you consider a spoiler), so I would head straight down to the review. You have been warned!
Plot summary: Percy Jackson faces off against his biggest enemy, the Titan lord Kronos, in the fifth and final book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
Kronos drags up old enemies to distract the already divided and disputing Olympians, so it is up to Percy and a dangerously outnumbered army to defend Olympus. Although Percy finally learns the infamous Great Prophecy, he can only watch as it gets played out in unpredictable ways, knowing all the time that Olympus’s fall means the rise and domination of Titans once more.
Positive: I honestly couldn’t put this book down. I’ve always thought that wars and action are quite difficult to pull off in writing, and although I don’t think the plot was absolutely, completely flawless, the storytelling itself has its merits. It almost grips you by the throat until you get to the last page and to me, that is the sign of good writing.
Secondly, Rick Riordan stays true to the style and characterisation of the previous four books. Some of Percy’s comments are hilarious and beautifully in-character. Also, the story is a good balance of action and comedy: although things get quite serious at some points (it’s a war after all), the comedy in other parts of the book doesn’t seem out of place or forced.
Also, the book is amazingly detailed and well-researched. It’s like taking a super-fun course in Greek mythology without any heavy reading. And without homework.
Negative: As I mentioned before, I’ve always thought that wars and action are difficult to describe in writing. Although Riordan does a mostly great job of it, some parts of the plot seemed a little slow-paced in my opinion. Because of this, some very important plot points became a little anti-climactic.
Also (and this is a more subjective point), I didn’t really like the culmination of the war. I won’t reveal the ending, but something about it seemed a little… off. For instance, Annabeth’s behaviour towards Luke was not what I was expecting after her attitude towards him in the last four books.
All in all, I didn’t think he deserved what he got, to be honest. That’s all I can say without revealing too much!
Overall: The positive aspects of the book outweigh the negatives, however. If you haven’t read the Percy Jackson series, I would definitely recommend it. The books are a prime example of where some imagination and a lot of research can take us. This book specifically is not the perfect ending to brilliant series, but it’s pretty darn close. Give it a chance — you most probably will not be disappointed.
Illustration is used from Hark! A Vagrant.