This review is spoiler free for all four books in the series so far!
Percy Jackson is back at Camp Half-Blood - and there is yet another problem. Or rather, the continuing problem of Kronos and his growing army. When another oracle is revealed - this time to Annabeth - the daughter of Athena chooses three inhabitants of the camp to go with her: Percy, Grover, and Tyson. The three set out on the dangerous mission of finding Ariadne's string before Kronos' monsters can find it, but it turns out there is more to their quest...and that it is all the more dangerous. With Grover still wanting to find Pan, and Annabeth desperate to accomplish this quest - even though it seems someone will die in the end - Percy must once more use his wits and the power of Poseidon to help his friends and prevent Kronos from being able to navigate Daedalus' deceitful labyrinth.
Ummm...can I say, "WOW"? Because that's how I feel right now - and have felt since I finished this book. I will start by saying this is my favorite Percy Jackson book so far. It had a tone that was a bit more serious than the others, but its contents are fascinating to no end. Not kidding, I was ten times more hooked than in the last three, and I really really liked those!
Percy is altogether a likable guy. If I was in the story, I'd have a major crush on him... He's smart, kind, reliable, and has faults to make him more human. And more likable, I say. When I'm reading these books, especially this one, I feel like I've grown up with him. He started out as a 12-year-old who thinks he's a mortal with ADHD and dyslexia. Now he's almost sixteen and has skills like none other, and fights demigods and monsters - and sometimes gods. He's like the Hercules of our time. You can't help but love him! And just when you think he's pulled the coolest stunt in the series so far, he does something else that's even cooler. The fight scene in chapter 14, "My Brother Duels Me To The Death", has got to be one of the best fight scenes I've read in a long time...maybe in all time.
Annabeth's character was altogether more developed in this book, I felt. Because she had to lead a quest, you see and hear more of her decisions. It was really neat to get close to her character like never before....to get inside her head a bit.
The other characters, of course, are awesome. They accent the story perfectly; no one is out of place. And I love the writing. I can tell Rick Riordan has a fun time writing these books - because the reader has fun reading them! Percy's voice is unmistakable and (again) likable and interesting to read. So far, the story has built up perfectly. It started out with just a little bit about Kronos in the first book, then a little more in the second, then more, and now this - a full battle! It feels so natural.
Favorite character -
This has been established: Percy. However...there is another that tied pretty closely who is only in this book. That would be Daedalus. He. Was. Amazing. The twist in the story that revolved around his character was SO fascinating!
Favorite aspect -
Percy and Annabeth's growing relationship/friendship (call it what you will). Their friendship has always intrigued me and I feel it has developed well over these four books. I can't wait to see what happens between them in the next and final book!
One word to sum up this book (and final conclusion) -
This book is a maze. Really and truly. Not only are the characters stuck in a multi-thousand year old maze for most of the time, but the story events are just like it - twisting and turning and totally surprising. Highly recommended to everyone...seriously. This book just topped off an already good series. And I heard from the kids I babysit that #5 is super duper surprising and that I "won't guess in a million years what happens!" They tried many a time to tell me what happens...I had to plug my ears and make loud noises until they stopped screaming and getting all excited about it...and still they were jumping up and down. They had me all excited and squealing! And when I finished The Battle of the Labyrinth, it had me squealing with excitement and clapping my hands and dropping my jaw over and over again, trying to say something worthy. (Nothing worked...) So what am I going to do now? Dive into The Last Olympian, of course! I'm sure many wonderful and surprising adventures await me there! :)