Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
381 pages

The final book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is a wonderfully paced, satisfying conclusion to the epic children's fantasy series. In the first chapter Percy is hanging out with his friend Rachel Elizabeth Dare when his friend, demigod Charles Beckendorf, riding on the pegasus Blackjack, interrupts and announces that it is time for them to embark on the dangerous mission they had been planning for weeks. Percy tells Rachel goodbye and leaves with Charles on Blackjack. They fly to the Princess Andromeda, a stolen cruise ship Luke has been using for his monster army, where Kronos and his henchmen are sailing to New York. Percy and Charles land on board and head straight to the engine room to plant explosives. Percy leaves to distract a group of telkhines from entering the engine room. As Percy runs across the ship he fights a giant monster crab and reaches Kronos. Kronos announces that he'd been expecting Percy and reveals that there is a spy at Camp Half-Blood. Charles is captured by giants and tricks them into believing he didn't set the explosives. Although Percy tries to fight Kronos his attempts are futile. Charles tells Percy to jump off the ship and presses the detonator on his wrist. Shortly after Percy lands in the ocean the cruise ship explodes and Percy loses consciousness.

Percy is woken by his brother Tyson in Poseidon's underwater palace. Tyson tells Percy that he did not find Charles and Percy realizes that Charles sacrificed himself to take down the ship of monsters. Tyson takes Percy to Poseidon who informs Percy that the war against the Titan Oceanus is not going well and he is exhausting all his resources. Percy wants to stay and help his dad fight, but Poseidon commands Percy to return to Camp Half-Blood and tell Chiron it is time for him to hear "The Great Prophecy" in its entirety. When Percy returns to Camp everyone is distraught over the news about Charles, especially his girlfriend Silena Beauregard. Annabeth leads Percy into the attic to show him "The Great Prophecy" from a slip of paper in a pouch on the Oracle's neck. When he reads the prophecy in front of the campers, he is dismayed that it reveals a single choice will lead to the end of his days. Chiron shows Percy that all the gods of Olympus are fighting the formidable monster Typhon. Percy is disturbed by the thought of no one guarding Olympus, but Chiron states that if Typhon reaches New York it won't matter if anyone defends Mount Olympus. The war council is chaotic because Clarisse is angry that the Apollo cabin took a flying chariot from her cabin in a previous battle. The next day Annabeth calls Percy a coward after he asks her for advice about their next strategy to fight Kronos. Percy goes to visit Mrs. O'Leary and they take a walk in the woods. There Percy sees the overweight satyr, Council Elder Leneus, and forcefully asks him to help him find Grover, who Percy hasn't been able to contact in months. Leneus runs away saying that Grover will die an outcast. Nico Di Angelo, who witnesses the scene asks Percy if he's ready to do what he suggested to him on his fifteenth birthday. Percy is reluctant, but then agrees when he thinks about what is going on at camp. Percy uses Mrs. O'Leary to shadow travel to Connecticut for the first part of their task.

When Percy, Mrs. O'Leary, and Nico arrive at Connecticut they are near the home of May Castellan, Luke's mother. Percy and Nico enter her home and discover that Luke's mother is an insane woman who thinks Luke is going to come home and makes sandwiches for him every day. She mistakes Percy for Luke and Percy plays along. Nico confirms that Luke received his mother's blessing before he did what Percy has agreed to do also. They leave May Castellan's home and go to Percy's mother's apartment in New York. She gives Percy her blessing to carry out Nico's plan, but she asks for a sign to know that he is okay when the war with Kronos is over. Percy promises to give her a blue sign to show he is safe. Nico then leads Percy to the Underworld entrance in New York City. Percy finds Grover who has been sleeping in Central Park for two months. He told Percy that Morpheus, the God of Dreams, knocked him out. Grover plays his reed pipes to open the Door of Orpheus to the Underworld for Nico, Percy, and Mrs. O'Leary. Grover goes to rally the nature spirits in the park to prepare for the battle against Kronos. When Percy reaches the River Styx Nico tells Percy they need to go to Hades' palace first. Percy realizes that Nico tricked him into going to Hades, who imprisons him. Nico claims that he didn't know what Hades was going to do when he rescues Percy from his prison, only that he was trying to get information about his family and that Hades wanted to see Percy in exchange. Mrs. O'Leary takes them back to the River Styx and Percy is warned by the ghost of Achilles not to go in the river like he warned Luke before him. Percy goes into the river and feels like he is burning and drowning. He is about to succumb when he imagines Annabeth helping him to reach the surface again. When Percy emerges from the river with the power of invincibility Nico is surprised. Hades arrives with an army of skeletons. Percy fights and swiftly destroys all of them and pins Hades to the ground. He demands to know what the trap is that Kronos is planning, but Hades disappears. Percy tells Nico to stay in the Underworld and convince his dad to fight against Kronos. Percy arranges for all the demigods at Camp Half-Blood, except for the Ares cabin, to meet him downtown in Manhattan to prepare for the battle to defend Mount Olympus.

