Review: The Battle of the Labyrinth

Battle of the LabyrinthClosing in on the final installment of the Percy Jackson series, the urgency of the quests and the quick-paced tempo with which Riordan carries his readers through the challenges doesn’t let up. If anything, this was an even faster read with more cliff-hanging elements and more introductions to additional Greek mythological characters.

This time, the quest takes Percy and his friends into Daedalus’ labyrinth, which has magically transposed itself on the US, and allows for a strange bending of space and time. The ability to get from coast to coast in one “day” in the labyrinth isn’t the only element of danger, though. Monsters guard key access points:

The stone door closed and its magic sealed us in. I could feel the whole tunnel shake as Kempe pounded against it, roaring furiously. We didn’t stick around to play knock, knock with her, though. We raced into the darkness, and for the first time (and the last) I was glad to be back in the Labyrinth.

The awareness of time and its passage becomes an even stronger leitmotif in this installation, and takes Percy outside of what a normal 14-year-old would be cognizant of:

I remembered something Medusa had told us once: how her sisters, the other two gorgons, had passed on and left her alone. Then last year Apollo said something about the old god Helios disappearing and leaving him with the duties of the sun god. I’d never thought about it too much, but now, looking at Briares, I realized how terrible it would be to be so old–thousands and thousands of years old–and totally alone.

This also ties in neatly with Athena’s assessment of Percy’s fatal flaw–being overly loyal to his friends, and plays the two perspectives off each other in such a way that the reader can sense the building tension in making decisions that don’t tempt fate, on the one hand, and yet support the best outcome for his friends and himself.

Percy’s quests have all involved learning more about himself and his abilities, and this book is no different. I can continue to happily recommend both this book and this series to anyone interested in a fascinating adventure with profound implications and engaging characters.

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