The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians), by Rick Riordan, 2009, Book Review

last olympianI’m done. I read the last book. Mr. Riordan has certainly written a rousing tale. In The Last Olympian, the epic battle that’s been building between Kronos, Lord of the Titans, and the Olympian gods comes about at last, and Percy, of course, features prominently. Finally, we learn the Great Prophecy in its entirety, and after lots of loops and twists, the series ends as we know it must, but not at all as we expect. Frankly, it’s exhausting. The battle lasts over 200 pages.

I have the same likes and dislikes to mention; if you’ve read my other reviews, you’ve seen them before. I LOVE Riordan’s style, his wit and sarcasm and understatement. He always says the last thing I’d expect, and it makes me smile every time. Again, a list of my favorite quotes:

“My arm and leg wounds had healed…but I still felt like I’d been trampled by a Laistrygonian soccer team in cleats.”

“I’m sure the carpeted halls had once been very plush, but over the last three years of monster occupation the wallpaper, carpet and stateroom doors had been clawed up and slimed so it looked like the inside of a dragon’s throat (and yes, unfortunately, I speak from experience).”

“I couldn’t imagine how much Draino we’d need to unstick a hellhound wedged halfway down a tunnel to the Underworld.”

“I love New York. You can pop out of the Underworld in Central Park, hail a taxi, head down Fifth Avenue with a giant hellhound loping along behind you, and nobody even looks at you funny.”

Add to this humor root beer-guzzling centaurs, shadow travel, a monster prison break under Mount St. Helens, and Mr. D. who still can’t get Percy’s name right, and you have a real kid-pleaser on your hands. And as always, I was tickled by the funny chapter titles, but none more so than Chapter Eighteen, “My Parents Go Commando.” Because, you see, in my warped family, my brothers would sometimes “Go Commando,” meaning they were a little freer under their shorts than they should be when Mom got behind on the laundry. That’s not at all what happens in this chapter, but I chuckled anyway.

And once again, I cringed at the unapologetic immorality and infidelity of the Greek gods. I mean, they all have so many illegitimate children scattered all over the world that Camp Half-blood had to build another half dozen cabins to house them all. Yes, this is consistent with ancient Greek literature, but is it appropriate in children’s literature? It would seem that sports heroes, movie stars and ex-presidents provide enough poor role models in this area that we needn’t create imaginary ones.

Percy Jackson is meant for a middle school audience. Overall, it is fun, funny fiction. There are some dark themes, but with a bit of guidance, I would let my middle schooler read it. I recommend age 12+.

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2 thoughts on “The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians), by Rick Riordan, 2009, Book Review

  1. thiskidreviewsbooks

    I love this book but, still, Battle of the Labyrinth “wins my heart” in the series! I really enjoyed it! I like how funny the book was funny too. I can see how the gods having a lot of kids all over wouldn’t be a good message but I never really thought about it. I guess maybe because I know about greek mythology and how the gods married a bunch of different people and I figured the books are trying to be like that. I liked Grover a lot. Who did you like?

    Reply
  2. Michelle Isenhoff Post author

    I loved Grover, too! And I thought Rachel Elizabeth Dare added nicely to the story, too. She was kind of mysterious, being a mortal who could “see” things. And she put some tension between Percy and Annabeth. The best thing Riordan has going for him, though, is his humor. Above all, it lightens up the series and makes it so enjoyable.

    Reply

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