The campers go to the Empire State Building and reach Olympus by taking the elevator to the 600th floor. Hermes delivers a message to Annabeth saying that her mother Athena told her to use plan twenty three, one of Daedalus' inventions. Percy receives a vision from Hestia, the Goddess of the Hearth--who he met earlier outside of May Castellan's house, about Luke's earlier days when he first met Annabeth. She tells Percy that she must understand Luke's family to face him in battle. After Hermes leaves the campers learn that Morpheus has put every mortal in Manhattan to sleep. They observe that demons and monsters are beginning to invade Manhattan through bridges and tunnels and rivers. Percy assigns each of the cabins a bridge or tunnel to defend while he goes to defend the rivers. Thalia and the Hunters of Artemis arrive in time to fight at the Lincoln tunnel, which was unguarded. Percy and Annabeth drive around Manhattan on a borrowed motor scooter and activate a statue that is actually an automaton that Daedalus manufactured to defend Manhattan in plan twenty-three. The statue Annabeth wakes up goes to activate the other statues in Manhattan. Percy goes underwater in the New York Harbor and antagonizes two New York river gods. He offers them both half of a sand dollar if they sink the enemy boats that are coming to Manhattan. The river gods take the money and sink the boats. Annabeth tells Percy that the Apollo cabin needs help at Williamsburg Bridge where they are facing an army led by the Minotaur Percy killed four years ago on his way to Camp Half-Blood for the first time. Percy calls Blackjack who flies him and Annabeth to the bridge.

Percy uses his invincibility and super strength to defeat the Minotaur and most of his monster army, while the remaining monsters fled. The victory is brief as Kronos approaches with a new enemy force. The Apollo cabin, Percy, and Annabeth attempt to retreat, but are caught in battle. Ethan Nakamura injures Annabeth when she blocks him from stabbing Percy. Blackjack carries Annabeth away quickly before Kronos can use her to force Percy to surrender. Percy and Kronos exchange blows and Percy creates a chasm in the bridge after Kronos cracks it with his scythe. Kronos withdraws and says "Until this evening, Jackson." Percy goes to the Plaza Hotel to check on Annabeth who is getting treated for her wound. Silena decides to go back to camp to convince Clarisse and the Ares cabin to join the battle. After the surviving campers and Hunters rest they get back into action when a new army led by the Titan Hyperion march through Central Park. Percy uses his water powers to create a hurricane around him and subdue Hyperion until he is trapped in roots and ensconced inside a maple tree created by the woodland magic of the satyrs. Shortly afterwards a monstrous pig, The Clazmonian Sow, is unleashed and threats to destroy everything in its path. Percy tells Grover to keep the troops fighting and retreat if necessary while he takes on the pig. He latches onto the pig with a grappling hook and it flies around Manhattan. Percy manages to attach a Hermes statue to the Sow midflight and Blackjack swoops in to catch Percy as he falls from the hook. Percy activates the Hermes statue and commands two lions in front of the public library to kill the pig. After the statues destroy the Clazmonian Sow Percy returns to his friends to help them battle the rest of the monsters. After over an hour of fighting the demigods and Hunters defenses weaken and are soon surrounded by Kronos and his army. Suddenly Chiron and hundreds of centaurs arrive and attack the enemies in an onslaught that causes Kronos' army to retreat.

