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Rick Riordan – The Last Olympian

May 14, 2012

49. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan (2009)
Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 5

Read my review of book:
1. The Lightning Thief
2. The Sea of Monsters
3. The Titan’s Curse
4. The Battle of the Labyrinth

Length: 485 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Adventure

Started: 26 April 2012
Finished: 28 April 2012

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? Did I mention the part about me being hooked on this series like a fish?

A few dozen kids
versus the Titans’ joint force?
Oh, yeah, that seems fair.

Summary: Demigod Percy Jackson has known about the prophecy – that a child of one of the “big three” Greek gods will make a choice on his sixteenth birthday that will either doom or save Mount Olympus – since he was twelve. Now Percy’s a week away from turning sixteen, and the forces of the Titan Kronos are arrayed against the Olympians, and closing in. The demigod campers of Camp Half-Blood have been preparing for this battle all year, but how can a small group of half-mortals hope to stand against the combined forces of the Lord of Time and his allies and monster servants?

Review: I’ve complained in the past about the previous books in this series being too episodic, so you might think that I’d be thrilled that The Last Olympian is much more tightly focused, involving only the battle between the Camp-Half-Blood-ers and the forces of Lord Kronos. And in some ways, I am. But I also felt a little cheated; the book (as is usual) skips over almost a year since the ending of the previous one, but in this case, there was a lot of stuff – preparations and skirmishes, etc. – that happened during that year that would have been interesting to see. Percy also makes a lot of side comments that reference the intervening time without much explanation or elaboration. I can understand why Riordan chose to structure the series as he did, but I do think there’s a way to tell a complete and fast-moving story without slam-cutting readers right to the big blowout at the end.

But as for the big blowout itself, it was pretty great. The books in this series have matured as Percy does, and this is not a battle without some serious, permanent, and not-kiddie-stuff consequences. Riordan doesn’t linger on the deaths, but he makes sure we feel them, and this book made me sniffly more than once — pretty good for a series that started out as silly mid-grade fantasy adventure. Of course, the silliness is not gone completely; there are touches of humor throughout (both subtle and more overtly silly), even at some of the darkest moments. And plot-wise, Riordan manages to wrap up all of the threads of his story in a way that was satisfying, yet that I didn’t see coming – an impressive feat in a genre that is typically plagued by predictability. All in all, I had a blast with this series, and am looking forward to starting the follow-up books. 4 out of 5 stars.

“Your powers drain you too much,” I noticed.
He nodded sleepily. “With great power . . . comes great need to take a nap. Wake me up later.” –Location 2235

Recommendation: Don’t start at the end, but this series as a whole is great, definitely recommended for fans of mythology, and anyone who is looking for a light, fun, funny read that isn’t overly juvenile or completely brainless fluff.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: An Abundance of Books, Bloody Bookaholic, Lesa’s Book Critiques and more at the Book Blogs Search Engine.
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: The end of the world started when a pegasus landed on the hood of my car.

“And I know some of you might be thinking, Aren’t all demigods related on the godly side, and doesn’t that make dating gross? But the thing is, the godly side of your family doesn’t count genetically speaking, since gods don’t have DNA.” –Location 936

So… are all demigods haploid? Or clones of their mortal parents? Where does Percy’s Y chromosome come from? BIOLOGY, PEOPLE! GET IT RIGHT.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. May 14, 2012 8:57 am

    I really need to get back to this series!

  2. May 14, 2012 12:34 pm

    I love mythology as a kid so I really should try this series.

    • May 21, 2012 8:54 am

      Kathy – It’s outside your typical reading zone, I think, but I bet you’d have fun with it even so.

  3. May 14, 2012 2:38 pm

    I sort of vaguely decided that the “gods don’t have DNA” comment meant the gods don’t have a fixed DNA–that it switches to whatever is appropriate to the mortal form they’ve taken at the moment. You’re right, though, that the statement doesn’t make sense, in and of itself.

    • May 21, 2012 8:55 am

      Bookwyrme – That’s a good hand-wavy explanation… although it does call into question whether that means Helen and Pollux were literally half swan DNA… :)

  4. May 14, 2012 9:42 pm

    Buahahaha . . . Watch out, Riordan. This biologist is going to take you DOWN.

    • May 21, 2012 8:56 am

      Emily – Heh, beware my biological literal-mindedness of DOOM! The thing is, I would never have given it a second thought if he hadn’t brought it up, but once he does bring it up, I need an explanation that makes sense.

  5. May 15, 2012 10:29 pm

    I loved that the epic final battle was in Manhattan. I’m a sucker for crazy things happening in real places.

    • May 21, 2012 8:57 am

      Cheryl – I love that too, although I love it most when it’s real places I’m familiar with, which I’m not so much with NYC.

  6. May 29, 2012 12:22 pm

    I’m just heading for the second book, so I’ve just scanned your thoughts, but am glad to see that you enjoyed it all the way through. I borrowed a fun little guidebook for the series from the library, which has these little colour cards that tuck into the back of the front cover and snazzy colour illustrations on glossy paper throughout: I understand why kids (of all ages) get so hooked.

    • June 15, 2012 5:50 pm

      BiP – I’ve seen the guidebook around, but never really gave it too much thought, since I know the actual mythology. Sounds cute, though!

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