Saturday, June 15, 2013

Book Review: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson #5)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great action and characters bring series to satisfying climax
Cons: It's over
The Bottom Line:
Percy's last stand is
So much fun for series fans
The perfect climax

Percy Jackson's Story Comes to a Thrilling Climax

After I finished the fourth book in the Percy Jackson series, I knew it wouldn't be long before it picked up The Last Olympian, the fifth and final book in the series.  The entire series had been building to this point, and I couldn't wait to see how it would all play out.  This was by far the best book in the series.

In case you've missed these fun young adult novels, they follow the adventures of Percy Jackson who discovered in the first book that he is a demigod, son of the god of the sea, Poseidon.  Did I mention that Percy is living in modern New York City?  Yes, these books take place in modern times, but Mount Olympus has moved to the top of the Empire State Building.

The book opens a week before Percy Jackson's sixteenth birthday - the day that he will fulfill a prophecy he has only heard part of.  But Percy has other things on his mind.  The Titans are attacking all over the globe.  His father, Poseidon, is fighting a giant monster under the sea.  The majority of the other gods are fighting in the middle of the country, leaving Mount Olympus undefended.

Somehow, Percy and the other half-bloods must find a way to protect the seat of the gods' power or civilization as we know it will unravel.  Nico has a plan, but it seems dangerous.  Should Percy follow it?  Will they stand a chance even if Percy goes through with it?

The first four books in the series followed a definite formula, and my biggest complaint has been hoping they would break that mold.  That happened here in a major way.  There are no quests.  In fact, the majority of the book takes place during a giant battle that lasts for several days.  The action starts at the beginning of the book and rarely lets up.  I had a hard time putting it down.

The characters we've come to love are all here and develop further in between the action.  The final 50 pages really wrap up their stories, and it's very hard to see them go.

Best of all, there is some great pay off for those who have read all five books.  Most of that comes with the character development, but a few off handed things also brought back memories of things from previous books without rehashing things.

Which brings me to an important point: don't read this book if you haven't read the others in the series.  You'd definitely follow what happens here, but it won't mean nearly as much to you.  This is a case where you need the full back story to truly appreciate how great this book is.  But all the books in the series are fast reads that will be over before you know it.

I know it's a cliché, but they truly did save the best for last.  Percy Jackson fans will be completely satisfied with The Last Olympian.

Here is a listing of both series in the complete Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus sagas in order.

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