24 July 2010

Book Review: The Last Olympian

Title: The Last Olympian
Author:  Rick Riordan
Publisher:  Hyperion Books
Release Date:  5 May 2009
Date Finished: 23 July 2010

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, 101 Fantasy Reading Challenge, YA Reading Challenge, Hogwarts Reading Challenge,

My reviews of The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, and The Battle of the Labyrinth.

The Short and Sweet of It
The final installment of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series portrays the final battle between Percy et. al. and Kronos et. al. Teeming with gods, monsters, Titans, heroes, magic, and action, The Last Olympian was a wonderful end to a wonderful series.

A Bit of a Ramble
I finally read it. I didn't want to. I really didn't want to. When reading a series I truly enjoy, I have a great deal of difficulty picking up the last book for the obvious reason: I don't want it to end.  I know once I read the last book, my time spent with characters I've fallen in love with in a world that fascinates me will be over, and my experience with the books will never be the same even if I re-read them over and over again.  The last book is a love song at a funeral, bittersweet.  Okay, enough of my mushiness and on to the meat of the matter.

Unlike many "final battle" books, The Last Olympian doesn't save the big fight scene for the end; instead, almost the entire book deals with the epic battle. I loved this. By filling the book with the battle, Riordan lent import and authenticity to the event. Far from feeling like a fleeting culmination of prior events, this battle felt like the main event. The battle was a marathon, not a sprint, which for some reason made it more real for me and increased the battle's importance.  Of course, it also allowed Riordan to include some amazing fight scenes, awesome monsters, and even more ancient myths, legends, and heroes.

And the best part : IT'S NOT A FREAKING LOVE STORY. A few days ago on Twitter, I was talking with Pam from Bookalicious and Amanda from The Zen Leaf about Suzanne Collins' Gregor the Overlander series. Just like the Percy series, the Gregor series is full of action and excitement, and leaves romance on the back burner. The love story is there, but it is secondary to the main action.  I have to admit that this is how I prefer my YAL.  When the love story is too prominent, I'm annoyed.  As strange as it may sound, I have a much easier time suspending my disbelief for the supernatural than I do for the tragically romantic.  Flying horses, demigods, werewolves, vampires, and psychic abilities are much easier for me to stomach than desperate glances, doomed lovers, painful longing, and violent passion.

As with any book, The Last Olympian isn't perfect.  First and foremost, I was a bit put off by Percy's decision to bathe in the River Styx; it seemed like a cop out, taking the easy way out, and other cliches that convey the same idea. When he was standing by the river with Nico, I kept thinking that he was being tested, and when he actually jumped in despite Achilles' warning, Percy himself diminished a bit in my eyes. Alas, what can I do? It happened. Deal with it. Or better yet, I can just ignore it since I'm in control of the story that resides in my brain.

I would highly recommend this series to anyone looking for a clever, action-packed, easy read. And I would especially recommend it for those who need a break from the I-would-slit-my-wrists-to-be-with-you love stories that permeate YAL.

The Filmic Connection
Please let them continue the Percy Jackson movies. Pwetty Pwetty Please.

This Book Around the Web
If I've missed your review, let me know!

Becky's Book Reviews; The Zen Leaf; Today's Adventure; Bookalicious;

Question:  How do you cope with the end of a series you loved?


  1. This is the first book where I felt like Percy actually started acting his age, except for the first one where he actually is 12. In my eyes, he's 12 all the way up until he bathes in that river, where suddenly he decides to act like the sixteen year old that he is. That was my only issue with the series, really, is that he never ages in personality. It's too unbelievable for me.

    Of all the sequels, this is the one I like the most, though.

  2. I am interested in this series, but I'm not sure I want to read a book that's basically a battle the whole way through.

  3. I THOUGHT my son was going to read the series. He seemed interested. But he is pretty bad at reading print. We are struggling a bit with LOTR on audio, to the point where I'm not sure we'll make it through. I'm thinking this might be a good series to try...

  4. Amanda - I can see your point about Percy's maturation. He does feel young for most of the series.

    Kathy - I don't want to mislead about the battle. There are periods of down time during it; I think that's what I meant by finding it more realistic.

    Sandy - LotR on audio sounds tough. Tolkien felt a need to describe every vein on every leaf in every tree. That could be hard to listen to.

  5. I have no idea why I keep ignoring this series. It sounds just like my kind of thing.

  6. I agree with you ... if you are going to have an epic battle between good and bad, it should be epic and dominate the final book!

    I'm going to have read this at some point.

  7. Ana - I thought the series was a really fun read.

    Jenners - Exactly! And yes you should.

  8. It's definitely refreshing to read YA fantasy novels that aren't about romance. And for my pre-pubescent son -- who thinks anything reeking of sex or romance is too icky to be endured -- it's practically a necessity. ;-)

  9. My daughter is ready to read this one, I'm behind by a couple of books (so many books, so little time).

    I don't mind the romance in my YA books, but I see and appreciate your point there.

    I'm glad that the series ended on a good note, and I'm with you on the movie :-).

  10. Stephanie - I have to admit that YA romance is a bit icky so your son and I agree. :)

    Laura - Every now and then I like a bit of romance, but I definitely need a break from time to time.

  11. this book completely BLEW ME AWAY!!! It has everything: romance, action, suspense. I love how Percy and Annabeth fall in love at the end. You can really tell that the characters have matured a lot and it makes me want to start at the beginning all over again. So basically I LOVED the book and I think it was the best book in the series BY FAR!!! I am really going to miss this series a lot!!!!!!!


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