Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book Four The Battle of the Labyrinth
By Rick Riordan
(Disney-Hyperion, Hardcover, 9781423101468, 384pp.)
Publication Date: May 8, 2008
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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As an incoming freshman, Percy isn't expecting his high school orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to worse.
In this fourth installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos's army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop them, Percy and his demigod friends will set out on a quest through the Labyrinth-a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn. Full of humor and heart-pounding action, this fourth book promises to be their most thrilling adventure yet.
Rick Riordan is also the author of the first three books in the New York Times best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series: The Lightning Thief; The Sea of Monsters; and The Titan's Curse. His previous novels for adults include the hugely popular Tres Navarre series, winner of the top three awards in the mystery genre. He lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife and two sons.
Percy Jackson, the half-blood son of Poseidon, enters the mythical Labyrinth with his friends Annabeth (daughter of Athena), Tyson (a Cyclops), and Grover (a satyr)-originally to help Grover locate the missing god Pan, but as their explorations continue, they uncover a plot by the evil Titan lord Kronos to invade Camp Half-Blood. The melding of Greek myths with modern-day settings remains fresh and funny in this fourth installment in the series, in which Percy seeks the help of the inventor Daedalus and battles monsters throughout the ever-shifting maze. Close loyalties among the foursome strain at times (Percy has started to grow into a chick magnet, a fact that upsets Annabeth) but never break as they defend their camp and draw nearer to the foreshadowed showdown against Kronos and the renegade half-blood Luke.—Horn Book
The battle starts, literally, with an explosion and doesn't let up. After Percy destroys the high school band room battling monsters called empousai who have taken on the form of cheerleaders, he has to hide out at Camp Half-Blood. There, Grover's searcher's license is going to be revoked unless he can find the god Pan in seven days. An entrance to the Labyrinth has been discovered, which means that Luke, the half-blood turned bad, can bypass the magical protections and invade the camp. Annabeth insists that she must follow a quest to locate Daedalus's workshop before Luke does. Percy is disturbed by visions of Nico, the son of Hades, who is summoning forth the spirits of the dead with McDonalds Happy Meals. Percy, Grover, and Percy's Cyclops half-brother follow Annabeth into the maze not knowing if they will ever find their way out. Riordan cleverly personifies the Labyrinth as a sort of living organism that changes at will, and that traverses the whole of the United States. Kids will devour Riordan's subtle satire of their world, such as a Sphinx in the Labyrinth whose questions hilariously parody standardized testing. The secret of Pan is revealed with a bittersweet outcome that also sends an eco-friendly message. Like many series, the "Percy Jackson" books are beginning to show the strain of familiarity and repetition. However, the overarching story line remains compelling, and the cliff-hanger ending will leave readers breathless in anticipation of the fifth and final volume.—SLJ
The fourth and penultimate volume of Percy Jackson and the Olympians is the best one yet. Here, 14-year-old demigod Percy must find a way to thwart Kronos's plan to reassemble his body and rally the evil forces of the underworld. Percy, quest-partner Annabeth and mortal Rachel Elizabeth Dare enter the Labyrinth and encounter all manner of wondrous beings: the vampiric empousai, snaky dracaenae, Laistrygonian giants, Calypso, the Sphinx, a Hundred-Handed One, Hephaestus, Daedalus and Kronos himself, newly transformed. Riordan keeps Percy busy falling in love with Calypso, battling evil Antaeus, causing Mount St. Helens to erupt and finding the long-lost god Pan in a crystal cave in this romp that rivals Rowling for inventive, magical storytelling. The often-philosophical tale zips along with snappy dialogue, humor and thrilling action, culminating in a climactic battle between gods and Titans. This volume can stand alone, but no reader will be able to read just one. Look no further for the next Harry Potter; meet Percy Jackson, as legions of fans already have.—Kirkus
Percy Jackson's fourth summer at Camp Half-Blood is much like his previous three-high-octane clashes with dark forces, laced with hip humor and drama. Opening with a line for the ages-"The last thing I wanted to do on my summer break was blow up another school"-this penultimate series installment finds Percy, Annabeth and the satyr Grover furiously working to prevent former camp counselor Luke from resurrecting the Titan lord Kronos, whose goal is to overthrow the gods. When the heroes learn that Luke can breach Camp Half-Blood's security through an exit from Daedalus's Labyrinth, they enter the maze in search of the inventor and a way to stop the invasion. Along the way they encounter a lifetime supply of nightmare-inducing, richly imagined monsters. Grover's own quest to find the lost god Pan, meanwhile, provides a subtle environmental message. Percy, nearly 15, has girl trouble, having become something of a chick magnet. One of Riordan's strengths is the wry interplay between the real and the surreal. When the heroes find Hephaestus, for instance, he's repairing a Toyota, wearing overalls with his name embroidered over the chest pocket. The wit, rousing swordplay and breakneck pace will once again keep kids hooked.—PW