Book Reviews

The Battle of the Labyrinth

I’m writing a book review on a Friday night.  Welcome to my exciting life.  😉

But the book is so good, I don’t even mind.  Rick Riordan writes the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series for children (I’m not exactly sure how it’s classified.  YA?  Young YA?  It seems older than MG).  But it’s the type of series that will appeal to any age, reminiscent of Harry Potter.  In fact, Percy Jackson is to Greek mythology like Harry Potter is to the world of magic.  Don’t get me wrong–I’m not saying Percy Jackson is a rip-off of Harry Potter.  Not. At. All.  I’m just saying that if you liked Harry Potter, odds are good that you’ll like Percy Jackson as well.  

Rowling and Riordan actually have vastly different writing styles.  Rowling told Harry’s story in 3rd person perspective using a lot of description (resulting in 700-page books.  Not that I’m complaining!).  On the other hand, Percy tells his own story in first person, with just enough sarcasm to keep me laughing throughout the book.  Riordan has a tight writing style, never using a word he doesn’t need, so his books are half the length of Rowling’s.

I actually listened to the first three books of the series via my iPod (BTW, I highly recommend the audiobooks.  One of the few examples of an audiobook that might be better than the book).  But I decided to check out book 4, The Battle of the Labyrinth, from the library.  The series will conclude with book 5 in spring of 2009.  Labyrinth might be my favorite of the series–I honestly can’t decide.  I just finished it last night, and here are a few excerpts that had me laughing:

The last thing I wanted to do on my summer break was blow up another school (the very first line of the book!).

I figured maybe this was how he tortured people.  He embarrassed them to death riding around in the moo-mobile.  

It was the most disgusting thing I’d ever seen, like a poop blizzard had come through and dumped four feet of the stuff overnight.  

Hey, your life’s in mortal danger!  Sleep tight!

Mrs. O’Leary’s squeaky yak went EEK! as she ripped off its pink rubber head.  

Well, I don’t know if those lines are funny out of context, but hopefully they gave you a taste of the writing style.  I love the humor in the book, but the action is even better.  Percy goes on a quest in every book, battles monsters, and excels in sword-fighting.  The story is fast-paced, with never a slow chapter.  Riordan draws on a wealth of characters and stories from Greek mythology, but with a fresh new spin.  And of course there are new characters as well, a collection of teenaged demigods that are lovable yet perfectly flawed.  You see the good and bad of everyone, both heroes and villains.  Labyrinth developed a couple new characters to complicate the relationship between Percy and Annabeth.  Riordan does a wonderful job of capturing the romantic cluelessness of a fourteen-year-old boy.  The series has just enough romance to make me happy, yet not enough to make a teenaged boy gag.  🙂  I think I love the plot more than anything else.  Each book has a stand-alone quest that Percy has to complete, but there is an over-arcing storyline that builds with every book.  So many details, so much conflict… and yet Riordan never shies away or takes the easy way out.  He keeps me guessing all the time, and I can’t wait to see how he concludes the series next spring.  

I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you my ramblings for now.  🙂  But I wanted to review this book so I could refer to it in my next topic.  Come back on Tuesday to see what Percy Jackson and my protagonist have in common!

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9 thoughts on “The Battle of the Labyrinth

  1. The last thing I wanted to do on my summer break was blow up another school

    That is a very good first line.

    I am intrigued about the book, despite not cottoning onto anything HP-related. Blasphemy, I know.

    Greek (and Roman) mythology = one of my very first fandoms, before I even knew the word existed.

  2. I loved mythology when I was a kid, too. Still do I guess! I know you never got into HP, but Riordan’s writing style is not reminiscent of HP at all. I hope you give them a try and let me know what you think! The first book in the series is called “The Lightning Thief.” Percy is the protag, but one of his friends (Annabeth) is a strong and intelligent female character you might enjoy.

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  4. i love the books! but i was writing my own about greek mythology:( im not trying to rip off rick riordan, i started before anybody knew what pjo was:(
    my website(one of them)
    mythandmagic.synthasite.com

    • Isn’t it frustrating to start writing something, only to see it published by someone else before you finish? But really, that happens all the time. No new stories, only new ways of writing them! So don’t be discouraged—keep writing! I’m sure lots of people out there are eager for more greek mythology, including me! 😀

  5. I love the series Percy Jackson & The Olympians, its so great with great word choice, the author I believe is a good humorist and the plot line is fast paced and exciting. I started reading this series when I saw a friend, who doesn’t like reading, read this book. I thought it must be a good book, so I checked it out and read. Also Percy has been my age every time I read the next book.

    • Thanks for your comment! I agree with what you said about word choice, humor, and plot. It’s definitely a great series for reluctant readers!

      And extra cool to have Percy be your age as you read the books. 😀

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