Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth is the fourth, and penultimate book in the best selling Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.
Percy is a young man who finds out that he is actually a half blood: half man, half god. His father is Poseidon, which means that Percy possesses uncanny abilities to command the waters and can speak to fish, amongst other things.
In the first book; Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Percy finds himself at Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for the children of the gods. He learns that Greek myths are alive and well, and mostly living in America. The books see him sent on a series of quests to save the world, and Olympus, from the evil powers of Kronos, the lord of the Titans, who has risen from Tartarus and is building an army to crush the Olympians once and for all.
Each book consists of a stand alone quest, but each quest forms part of the overarching plot of the rise of Kronos and the Olympians battle to save the world. In this book, Percy and his friends Annabeth, Grover and Tyson, battle their way through the terrifying and madness inducing labyrinth, once home to the minotaur, now spreading under the skin of the earth, growing and learning with every new incarnation. Their quest is to try and find Ariadne’s string, to help them navigate safely through the labyrinth and beat Kronos’s army, who are trying to make their way to camp Half Blood to wipe out all the heroes before they take over Olympus.
The book is a rip roaring adventure story with action on every page. There is never a dull moment in a Percy Jackson book, and they are the true definition of a page turner. The characters grow and mature as the series advances and you find yourself caring even more deeply about them in this adventure, as Riordan adds detail after detail to the overarching story, making the mythological world he creates even richer.
The book is suitable for children aged ten and up, although they are very violent in places, and Riordan is not afraid to include the death of characters you care about, so if your child is a little squeamish, you might want to wait until they’re 12 or 13. They are suitable for both girls and boys, although clearly marketed more at boys. My daughters love the books, and there are strong female characters in there who are as good as any boy, and as the books progress they really do become more of an ensemble piece than having Percy as the stand out hero. It’s one of the things that’s so good about them, along with Riordan’s wicked sense of humour and the imagination which allows him to blend classical mythology and modern culture so seamlessly.