Thursday, November 29, 2012
The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
The fourth installment of Percy Jackson & The Olympians is not as engaging as the previous books in the series, however, the rise of the titan Lord Kronos at the end sets the stage for the conclusion of this saga. The Battle of the Labyrinth opens with Percy attending freshman orientation at Goode High School. He is shocked to see Rachel Elizabeth Dare, a mortal girl who helped him escape zombies in The Titan's Curse. As he tries to avoid her he ends up being cornered by two demon cheerleaders named Tammi and Kelli. Percy fights them off in the school band room, but Kelli bursts into flames and sets Percy up to look like the culprit. Percy and Rachel flee the scene and run into Annabeth who is waiting for Percy. After Rachel demands Percy call her to tell her about the immortal world, Annabeth tells Percy they have to return to Camp Half-Blood.
Percy arrives at Camp Half-Blood and meets Quintus the new sword instructor and his hellhound Mrs. O'Leary. Percy learns that Grover is in trouble with the Council of Cloven Elders for announcing that Pan awaits him. Grover only has a week to find Pan or his searcher's license will be revoked. That evening when Percy tries to sleep he receives an Iris message that shows Nico talking to the ghost king Minos. Minos tells Nico that he can get his sister Bianca back by exchanging a soul for a soul. Percy assumes Nico is going to come after him. The next day it is revealed that Luke's army has been exploring the Labyrinth. Annabeth suggests to Grover that he should go in the Labyrinth to find Pan. While Percy and Annabeth are partners for a camp challenge they find an entrance that leads to the Labyrinth. They determine that Luke is trying to find Daedalus' workshop in order to navigate through the Labyrinth and invade Camp Half-Blood. Annabeth is chosen to lead the quest to prevent Luke's army from finding Daedalus and visits the Oracle. Annabeth is not forthcoming about the entire prophecy and other campers are worried that the quest may be too dangerous. Nevertheless, Percy, Grover, and Tyson agree to go with Annabeth into the Labyrinth. Grover's girlfriend Juniper warns Percy to be wary of Quintus because she saw him surveying the Labyrinth entrance before they found out about it. When Quintus gives Percy a dog whistle to call for Mrs. O'Leary to help on his quest, Percy keeps Juniper's warning in mind. That night Percy has a vision of Kronos telling Luke that he will finally rise from Tartarus and destroy Camp Half-Blood.
Annabeth, Percy, Grover, and Tyson enter the Labyrinth the next morning. Early in their search they encounter the god Janus and Queen Hera who try to manipulate Annabeth into making decisions she's not ready to make. When they get further inside the Labyrinth they reach a large prison. In one of the cells is the legendary Briares, a Hundred-Handed One who is being tortured by a dragon monster named Kampe. They help Briares escape and Kampe tries to kill them, but Tyson risks his life to get them to safety. Tyson tries to encourage Briares to join them in their fight against the Titan's army, but Briares is too cowardly and flees. That night Percy has a vision of Daedalus and his son Icarus while he sleeps in the Labyrinth. He learns that Daedalus feels responsible for his son's death. Annabeth leads the group to a cattle ranch that a monster named Geryon is in charge of. Geryon captures Tyson, Grover and Annabeth. Percy makes a deal to clean his extremely filthy flesh-eating horses' stables so that Geryon would release them. Although Percy miraculously cleans the stables, Geryon reneges on the deal and Percy duels him to the death. Percy releases his friends and they go back to the Labyrinth. Annabeth has to be a contestant on a game show with a Sphinx and refuses to answer all the questions so they have to flee the room before the Sphinx kills them. The next place they reach is the god Hephaestus' work room. He agrees to help the quest members find Daedalus after they helped him figure out who has been trespassing on his forges in Mount St. Helens.
