By Rick Riordan
In his fourth summer at Camp Half-Blood, Percy and the other demigods realize the imminence of war when they learn that the growing Titan threat has reached their own turf. Percy and Annabeth stumble upon an entrance to the Labyrinth within the sacred boundaries of camp, which means the enemy army could arrive at any time in the middle of camp. This discovery, combined with other suspicions about the recent activities of Luke’s cronies, results in a quest to navigate the impossible Labyrinth, find Daedalus in his workshop, and convince the eminent inventor not to allow Kronos’ army safe passage through the Labyrinth. Led by Annabeth, who receives her first quest after years and years at camp, Percy, Grover, and Tyson set off through the underground maze, encountering obstacles, traps, and detours of all kinds. Eventually, the foursome splits apart with Grover and Tyson in pursuit of Pan while Percy and Annabeth perform favors for other gods to ensure safe passage through the maze. After becoming unexpectedly separated, Percy and Annabeth reunite at camp with a new plan for navigating the Labyrinth. They must rely on the hope that a new guide with a fresh set of eyes can help them see through the maze, persuade Daedalus, and restore safety within the boundaries of Camp Half-Blood.
“The Battle of the Labyrinth” is the fourth novel in Rick Riordan’s Olympian series. In his typical style, Riordan writes with an easy, conversational tone. Combined with the constant obstacles, challenges, and cliffhangers in the story, this book is as readable as the previous three. Another hallmark of his writing is Percy’s sarcasm. Percy brings comic and ironic relief to a sense of imminent destruction with blunt remarks and obvious comebacks. While Riordan thrives with plot and action, moving so quickly from plot point to plot point leaves less room for depth and growth in the characters. However, in the fourth installment of the series Riordan focuses on issues of loyalty, betrayal, and redemption. This plays out not only in the immediacy of demigod defectors joining Luke’s army, but also in the eternal grudges of the gods, kings, and other leaders. Percy learns that showing kindness is not always met with reciprocal actions, but he does have opportunities to see the bigger picture, find hope wherever possible, and demonstrate integrity in his committed leadership with Camp Half-Blood and his friends.
What can I say at this point that hasn’t already been said about the books in this series? I continue to feel slightly disappointed that character development is sacrificed to moving the plot along (at an incredibly rapid rate), but at the same time, the action always sucks me in and keeps me reading well beyond the chapter I say I will finish before going to bed (and I may have already checked out the fifth book from the library because I just have to know how the series ends). They are entertaining, engaging, and easy to read. Despite my criticisms, I clearly enjoy these books, and I’m sure you will too.