Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Battle of the Labyrinth

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Confused as to why I'm reviewing this older book? WONDER NO MORE! CLICK THE LINK OF MOSTLY DETAILS

Missed the first three books in the series? YOU DON'T HAVE TO! I REVIEWED THEM AS WELL!!!

...alright, business done. TIME FOR REVIEWING ANTICS.

Amazon summary to get this going, "Percy Jackson isn’t expecting freshman orientation to be any fun.  But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears on campus, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to diabolical. 

In this latest 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 must 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." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

Alright, something I'm going to shame face about that I didn't touch on in my last review of The Titan's Curse, is that Percy was saved by a mortal while he was at the Hoover Dam (I didn't even mention the Hoover Dam in my last review because it's such a 'nothing super important happens here, but look! Historical monument!'). The mortal's name is Rachel Elizabeth Dare (which is spelled out for us numerous times in this book, probably once or twice in the last book) and she has a rare mortal ability; she has clear vision. Clear vision is when she can see through the mist regardless of how much mist is used. Percy asked his mother about it at one point who admitted to have much stronger clear vision when she was younger, but it has faded over the years.

That will come into play later.

I was going to do this by chapter to make it more thorough, but then I felt like it was writing a college paper for a class, and that's NOT what I want to do. So have some random meanderings again. :)

So the book begins with Percy attending an orientation for his new school that he'll start in the fall; it just happens to be the school that his mom's boyfriend Paul runs. At orientation, his hackles are up as if he's suspicious he's in danger and he runs into Rachel Elizabeth Dare. As I said above, she was in the last book for a five second scene but helped him escape the Hoover Dam. During orientation, some cheerleaders come out, Rachel gets all white in the face and basically books it. Percy follows and they get cornered in the band room by a couple of cheerleaders who turn out to be Empousai, servants of Hecate.

Now this doesn't seem like a big deal, but it reveals a major clue about the political battle in Olympus. Hecate is a minor goddess, and she's probably siding with Kronos if her servants are attacking Percy, and a mortal. This kind of makes you wonder, what other minor gods/goddesses are siding with Kronos? Who exactly is sizing up for battle here?

So, Percy and Rachel manage to escape and meet up with Annabeth who was supposed to meet Percy to go see a movie. With the whole fleeing thing, and Percy fleeing with a girl, Annabeth isn't too happy with him. Percy is a mass confusion of 'boy becoming man, what is romance?' and kind of tries to be nicer to Annabeth who is angry for some reason he can't discern. Rachel stayed behind at the school to try and explain things and why Percy fled.

They make it to camp Half-blood where the dragon guarding the golden fleece gets a little scene of Annabeth scratching it's chin and Percy remarking, MY HOW BIG IT'S GOTTEN in his brain. This might be relevant in the next book, but it's just a red herring in this book.

So Percy and Annabeth make their way around camp, Annabeth left Percy to his own devices and Percy meets a giant hell hound by the name of Mrs. O'Leary. Quintus, a son of Ares is the master of the hell hound and a surprise to Percy as he never considered being an adult and a half-blood. Tyson is back, Grover is given a week deadline to find the lost God of the Wilds, Pan, and Percy received an Iris message from someone depicting Nico speaking with a ghost. Camp is wonderful as usual.

So it turns out that Annabeth and Clarisse have been working together to investigate the Labyrinth; the place that Daedalus originally kept the Minotaur for King Minos; the King of Crete. Backstory on Daedalus; he's the guy who invents a lot of really nifty things and while trying to escape King Minos, he crafted wings for his son Icarus and himself, but the wax didn't hold and Icarus died during the escape attempt. Tragedy for everyone!

Anyways, so Clarisse went on a secret mission for Chiron last year into the Labyrinth and discovered that the Kronos army is planning on using it. The Labyrinth has just kept building itself since it's incarnation and moves with Olympus; so it's under the United States and links to anywhere in the United States. It's basically an express highway from anywhere to anywhere as long as you don't fall prey to the traps and monsters that lurk in the Labyrinth. Also, the Labyrinth can read your thoughts and try to trick you. People go insane down there. More tragedy for everyone! YAY!!!!....wait, no. ...NOOOO.

Annabeth believes that Daedalus can help them against Kronos, and that Pan is underground. We're going to speed ahead a little bit to boil it down that Annabeth, Tyson, Grover, and Percy all go on the quest into the Labyrinth. Annabeth reveals only pieces of the prophecy she received from the Oracle about her quest and she's very reluctant to give up one line of it. That will come into play later.

NOW, this is a third of the way through the book. These 'little' books pack a lot in such a short amount of time. SO OFF TO SPOILER LAND WE GO!!!