As they enter into Mount St. Helens Grover and Tyson split off to take a path that Grover believes will lead him to Pan. Percy and Annabeth continue into the volcano. They discover that monster creatures named telkhines are in the forges making a powerful Titan weapon. Percy causes the mountain to erupt as he uses all his strength to channel water to escape from the telkhines. The force is so great that he lands on a phantom island called Ogygia with Calypso. She restores him to health and falls in love with him. Percy begins to fall in love with her too, but he knows he has to return to the real world to finish his quest. Hephaestus visits Percy in Ogygia and tells him that he can navigate the Labyrinth with a mortal who can see through the Mist. Percy realizes he must ask Rachel Elizabeth Dare to guide them on the rest of the quest. After saying a painful goodbye to Calypso Percy returns to Camp Half-Blood where he sees the campers holding a memorial for him. Annabeth is crying and saying a farewell speech when she notices Percy is alive behind her. Chiron informs Percy that he was missing for two weeks so they assumed he did not survive the volcanic eruption. Percy tells Annabeth that they need a mortal guide to help them through the Labyrinth and she reluctantly agrees to hire Rachel to continue the quest. Rachel accepts their offer when Percy calls and tells them that there is an entrance to the Labyrinth in a hotel she works near. Rachel clearly sees the right path in the Labyrinth and effortlessly directs Percy and Annabeth through the maze until they are caught by the demon Kelli and two monsters.
Kelli leads them to an arena where Luke and his army are watching opponents battle each other to death on a center stage. Percy is forced to fight in the arena and battles a half-blood traitor named Ethan Nakamura, but he lets him live. Then Percy challenges Antaeus, a formidable evil son of Poseidon who is in charge of the arena, to fight him under the condition that if he wins then Antaeus would have to let Percy and his friends go free. Percy uses his mental acuity to defeat Antaeus, but Luke's army tries to kill him so he uses the dog whistle to call Mrs. O'Leary. The hellhound comes to the rescue and Rachel, Annabeth and Percy escape the arena. They reach Daedalus' workshop and are shocked to discover that the sword instructor Quintus is actually Daedalus in his fifth automaton body. Daedalus explains that he made a deal with Luke and Camp Half-Blood is doomed. While Annabeth and Percy are outraged, the demon Kelli enters the workshop holding Nico hostage and the ghost king Minos announces he'll finally have his revenge on Daedalus. Daedalus learns that he's been betrayed and sold over to Minos. As fighting breaks out, Annabeth, Percy, Rachel, and Nico use mechanical wings to fly out of the workshop. They take another entrance into the Labyrinth to get back to Camp Half-Blood. Percy sees a tunnel that leads to the Titan palace on Mount Othrys and follows it. When Percy enters the dark palace he reaches the golden coffin that he's seen in many of his visions. He is stunned to see Luke's body in the coffin. Kronos rises after Ethan Nakamura pledges his service to him. Percy can't fight Kronos because he is too strong. Rachel throws a hairbrush at Kronos to help Percy escape and Nico makes stalagmites to block the palace entrance after they run away. Annabeth weeps over the fact that Luke's body is possessed by Kronos.
On their way back to camp they find Grover and Tyson in front of the cave of Pan. They go inside and see Pan who is fading away. Pan tells Grover to announce to the satyrs that he is dead and that they must all carry on his work to save the wild. Pan blesses each of them except for Nico and passes on. After this they get back to New York City and Rachel says goodbye because she cannot go to Camp Half-Blood. Blackjack and his pegasi friends fly the others back to Camp Half-Blood. When they return to camp it is prepared for battle. Grover tells the Council that Pan is dead, but they do not believe him. Luke's army exits the Labyrinth into the camp and the battle begins. The campers fight with everything they have and keep the enemies at bay until Kampe comes out along with several giants. Annabeth and Percy try to fight Kampe, but they realize they're about to lose as Kampe surrounds them with her poisonous swords. Suddenly Briares, Daedalus, and Mrs. O' Leary exit the Labyrinth and join the campers side. Briares throws hundreds of boulders at Kampe and buries her alive. The battle ends when Grover roars with the spirit of Pan causing the enemies to flee. After they tend to the wounded Daedalus decides to pass on to end the Labyrinth which is tied to his life force. He leaves Mrs. O'Leary to Percy and his body disintegrates. The campers mourns the loss of fallen soldiers and recuperate over the next few days. The Council is outvoted by Chiron and Dionysus on Grover's verdict about the Pan story. Dionysus informs Percy that things are getting worse in the immortal world and that Kronos' army is getting larger and stronger. On Percy's 15th birthday Poseidon visits and tells Percy that many of the minor gods are joining Kronos and a war is coming. Nico shows up to Percy's birthday party and tells Percy that he knows how to beat Luke. Nico makes Percy an offer saying that if he's right "it's the only way you'll stand a chance."