Posted by: Ms. Matson | June 25, 2009

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson)

The Last Olympian (Fifth and final book in Percy Jackson and the Olympians series)last olympian
Rick Riordan
New York: Hyperion, 2009
Children’s/YA Fantasy

I’ve been on the waitlist since April, and finally got this book from the library on Monday.  The Last Olympian wraps up the Percy Jackson series.  I read the first four books in a flurry last year, and have waited rather impatiently for the final one.  I love the concept behind the series: that the Greek gods are real, and Mt. Olympus moves with the heart of Western Civilization and now sits above the Empire State Building.  All those myths, like Theseus and the Minotaur, Achilles, Sirens, etc. well, they’re real.  Most humans have no idea of this reality, as their sight is confounded by the Mist.  Just as they did 2500 years ago, Greek gods and goddesses frequently have liasons with mortals, resulting in half-blood children – demigods.  Often called “heroes,”  these children are targets for attack by monsters, and thus spend their summers at Camp Half-Blood training to defend themselves.  A tell-tale sign of a half-blood is dyslexia and ADD/ADHD.  Brains wired for Ancient Greek don’t function so well in modern English, evidently.

The series follows one such half-blood, Perseus (Percy) Jackson, son of the sea god Poseidon.   Told in the first person, Riordan does a nice job of demonstrating Percy’s ADD through the writing – Percy’s thoughts wander.  What could be distracting is instead a good way to establish character.  Likewise instead of bogging down the story with endless explainations of this god or that, of this ancient story or that, characters like the Three Fates, Medusa, the Minataur, are just there.  I admit to looking up more than one creature or reference that I wasn’t familiar with.  This is an excellent way for kids to learn about Ancient Greece.

Now about the fifth book.  It was a good story, well executed, and nicely wrapped up.  I had fun making predictions about the ending, both as a whole, and the role of various characters.  About half-way through I figured out about Rachel, as well as Nico and Hades.  It was satisfying to be able to follow what the author was doing.  There wasn’t as much character growth as I would have liked.  The 16 year old Percy doesn’t seem that much different than the 12 year old one.

Overall, this a a fun, light series.  The writing isn’t on par with Narnia or Harry Potter, but this is a good story for fantasy-loving readers, especially boys.

The complete series:
Book 1: The Lightning Thief
Book 2: The Sea of Monsters
Book 3: The Titan’s Curse
Book 4: The Battle of the Labyrinth
Book 5: The Last Olympian

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