This is a joint review with Morrigan, my son who will turn 9 on Sunday. You’ll see – we have very different opinions for the most part. Of course, he’s much closer to the intended age group for this series.
Summary: In book 5 of the Percy Jackson series, war has begun between the gods and the titans. The Great Prophecy is finally fully revealed and Percy has to make a decision that will save or destroy the world.
Thoughts on this book:
Amanda: This book was on par with The Battle of the Labyrinth (book 4). It was better than #2-3, but not quite as good as the first one. The first part was a little dull and dragging, but after the River Styx scene, it picked up. There was a little too much battle, and a little too much deus ex machina (no pun intended) involved near the end. However, I liked how everything wrapped up, and I felt good at the end. It was a good series closer. Plus, the introduction to Demeter was priceless. The book had a lot of funny one-liners.
Morrigan: It wasn’t as good as the other ones, because it was repetitive. It just had them destroying monsters over and over again and that got boring. It was also funnier than the rest of the books in places, like Demeter and George&Martha and “Peanut Butter!” All the new stuff with Nico – like shadow traveling – surprised me, also.
Thoughts on the love triangle:
Amanda: Well, it’s not often that we see love triangles involving one boy and two girls. I sort of wondered how it would end, and I wanted to see what choices Percy made. However, it was apparently more convenient to take one girl out of the running (and by that, I don’t necessarily mean that she dies – I won’t tell what happens to her, or if she lives or not) and give Percy a by-default choice instead.
Morrigan: It turned out good. It was funny, Percy swinging back and forth between Rachel and Annabeth. I was glad he ended up with the person he ended up with.
Thoughts on the spy:
Amanda: I thought the discovery of the spy was a little lame. It was too easy to blame the person who ended up being the spy. Too neat. Too unbelievable. I don’t want to say anything more and spoil it, but I was disappointed with that.
Morrigan: I thought it was clever that they made the spy who it was. It was a person you would never suspect.
Thoughts on the prophecy and conclusion:
Amanda: While I figured the book was going to end with specific winners winning through specific actions, I didn’t expect the specific twists that got us to that place. The prophecy and all the hints leading up to it were ones I never unraveled myself, so I thought Riordan did well that way. It was a good way to make an unpredictable path to a predictable ending.
Morrigan: I thought it was kind of funny that it ended the way it did. I wasn’t expecting what happened at the end. I think it all worked out well in the end.
Thoughts on the series as a whole:
Amanda: Okay, so I’m going to take a little more time with this question. While it’s probably unfair to compare this series with the Harry Potter series, I’m going to do it anyway, because I finally figured out what has bothered me through all the sequels to The Lightning Thief. In Harry Potter, Harry goes from almost 11 to almost 18. Seven books, seven years. In those seven years, he grows up. He matures. The books show him aging, going through adolescence in both good and bad ways, and by the end, he’s become an adult. Not just Harry changes, though. The books themselves change. Beyond the fact that Rowling got to be a better writer as she went along, the books matured along with Harry. I read somewhere that Rowling intended the target audience of each book to be the age that Harry was in that particular books. She meant this to be for a growing, aging audience. I love that. If the whole series had been written like the first book, it wouldn’t have done very well. If Harry had stayed an immature little 11 year old in his actions, we wouldn’t like him as much.
Percy Jackson starts these books at 12 and goes to 16. Sadly, he doesn’t change at all in that time. Sure, he starts to (sort of) get interested in girls, but it still feels 12 years old. Like a 12 year old interest. The only time he matures is after the River Styx ordeal in this last book, which can be seen more as a product of the event than an actual maturing. These books were written for 12 year olds, not for an aging market. And I disliked that. I would have enjoyed them much more had Percy grown as a person. As it was, these books could have all taken place within a year and it would have been the same. That’s what bothered me. I wish he could have grown up. On the other hand, 12 year olds really like the books, so maybe that was the intent.
Morrigan: I thought it was put together nicely, but I’m glad it was split into lots of books because it wouldn’t have been good as one long book. Also, each book seems very different from each other and uses a different part of mythology, but all of it came together in the end. The idea of another Camp Half-Blood series (mentioned in the Acknowledgements) is really cool!
[Morrigan also says he disagrees with my rant about Percy above. He says he likes Percy staying the same because he’s funny.]