Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

I was so excited to get to the last book in this series. Percy Jackson's five books have proven to be an intelligent and entertaining read full of Greek mythology and young characters determined to keep the world safe. They only have their own demigod abilities and strength of character to sustain them and while it's not always enough, the sheer will of these demigods exceeds the expectations of their enemies as well as their parents.

This fifth book takes us to the final battle foretold in a prophecy about a child of one of the big three gods - Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. This demigod will have to make a decision that will determine whether Olympus falls or survives. We have no hints as to what this decision is going to be, but Percy, the son of Poseidon, internalizes the prophecy and decides that he just has to fight as much as he possibly can. He does everything to hone his skills and enhance his chance of defeating his enemies. He thinks he has to do it all on his own. Without giving away the final decision of the prophecy, the biggest lesson Percy learns is that it's not about how strong you are, but who you can depend on that really makes you a hero. His friends are imperative components in this battle and Percy would never get to the "decision" without the fight and support of those closest to him. Even his mom, a regular human jumps in when the time comes to do battle.

The theme of this book is trust. You see what happens when trust is threatened. You see what happens when trust is given even in uncertain terms. You see the reward of trusting your friends even when your brain is telling you to run off alone. It's a wonderful lesson for young readers to learn - that you aren't alone, that you can build important relationships through your actions, through trust. It's almost like a subliminal lesson since a younger reader would definitely be all caught up in the action of a very fast-paced book.

The series wraps up but it doesn't feel like it's over. I haven't ready up on the rest of Riordan's books, but I believe these demigods reappear in other series. I definitely would like to see more of Percy Jackson and his friends. It has been great to find a young adult series that's so engaging and fun and intelligent to read.

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