Alright, so the first chunk of Labyrinth adventures actually falls in the first third of the book, but I didn't want to deal with it before spoiler land was declared. BLOO HOO HOO, whatever.

So the quest undertakers get a visit from Hera who grants one wish and spews advice at them. She has a high and mighty attitude because, she's a goddess, but also because she seems to feel very serene in the fact that she is the only Olympian God that doesn't have a bunch of half-mortal children running around. Some of Hera's advice includes: seek out Hephaestus, beware of the minor gods, and the wish requested, she told them that Percy already knew the answer (which any reader would know if they were paying attention COUCH RACHEL ELIZABETH DARE COUGH COUGH) but Percy is like LOL WHAT? BOY NOISES. DERP.

Another tidbit about the Labyrinth adventure, is they managed to free a hundred handed one; the last one left, Briarers. Briares is Tyson's Hero, capital H just for Tyson, but he's lost faith in himself. They manage to escape his jailer and get back into the labyrinth, but Briares has lost himself, and so loses himself in the Labyrinth. No, that's not a whimsical metaphor, I mean he literally has a moment of, "I'M NOT GOOD FOR ANYONE ANYMORE, YOU CAN'T CONVINCE ME *leaves down a random Labyrinth corridor*". Really Briarers? Four beings just risked their lives for you, and you're going to run away. GENIUS.

A cool little background story device that Riordan keeps using is to make Percy dream of things that have passed, things that are happening right now, and sometimes dreams where he is communicated with or can communicate with someone. There are many of these infrequently throughout the book and I don't find them tedious at all, I kind of wished we were shown his dreams more.

ANYWAYS, so they cruise through the Labyrinth some more and they wander out onto a ranch where a lot of unsavory creatures are kept (such as flesh eating horses, and sacred cattle among others). They meet up with Nico again who's still kind of half-crazy from listening to the ghost of King Minos, and the dudes who run the ranch basically threaten to have none of their crap and take them to Kronos. Percy is like, WAIT WAIT, BARTER? and agrees to clean up all of the horse poop in the flesh eating horse pen if they let all of them go (including Nico). The dude is like BAHAHA SUREEEEE and gives him till sunset. Now Hercules already solved this once by using a river to clean out all the muck, but the river naiad is like GET AWAY FROM MY RIVER, YOU GONNA DAMAGE MY ECO-SYSTEM. RADSAFADFDFH. Percy is like, geez, okay okay, and then the naiad tells him that the water is within him (essentially and complete with metaphors and blah). Percy goes, "Hmmm...." and kind of digs up some sea shells that were in the ground and throws them in the pen. Sea water erupts from the seashells and starts to just take the poop underground in a sense. So Percy throws all the seashells all over the pen, makes the horses upset because they don't like baths, and clears out the pen. He also mentions a weird tugging sensation in his stomach.

So he goes back just in time, tells him he succeeded, the evil guy who runs the ranch is like, "Sweet, but I didn't swear on the River Styx, so sucks to be you" and tries to capture Percy. Percy and the evil ranch guy's henchmen are like DUDE, NOT COOL and kill him. Henchmen kind of sees the light, agrees to let Nico stay, and the quest undertakers are on their way again. They summon Bianca while at the ranch, but she basically tells Nico to stop trying to resurrect her and that Percy is a good dude so stop being a brat towards him.

So they go through the Labyrinth, Percy has some more dreams about Luke, they make their way to Hephaestus (which I can never spell right on the first try for some reason, damn you tricky god name!) who tells them to gain his favor they need to figure out who's using his forge in Mount St. Helens (a big mountain in the United States). They're like SURE, WHATEVER, WON'T BE TOO HARD. They go, Tyson and Grover go off on their own because they scented Pan, and so Percy and Annabeth go on to the forge. There they discover that the creatures that made weapons before the cyclops, the telkhines (they're like black sea serpent dog things), who are all mad because the Olympian gods use their weapons but then cast them out for using MAGIC. On a sidenote, I'm not entirely sure what the difference between magic and godly power is; magic seems to be godly power that the immortals don't want being used, but they can use it whenever they want. Um. I don't know.

