“The Last Olympian” by Rick Riordan

Back in 2016, I decided to take my time rereading Riordan’s Percy Jackson books. I’d enjoyed them when I first read them and was curious to know if I still would. I first read the books when I was in college. I wanted something light but similar to Harry Potter to read to break up the heavy texts I had to read for class. I was skeptical of the Percy Jackson books thinking they might be a rip off of Harry Potter and was pleasantly surprised to find that they weren’t.

I enjoyed the books back then and I still enjoy them now. However, I was worried at first because I read Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief by audio book and had such a horrible experience with it in that format that I wondered if the story had soured for me. It hadn’t. It was just that the narrator had done a horrible job. When I switched to the physical book to read the third book, Titan’s Curse, I quickly got swept up in the fun and adventure.

It took me almost three years to complete my reread because I took my time with it. There was no rush. I’d just pick up one of the books whenever I felt for something light and fun. I did so again in June this year after completing The Devourers by Indra Das, Tweak by Nic Sheff, and Becoming by Michelle Obama, all heavier, more serious reads. I needed something simple and light to cleanse my palate and The Last Olympian was just the thing.

Genre:

Middle-grade Fantasy

Series:

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, book 5

Pubbed:

May 2009

Quick summary:

It’s the finale…for now. Percy Jackson and his friends at Camp Half-Blood have a plan for taking out Luke/Kronos and his boat of baddies. Unfortunately, the plan doesn’t go off without a hitch and there was a fatality.

However, the plan helped to delay the boat of baddies a bit. While regrouping and mourning back at Camp Half-Blood, Percy hears the full prophesy, suspects something weird is going on with Rachel Dare, and gets a visit from Nico, who wants to take Percy down to the Underworld to kick off a potentially super dangerous plan that just might help Percy to save the world.

Percy goes with Nico, visits Luke’s mom, later learns that he was partly deceived, faces down Hades, and… I forgot what happens next (that’s what happens when I wait too long to review a book) but basically ends up in Manhattan, which is asleep (like everyone and thing is asleep) with everyone from Camp Half-Blood except the Ares cabin (because Clarisse’s pride was hurt) for a final battle against Luke/Kronos and their army of baddies, who are advancing on Manhattan to take Mount Olympus, a.k.a., the Empire State building.

While all that is going on, the gods are distracted elsewhere fighting a titan and… there’s something weird going on with Rachel Dare. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:

Yep, fun as always. It was exciting and absorbing and I could hardly break from it. I love the breakneck speed of the pace in these books, but I think the pace slows a bit with each successive book as more time is given to character development and even a bit of world building. The fast pace makes these books a quick read, and the crazy adventures add to the upbeat tempo of the story, which the fast pace emphasizes. I enjoy it.

In this one I liked that we get some backstory on the Oracle and how she became what she is. I love the backstory we get on Luke too, which adds some complexity to his character, and that we see what becomes of the children of minor gods. Love that Percy has the balls to ask the gods to take care of their responsibilities instead of having kids and not taking care of or protecting them.

The battles were exciting, but what interested me the most, of course, was how Riordan interjected humor in the story. The jokes are often corny, but I laugh anyway; like in this scene when the kids from the Apollo and Ares cabin get in a fight and the Apollo cabin curse the Ares cabin to make them always speak in rhymes. So an Ares kid chases an Apollo kid yelling in poetry:

“Curse me, eh? I’ll may you pay! / I don’t want to rhyme all day!”

Lol! It’s not that funny but it cracked me up. It makes sense that kids will fight, especially those descended from the Greek gods, and makes sense too that their fights would have such quirks.

I also like how Riordan mixes in pop culture:

“I know a few Nirvana tunes that can split rocks.”

— said Grover when Percy asked him to open a door to the Underworld.

And plays with Greek myths we often hear of, like Achilles and Patroclus’s relationship which is reflected in Clarisse and Selene’s relationship. I really liked that part of the story and Clarisse’s transformation following Selene’s expiration. (I would totally ship them, btw.)

Now that I’ve reread it, I can see the breadcrumbs leading to the Heroes of Olympus books. When I first read The Last Olympian, I thought it was the end, but now the end feels a little open-ended probably because I already know what’s coming next. Also, I didn’t realize that Gleeson Hedge was mentioned in this book. I liked that.

As always, I kept thinking that all the weird monsters are products of Riordan’s colorful imagination, but whenever I google them, like the Clazmonian Sow, I realize that it’s a creature from Greek mythology. I should know better by now — that the Greeks had a colorful imagination or believed in some crazy things or back in the day was a wild time with lots of weird-ass creatures roaming the world, or just Greece and its neighboring lands — but still I keep thinking that one of these days I’ll google a thing and realize it’s all a product of Riordan’s very active imagination.

Well, it was a good, fun story and wrap up for the series. I’m looking forward to rereading the Heroes of Olympus books next. They are my favorites of Riordan’s work.

Overall: ★★★★☆

It’s great. It’s fun. It’s worth the read.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

Unless you really enjoy these books and plan to reread them, they are such quick reads that you might as well just borrow a copy from the library.

13 thoughts on ““The Last Olympian” by Rick Riordan

  1. This is one of those series that I’ve always meant to read and still mean to check out some day. I actually picked them up used, found the entire set at goodwill one day. I just need to find a way to make time for them. Glad you enjoyed this one!

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  2. Agree with you on that! I read it only recently, but it’s a fun romp. While I’m not sold on the portrayal of the actual gods, I still think it’s pretty educational for people who had nothing to do with Greek mythology, as Riordan takes a lot of care to showcase its – admittedly strange sometimes – awe-inspiring beauty 😀

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