Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Last Olympian

Rick Riordan's new Percy Jackson book, The Last Olympian, came out on Tuesday, and I handed a copy to Walker, my 13-year-old, as soon as he was released from middle school at 2:45. Despite having to take care of his guinea pig and rush through a bit of homework, he had laughed his way through it before going to his soccer game at 5:45, and he had a big grin on his face afterwards. Here's his review:

The 5th and final book in the Percy Jackson series is The Last Olympian. I have liked all the books in the Percy Jackson so far, and this newest installment doesn’t disappoint. It’s not an amazing book, but rather it finishes the series correctly. Everything comes out just the way it should. I don’t want to reveal too much, but everyone who should be a couple gets paired up, and every stray character gets a role.

This book was a fitting ending for the series, but didn’t stick out by itself. However, it fits Rick Riordan’s writing style with humorous insights and thoughts the whole way through. For example, Dionysus playing Pac-Man while warning Percy of doom:
“’I pulled you into party time to deliver a warning. We are in danger.’
‘Gee,’ I said. ‘Never would’ve figured that out. Thanks.’
He glared at me and momentarily forgot his game. Pac-Man got eaten by the red ghost dude.
‘Erre es korakas, Blinky!’ Dionysus cursed. ‘I will have your soul!’
‘Um, he’s a video game character,’ I said.
‘That’s no excuse!’ And you’re ruining my game, Jorgenson!’
‘Whichever! Now listen, the situation is graver than you imagine. If Olympus falls, not only will the gods fade, but everything that is connected to our legacy will also begin to unravel. The very fabric of your puny little civilization—‘
The game played a song and Mr. D progressed to level 254.
‘Ha!’ he shouted. ‘Take that, you pixilated fiends!’”

After reading it, a bubble of contentment filled me, because the ending was just the way I wanted it to be. Although one could say the writing is not particularly deep, it has a whimsical, Harry Potter feel, which makes me feel happy.

All in all, this book is not a book to read if you haven’t read Rick Riordan’s other books, but to the 4.5 million readers out there, it fits the genre very well.
by Walker

To Walker's review, I would add that some of the humor in this book, as in all the previous ones, is exactly suited to the tastes of 9-14 year old boys, like this description of a fictional bad guy, a telkhine:
"He was about five feet tall, with slick black seal fur and stubby little feet. He had the head of a Doberman, but his clawed hands were almost human. He growled and muttered as he tapped on his keyboard. Maybe he was messaging his friends on"
Here's another example, for the slightly more sophisticated or well-read tween:
"I was afraid I'd miscalculated with the insults. What if they just blasted me without showing themselves? But these were New York river gods. I figured their instinct would be to get in my face."

As a reader, I liked the story; I read the book about as fast as Walker did. And as a mother, I thought it had its heart in the right place, as the last Olympian turns out to be Hestia, goddess of home and hearth. Percy's quest is to save the world, but he gets his mother's blessing beforehand, looks out for her during the battle, and lets her know that he's all right afterwards. Mighty satisfying for all ages.

1 comment:

Hugh said...

Walker --

The life of the critic is a sad and lonely one, but you have a great start here.