Percy summons the water within, basically blows everything up because water+lava=BADDDD. Typhon, the most feared being besides Kronos was sleeping under their and might be awake now. Whoops. So Percy is dumped on Calypso's island where he's like MAN SHE'S PRETTY, OH GOD EVERYTHING HURTS, decides to leave and hates to make Calypso all sad because she fell in love with him for the two weeks he was there recooperating. Now the main reason I mention Calypso is because she brings up the point that she was banished for supporting her family (ATLAS, BECAUSE ZOE NIGHTSHADE LAST BOOK WAS ALSO DAUGHTER OF ATLAS, NURRR) but she didn't do much or something and the gods kind of took pity on her and imprisoned her on a beautiful island where their are nice creatures and a garden for her to tend. And also invisible servants. Her curse is that the only visitors she'll get (besides gods) are heroes she'll fall in love with but who will leave her. The island is also cursed to never accept a man twice onto the island, he can only travel their once. (In my opinion she should start a book club with the minor goddesses, but whatever, moving on.) Basically Percy is like, "Yeah, I fight for my Dad because he's my Dad...and I guess he's right. But Olympus kind of sucks as a whole, but my Dad *quaffles*". He leaves the island, goes back to camp and everyone there is like OMGWTF PERCY YOU'RE ALIVE? BLOO HOO HOO YAY!

I feel like this is going on for forever so let's wrap up the last section of the book.

Major battle happens at camp, some of the campers die, Briares gets some faith in himself and helps them win the battle, Quintus turns out to be Daedalus, doesn't really help them much, helps them more by dying and collapsing the labyrinth. Briares goes down to help in Poseidon's forges where the other cyclops are, Grover, Tyson, Percy, Annabeth, and Nico found Pan (before the Labyrinth collapsed whoops) and Pan was like I'M DYING, LET ME DIE DAMN YOU and tells them that it's up to everyone else to protect the wild places. Grover gets all WAH but delivers the message to the other Satyrs, the elders are like BLASPHEMY but the others ones are like ALRIGHT, LET'S DO THIS, and get down to business. Rachel Elizabeth Dare came back into play and led them through the labyrinth with her clear vision and escaped with them and she's fine.

Also, it turns out that Luke sacrificed himself to Kronos essentially and became a living vessel for him. So now Kronos is in charge of Luke's body, and Luke is still questionably there. Annabeth hasn't given up hope on Luke yet.

At the very end of the book, Percy's Mom throws a birthday party for him and Tyson, Paul Blofis (the mom's boyfriend) all attend and play games. I want to quote the book because I laughed out loud at this, "We ate blue cake and ice cream until we couldn't eat anymore. Then we played a bunch of cheesy party games like charades and Monopoly. Tyson didn't get charades. He kept shouting the answer he was trying to mime, but it turned out he was really good at Monopoly. He knocked me out in the game in the first five rounds and started bankrupting my mom and Paul," (Riordan, Pages 358-359; The Battle of the Labyrinth). I love that paragraph simply because it seems so REAL and family-like. It was rather touching and FUNNY. So there you go. (Percy has turned fifteen now in case you're keeping tabs.)

Poseidon visits during the party, hears Percy's whole story and gives him a sand dollar as a birthday present. He also mentions that the war came to him first at sea and he's giving it all he's got to protect the land from typhoons and hurricanes and what not. So they're already at war.

The party winds down, Percy sequesters a piece of cake to his room, roots around in his pocket and finds that Calypso left him a flower to plant his own garden with. He plants the flower and Nico scares the crap out of him as Nico is chilling out on his fire escape. Nico is like "I HAVE IMPORTANT THINGS TO TELL YOU-Is that birthday cake?" Percy is like, "Whoa, dude, come inside, eat the cake and let's talk."

Book ends.

So things we know so far...
Kronos is actually in a biped form now via Luke's body.
We STILL don't know the exact prophecy about the child of the big three and when they turn sixteen.
Annabeth revealed her full prophecy which I'm going to paraphrase, "You shall delve into darkness of the endless maze, The dead, the traitor, and the lost one raise. You shall rise or fall by the ghost king's hand, And the child of Athena's final stand, Destroy with a hero's final breath, And lose a love to worse than death." Percy and Annabeth spend pages 348 and 349 talking about it and dissect the entire prophecy for you. Now the line we care about right now is "And lose a love to worse than death" which Annabeth thinks is about Luke.
Dionysus confirmed that the minor gods/goddesses are indeed switching over to Kronos's side.
Nico and Percy are becoming friends? Eh?
Annabeth and Percy might have a romantic relationship trying to blossom (she kissed him at one point this book).

Everyone might die.

The end.

JUST KIDDING. There's another book in this series, and then there's another series after this series. EXCELLENT.

On a side note, this is probably my favorite book in this series. There's a lot of stuff that happens, some great characterization, and a lot of coming together of things mentioned in the previous books, and things mentioned now that will into play later. As an aspiring writer, I find this book rather inspiring.

Happy reading!

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