Friday, February 26, 2010

REVIEW: The Last Olympian

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book 5)Riordan, R.  (2009).  Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian.  New York:  Hyperion Books.


381 pages

This will be the last Percy Jackson post.  I swear.  Because this is also the last Percy Jackson book.  *Tear*

So, who's seen the movie?  I'll admit I haven't gotten around to it yet.  So far, I've heard one very positive review and several predominantly negative ones.  What are your thoughts?

Appetizer:  Summer has returned and Percy and his friends are going on missions in preparation for the war between the Olympians and the reigning Greek gods that could begin any day.  Percy is enjoying the last days before his birthday with his friend Rachel before he goes on a journey to find the strength to be able to battle Luke.

With a number of lengthy battle scenes, romantic who-likes-who-now dramas and betrayals the final installment of the series can keep a reader reading (even though they have to get up in just five hours to teach).  Readers should feel satisfied by the end, having the questions and conflicts Riordan has been developing for four novels finally addressed and resolved.

Much of the content of this book describes the extensive battles that take place between the forces of good and evil in New York City.  EXTENSIVE!  Like Lord of the Rings lengthy with waiting for unlikely help to arrive at just the right moment.

So, throughout the series, Riordan has very intentionally separated the presence of the Greek gods throughout the series from the idea of religion.  However, that separation briefly broke down in this book.  At one point, while the characters are worried about the future of Western civilization, Poseidon advises Percy to pray that their plan works and Percy replies, "I am praying.  I'm talking to you, right?" (p. 311).  It just seemed strange to break down the separation between the realm of the Greek gods and religion at that point.

Dinner Conversation:

"The end of the world started when a pegasus landed on the hood of my car.
Up until then, I was having a great afternoon.  Technically I wasn't supposed to be driving because I wouldn't turn sixteen for another week, but my mom and my stepdad, Paul, took my friend Rachel and me to this private stretch of beach on the South Shore, and Paul let us borrow his Prius for a short spin" (p. 5).

"Time?" I asked.
He nodded grimly.
A clump formed in my throat.  I'd known this was coming.  We'd been planning for it for weeks, but I'd half hoped it would never happen" (p. 9).

"The gods were in the Midwest fighting a huge monster that had almost defeated them once more.  Poseidon was under siege and losing a war against the sea Titan Oceanus.  Kronos was still out there somewhere.  Olympus was virtually undefended.  The demigods of Camp Half-Blood were on our own with a spy in our midst.
Oh, and according to the ancient prophecy, I was going to die when I turned sixteen--which happened to be in five days, the exact same time Typhon was supposed to hit New York.  Almost forgot that" (pp. 61-62).

"Two archers ran by, chased by an angry Ares kid who was yelling in poetry:  "Curse me, eh?  I'll make you pay! / I don't want to rhyme all day!"
Annabeth sighed.  "Not that again.  Last time apollo cursed a cabin, it took a week for the rhyming couplets to wear off."
I shuddered.  Apollo was god of poetry as well as archery, and I'd heard him recite in person.  I'd almost rather get shot by an arrow" (p. 69).

"Annabeth came up to me.  She was dressed in black camouflage with her Celestial bronze knife strapped to her arm and her laptop bag slung over her shoulder--ready for stabbing or surfing the Internet, whichever came first" (p. 143).

"If you're heading downtown from Central Park, my advice is to take the subway.  Flying pigs are faster, but way more dangerous" (p. 250).

To Go with the Meal:

Since a portion of this novel draws attention to some of the lesser known Greek gods, a teacher can develop a lesson around them.

While there aren't any cliff-hangers, per se, students can plot out how they think future prophecies will play out in the Percy Jackson world.

Tasty Rating:  !!!!

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