The Battle of the Labyrinth is the fourth of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, following after The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, and The Titan’s Curse. For those readers who have been off the grid for years, Percy Jackson is the half-mortal son of Poseidon, Greek God of the Sea, who has been training at Camp Half-Blood for years to confront the ominous Kronos and his Titans; a group of divine beings determined to avenge their ancient defeat and destroy the Olympian gods.
Like several books in the series, this one begins with Seaweed Brain (a.k.a. Percy) attending yet another new school; one that he is determined he will not get kicked out of. Unfortunately, for all his good intentions, Percy seems to attract trouble, and so as soon as he enters the doors of the establishment, monsters (This time cute, peppy and man-eating cheerleader variety) attack him.
After a fight, the accidental burning of a school classroom, and the reintroduction of a mortal girl named Rachel Elizabeth Dare, who just happens to have the ability to see through the Mist (You know, the divine cloud that hides gods and monsters from mortal perception), Percy decides to head back to Camp Half-Blood. I mean, it has to be safer than regular school, right?
Once there, Percy finds that it isn’t, because there are issues looming large in the land of demigods, satyrs and nymphs. Grover, the satyr with the most, is an emotional wreck, because his dream of finding the lost god Pan might be taken away from him. Annabeth, daughter of Athena and Percy’s best friends who is a girl, seems to be extremely irritated with him and acting oddly. And then there is Nico di Angelo, the more than a little emo son of Hades, who is out and about in the underworld trying to resurrect his dead sister in exchange for another, living soul – preferably Percy’s. And guess what? Those are the not so bad things going on at camp, because the danger of Kronos is almost overwhelming, as it has become obvious that his followers are planning to attack Camp Half-Blood!
So what do you do if you are a bunch of teenage demigods waiting around for an all-powerful being to attack you camp? What else: you go on an epic quest.
So like old times, Annabeth is assigned a quest (This time a trip through the perilous and ever-changing Labyrinth of Daedalus) with her best buds Percy, Grover and Percy’s Cyclops half-brother, Tyson, tagging along. The fun, fights, growing up and general adventures follow thereafter.
Without a doubt, The Battle of the Labyrinth is Percy Jackson’s most action-packed book yet, filled with monsters, gods, demigods, and battles. It succeeds in being fun as well as poignant with real danger, real horror, and real death entering the lives of our teenage heroes. But more than that, it does a great job of building up excitement for the next book, never letting a reader forget that in The Last Olympian the final battle of the gods will occur and – according to a prophecy – either Percy or Nico di Angelo will make a decision that either destroys or saves Olympus!