book reviews · middle grade · rick riordan · the battle of the labyrinth · ya · young adult

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

This is the fourth of five mini reviews for the five novels in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.
Read The Lightning Thief mini review here.
Read The Sea of Monsters mini review here.
Read The Titan’s Curse mini review here.
Read The Last Olympian mini review here.

thebattleofthelabyrinth

“But remember, boy, that a kind act can sometimes be as powerful as a sword.”

If the previous three novels in the series were amazing, The Battle of the Labyrinth was phenomenal. The adventure was never-ending and the new take on Greek mythology was absolutely fascinating.

In the fourth novel, Annabeth and Clarisse have been researching and attempting to locate an entrance to the Labyrinth, a perpetual maze created by the Greek architect Daedalus for King Minos, which Luke plans to use as a way to invade Camp Half-Blood. Percy, Annabeth, Grover and Tyson are sent on a quest inside the Labyrinth to find Daedalus, who is supposedly still alive, and convince him not to give Luke the secret to navigating the Labyrinth. The gang needs to discover a way not to get lost in the Labyrinth and find Daedalus before he gives up the secrets of the Labyrinth – otherwise Camp Half-Blood will be destroyed and the gods, and Western Civilization, will fall.

By far the most interesting aspect of this novel was the Labyrinth itself, primarily Riordan’s creative modern take on it. In the original Greek myth, the Labyrinth was an intricate structure designed by Daedalus for King Minos in order to hold the infamous Minotaur. The hero Theseus was able to navigate the Labyrinth through the assistance of Minos’ daughter Ariadne, where he then killed the Minotaur. Minos was so angry at Daedalus, who he kept prisoner along with his son Icarus in order to prevent Daedalus’ knowledge from getting out, that he spent the rest of his life searching for Daedalus who had escaped. In the escape, Icarus died after he flew too close to the sun on his home-made wax wings.

In the novel, the Labyrinth is an ever-changing and growing entity that continually develops new rooms and corridors and stretches across the entirety of America. I found Riordan’s take on this classic to be ingenious. It was such a fascinating idea and I loved every second the gang spent in the Labyrinth. New mythological creatures were introduced, a few I had never even heard of before such as the Hekatonkheires (who was even sweeter than Tyson), the creepy Geryon and the terrifying Antaeus. This new cast of villains was a great inclusion in the story as it shows the power Kronos has and how the Olympians and the Half-Bloods have almost no chance against them in the final novel.

Every scene in the story was infused with tension and suspense. The action scenes did not stop, so much to the point that I was finding it difficult to breathe. I thoroughly loved these scenes and wouldn’t change a thing about them, even if I almost had a panic attack while I was reading.

I loved the portrayal of Hephaestus in The Battle of the Labyrinth. He has never been my favourite Olympian god but I loved how Riordan developed his character and made him very likable and sympathetic. I couldn’t help but feel for Hephaestus as he is often the brunt of many jokes due to his features. Hera, his own mother, even tried to kill him when he was a baby. Riordan did a fantastic job with Hephaestus’ character, who I believe is often looked over, even in Greek mythology.

One of the most touching scenes in the entire series occurred in this novel where Percy washes up in Ogygia and meets Calypso, daughter of the Titan Atlas, who was punished and exiled for her father’s sins. She is cursed in that she cannot leave her island and the young heroes who find themselves on Ogygia’s shores are destined to never stay. Percy practically falls in love with Calypso, but knows in his heart that he must return to the mortal world and fight the prophecy. Calypso’s island shows that, although we are rooting for the gods to defeat the Titans, the gods have done terrible, unwarranted things too and we should not forget that.

Another character I fell in love with was Nico di Angelo, who, it is revealed, is the son of Hades. Nico feels left out of Camp Half-Blood and is still holding a grudge against Percy for the circumstances involving his sister’s death. Nico’s troubles are heartbreaking and I only hope that he gets the happy ending he deserves. I can’t wait to discover more about his identity.

The Battle of the Labyrinth was a thrilling roller-coaster ride of a novel. As the second-last novel in the series, you just know that the finale is going to be just as good, if not better.

Favourite quotes:

My mother made a squeaking sound that might of been either “yes” or “help.”
Poseidon took it as a yes and came in.
Paul was looking back and forth between us, trying to read our expressions. Finally he stepped forward.
“Hi, I’m Paul Blofis.”
Poseidon raised an eyebrow and then shook his hand.
“Blowfish, did you say?”
“Ah, no. Blofis, actually.”
“Oh, I see,” Poseidon said. “A shame. I quite like blowfish. I am Poseidon.”
“Poseidon? That’s an interesting name.”
“Yes, I like it. I’ve gone by other names, but I do prefer Poseidon.”
“Like the god of the sea.”
“Very much like that, yes.”

“You are okay?” [Tyson] asked. “Not eaten by monsters?”
“Not even a little bit.” I showed him that I still had both arms and both legs, and Tyson clapped happily.
“Yay!” he said. “Now we can eat peanut butter sandwiches and ride fish ponies! We can fight monsters and see Annabeth and make things go BOOM!”
I hoped he didn’t mean all at the same time, but I told him absolutely, we’d have a lot of fun this summer.

“Monkey bar,” Annabeth said. “I’m great at these.” She leaped onto to the first rung and start swinging her way across. She was scared of tiny spiders, but not of plummeting to her death from a set of monkey bars. Go figure.

“I’m calm,” Rachel insisted. “Every time I’m around you, some monsters attack us. What’s to be nervous about?”
“Look,” I said. “I’m sorry about the band room. I hope they didn’t kick you our or anything.”
“Nah. They asked me a lot of questions about you. I played dumb.”
“Was it hard?” Annabeth asked.

“I couldn’t miss Percy’s fifteenth birthday,” Poseidon said. “Why, if this were Sparta, Percy would be a man today!”
“That’s true, Paul said. “I used to teach ancient history.”
Poseidon’s eyes twinkled. “That’s me. Ancient history.”

“I held out a lead figurine of Hades—the little Mythomagic statue Nico had abandoned when he fled camp last winter.
Nico hesitated. “I don’t play that game anymore. It’s for kids.”
“It’s got four thousand attack power,” I coaxed.
“Five thousand,” Nico corrected. “But only if your opponent attacks first.”
I smiled. “Maybe it’s okay to still be a kid once in a while.”

“Percy!” [Tyson] bellowed. He dropped his broom and ran at me. If you’ve never been charged by an enthusiastic Cyclops wearing a flowered apron and rubber cleaning gloves, I’m telling you, it’ll wake you up quick.

Hephaestus glowered up at us. “I didn’t make you, did I?”
“Uh,” Annabeth said, “no, sir.”
“Good,” the god grumbled. “Shoddy workmanship.”

The god of wine looked around at the assembled crowd. “Miss me?”
The satyrs fell over themselves nodding and bowing. “Oh, yes, very much, sire!”
“Well, I did not miss this place!” Dionysus snapped. “I bear bad news, my friends. Evil news. The minor gods are changing sides. Morpheus has gone over to the enemy. Hecate, Janus, and Nemesis, as well. Zeus knows how many more.”
Thunder rumbled in the distance.
“Strike that,” Dionysus said. “Even Zeus doesn’t know.”

Poseidon put his weathered hand on my shoulder. “Percy, lesser beings do many horrible things in the name of the gods. That does not mean we gods approve. The way our sons and daughters act in our names…well, it usually says more about them than it does about us. And you, Percy, are my favorite son.”

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5 stars
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