Rachel Elizabeth Dares arrives from her vacation after convincing her Dad to let her leave because of a dangerous vision she has. When her helicopter arrives in Manhattan the pilot falls asleep from the enchantment and Annabeth rides a pegasus to prevent the helicopter from crashing. After Annabeth lands the helicopter to safety, Rachel tells Percy that she had to warn him. In her visions she received a message that said "Perseus, you are not the hero." Percy gets frustrated and asks Chiron to speak to Rachel about her ability because it reminds him of Luke's mother May Castellan who went insane after attempting to receive the spirit from the Oracle of Delphi, not knowing Hades cursed her. Percy has a dream the Kronos is going to attack them again right away and he warns Chiron and his troops. They realize that their numbers are dwindled considerably when a drakon comes to attack. Percy, Annabeth, and Mrs. O'Leary fight the drakon until the Ares cabin arrives. Silena tricked the Ares cabin into fighting with her by pretending she was Clarisse. The drakon shoots her with poison and fatally wounds her. The real Clarisse comes in a flying chariot and is so infuriated by Silena's condition that she takes down the drakon by herself. As Silena is dying she discloses that she was the spy and that Luke deceived her saying he would keep Charles safe. Percy, Grover, and Annabeth go to Olympus and Percy sits on his father's throne and asks him to join the gods in their fight against Typhon once they reach New York. Poseidon reluctantly agrees. Kronos army advances again, but this time Hades and an Underworld army have come to fight due to Nico's persuasion. Kronos seals himself inside the Empire State Building and leaves the battle to destroy the gods' seats of power in Olympus. 

When Percy, Annabeth, and Grover reach the throne room, Kronos has already destroyed much of Mount Olympus. Percy fights Kronos, but he is overwhelmed. Kronos tells Percy that he's about to win the war and shows an image of Typhon arriving in New York. Kronos is shocked to see Poseidon and his army of Cyclopes emerge from the sea and beat Typhon down into Tartarus with the rest of the gods. Percy and Kronos fight, then Annabeth intervenes and talks to Luke inside of Kronos' body. She appeals to Luke to remember his promise about family, and Luke regains control of his body. He tells Percy to let him defeat Kronos by using his own blade. Percy chooses to hand the blade that Annabeth gave him to Luke, who then stabs himself in his weak spot. Kronos is expelled from Luke's body, and Luke dies shortly after he asks Percy to make sure demigod children do not go unclaimed. The gods return to Olympus and repair the throne room. Zeus makes a blue sign for Percy's mother over the Empire State Building. The surviving campers and Hunters are medically treated. Dionysus rewards Grover by making him a member of the Council of Cloven Elders. Athena names Annabeth the official architect of the rebuilding of Olympus. Zeus offers Percy one gift from the gods, the chance to become a god. Percy turns down the offer and instead makes them swear on the River Styx that they will claim all their children from now on and acknowledge the children of minor gods as well. The gods agree and the demigods leave Olympus and return to Camp Half-Blood. At camp they learn that Rachel is destined to be the next Oracle of Delphi. She is allowed to take the spirit because Hades curse is lifted. Chiron is recuperating from his injuries while the campers burn shrouds for their fellow fallen campers. Percy tries to explain to Annabeth his feelings for her and she laughs and kisses him. Clarisse interrupts them and other campers carry them off to throw them in the lake. Over the last few weeks of summer the campers build new cabins, including one for Hades, for all the new claimed demigods. Chiron remarks that a lot of great changes are being made at Camp Half-Blood. Percy packs up to attend Goode High School for sophomore year, the first time he's going to attend the same school for consecutive years. Annabeth is going to stay in New York to work on the architecture for Olympus. Although they worry a bit about Rachel's first prophecy, they leave camp feeling happier than they ever have before.

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