One of the most difficult tasks for any author whose work is based off a continuous series is writing a satisfying end, and it’s not as easy as it may seem *cough* Allegiant *cough*. But this book was nothing short of perfection in both a novel on its own and in closing the five part series.
The myth Riordan tackles is that of Achilles, who like our titular character gained invulnerability by bathing in the River Styx. But that isn’t where we draw the line for similarities between the two heroes. Like Achilles, Percy tied his mortal point to a very obscure part of his body and again like the former Percy decided it was wise to not place armour over that spot…
Anyway into the book… In probably the darkest book (thematically) in the series we see in my opinion the most humour, which credits Riordan’s writing ability in how he counters the dark with the light.
The book opens with Percy and Rachel Elizabeth Dare – yes I’m still writing her full name – holidaying only to be interrupted by Blackjack and Chalres Beckendorf. This will set the fast paced tone of the book given that in the opening we deal with the developing love triangle between Percy, Annabeth and Rachel Elizabeth Dare, as well as the heartbreaking death of Beckendorf only pages later. Given that we hadn’t seen much of Beckendorf leading up to this point in the series shows how well Riordan was able to not only write the scene but also create a connection between the audience and Percy that we find ourselves grieving with him. Unfortunately this isn’t the end of the death train… It was as if Rick had been waiting until the last book before he wanted to off half the camp… then again they were fighting a potentially world ending war so fair game to him.
Despite what I said above I actually found the morbidness (although extremely saddening – Selina Bauregard, Michael Yew etc) quite satisfying. So much of the series was focused on how dangerous it was to be a half-blood. Literally the first thing we’re told when opening the book is if you think you’re a half-blood forget about it. So it was good to see how real a threat it is to be a demigod.
The most satisfying part of The Last Olympian (TLO) is how well Riordan mangoes to tie up everyone’s character arcs. Percy was finally able to relieve himself of the responsibility (of saving everyone) he thought he had to carry on his own for the entire series. Annabeth forgave herself and Luke. Nico was able to move past the grudge he held against Percy and the Gods for his family’s death. And Luke let go of his wrath to stop Kronos. Notice a recurring theme here? Well go back to Sea of Monsters and think about fatal flaws. That’s right Riordan had the vision for his series right from the beginning!
This book excelled in comedic one liners – Percy asking for a kiss because of tradition, because why not? Tyson asking for a stick, or the blue brick birthday cake just to name a few. It really balanced out the overarching theme of bloodshed and war, keeping the characters true to their lighthearted selves.
I can’t finish the post without making mention of how TLO ends. Undoubtedly it is the most satisfying ending to any book series I’ve read. Not only do our heroes get a well deserved victory but we finally see an end to the love triangle that frustrated us throughout the entire book. Not only do we see Percy and Annabeth get together, but that leads us into “the best underwater kiss of all time.”
I don’t know how many times I’ve reread this series purely because this book alone and I feel that statement alone encapsulates how good TLO really is.
More of Rick Riordan
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Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Daughter of the Deep
The Lost Artefacts
If you like the Rick Riordan books then you’ll love The Lost Artefacts series.
Runner up in the 2021 TCK Publishing Reader’s Choice Awards!
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