I've been reading through the Percy Jackson series with my kids as their bedtime reading for the last year+. There have been times where I've wanted to skip ahead but I've forced myself to let myself be surprised/anxious/excited right along with them. As we read the Last Olympian, it became even harder for me to not read ahead.
Speaking of personal difficulties, I had a hard time deciding how to review this book...I debated whether to stay "high level" and talk in generalities or to dig deep and reveal potential spoilers. I finally decided to stay kind of high level since I think it's more fun to stumble on the revelations through reading rather than through a review. Don't let the high level review make you think this book was missing the detail and depth of the previous novels. In some ways the plot was a little less complex than previous books...but in other ways it was a little more engaging.
The Percy Jackson series spanned 5 books. In each of the previous books we were given a single stand-alone adventure that Percy and his friends had to take on. In the background of each book, there were always a couple of parallel storylines going on which were intriguing and fun to follow. Behind all of the books, there was the story of a "Great Prophecy" that basically suggested that Percy, on his 16th birthday, would be part of a decision that would make or break the existence of Olympus and the Gods. In the Last Olympian, we're thrown neck deep into the war that's at the crux of the Great Prophecy.
Right from the onset of the book, we are thrown into some serious action and tension alongside Percy. The immediate danger, disaster and intrigue sets adrenaline and emotion at high levels early on. And for most of the book, the story doesn't let down on that intensity. There are moments of "downtime" where the characters are talking about the situation, investigating leads, or planning for future battles, but the large majority of this final book is action, Action, ACTION.
In addition to the main battle and the unraveling of the Great Prophecy a number of other loose threads and subplots are resolved over the course of this book. Some interesting new revelations are given that shed light on previous 'back burner' topics. There's also an interesting resolution to the potential "love triangle" that's been created through the last couple of books in the series.
I really enjoyed the fast paced almost non-stop-action ride in this conclusion to the series. As in many conclusions, the final wrap up to me felt a little anti-climactic and even a little forced in some points. But generally I was very pleased with the way this series wrapped itself up and I really enjoyed the overall story and the tension of the conclusion.
If you're just starting into the world of Percy Jackson and you're enjoying it at all, I definitely recommend you push through and read the entire series. The reading level and general content stays at the same level throughout the series which is a good advantage in a kid's series since you don't have to wait for the kids to mature before going on to future books. The final book does take on Percy's adolescence a little bit with peripheral references to romance but nothing over-the-top or off-putting to young readers.
Overall, I really enjoyed the series. It's not without its flaws, but it's definitely a lot of fun. We've already jumped headlong into the next Riordan book in the Olympian world....The Lost Hero....and I'm looking forward to seeing how Percy and friends have evolved.
4 out of 5 stars
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