Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rick Riodan's The Last Olympian

In the fifth book of the Percy and the Olympians series, Percy Jackson and company are forced to defend Mt. Olympus, which can be found above the Empire State Building. The forces of Cronos have regrouped after their defeat in the battle of the Labyrinth the previous summer and are using the rising of the father of all monsters, Typhon, as a distraction while they attack Olympus. All gods but Poseidon are present merely attempting to hold Typhon away, whereas Poseidon is busy fighting off the sea titan, Oceanus. The climax of the series draws nigh, as Percy, hero of the prophecy, must make a choice that will destroy or save Olympus, possibly at the loss of his own life. Rick Riodan's The Last Olympian kept me spellbound from one page to the next with constant action and thrilling suspense.

This book's plot appears quite complex and confusing while reading the book, but in retrospect everything fits together in an easily summarizeable way. Annabeth, a very close friend of Percy's, suspects that Cronos' army will soon attack Olympus, and takes the entire entourage from camp half blood along to protect the seat of the gods' power. The entire camp save the Ares cabin, whom are angry because they did not get a flying chariot from a raid. Percy also makes his own preparations. Awhile back, the son of Hades, Nico, made him an offer. He told Percy that if he were to bathe in the River Styx, he could become like Achilles, nearly invulnerable. Percy must make a choice then at the river, after being warned by Achilles' ghost about the so called "curse of Achilles." Either way, with the mountain to defend, Percy makes his choice and is quickly off. Arriving at Manhattan, Percy and his friends must face Cronos' army, but somehow Cronos knows their every move, every plan, and every position. He even admits to having a spy in their camp. With the disarray and fear caused by a spy, and the seemingly futile battle ahead against the lord of time, how can Percy ever win this one?

This novel holds deep themes settled in the last stand of the defenders. Once, Prometheus came to Percy in a diplomatic mission in an attempt to con him into stopping the fighting. After being unsuccessful, he gave Percy Pandora's Box, which actually is a vase. He told Percy that if Percy were to open the vase and release the last being inside, hope, the fighting would stop, the action would be considered a surrender, and Percy and his friends would be spared. Basically, give up hope, and everything will end. The vase also appears whenever Percy feels lowest, when he would like to give up hope. In the end, Percy entrusts the vase into a trustworthy person's care, cementing his faith that everything will turn out fine. Just as the vase shows up when Percy would like to give up, so does the vase appear with us. Whenever we are at our lowest, we are tempted to give up on whatever is causing that low, correct? We wish for an easy way out, and giving up would be the equivalent to flight in the fight or flight approach. However, unless the situation is utterly hopeless, the correct choice is to fight, not flee. To make a stand just as Percy chose, for better or for worse, and to let everything play out. Basically, and as I used to say myself, "The only way to lose a battle is to give up hope in victory, for whenever hope is given up, the battle is truely lost."

Between the page turning brawls, and the curiousity driven by suspense, I must say, this book is quite the read. I fully recommend the novel to any and everyone. People that like Greek Mythology probably will also enjoy this book, and series. I must say, this book is one of my all time favorites, and that is not a statement to be taken lightly. The Last Olympian commands all of the elements of other books in the series, and improves upon them, as well as posesses new and addicting characteristics which improve the overall quality of the book.

381 Pages