The end of the Percy Jackson series, Percy Jackson and The Olympians – The Last Olympian is a fun and enjoyable read. It’s drenched in references and character growth that makes the series worth investing in. As much as I loved it though, there were still a few issues that could have made it the perfect end to the series.
The final book in the Percy Jackson series should be a culmination of everything Percy’s been working towards. The threat to Olympus and the modern world, the questions about his family and the gods, and the grand prophecy that had been plaguing him since the beginning of the series. Percy really comes into his own as a Greek hero and it’s a fun and exciting read to see how he handles what’s thrown at him. Now what surprised me was how the spotlight wasn’t really focus on Percy. It’s hard not to compare the series to Harry Potter considering it grew with its audience and became more mature as the books went on. But the difference is that a lot of attention is put on the supporting cast and developing their storylines and I loved it.
Rachel’s fate is an interesting take on a mythological tale that I didn’t know too much about but was happy to learn about it. It gives more reason to her being included in the series whereas before she felt almost more like a plot device than a character. Nico Di Angelo is someone I surprisingly warmed up to after learning more about his plight and what he’s trying to achieve. It gives an interesting character study to Hades which the western world often paints as the villain or Satan equivalent which was always inaccurate. What made me happiest was the development Annabeth received. My fear going into this book was seeing her relegated to a love interest and damsel in distress. Thankfully Riordan does her right and made her more of a complex character I was happy to see. Even Luke gains some amazing character development as the reader is led to understand who he is and why he did what he did. It makes him a compelling character…
Kronos is not a compelling villain at all. The past four books spend so much time describing how evil and powerful he is. But in the entirety of the series its hard to imagine him to be more than a mustache twirling villain that’s kind of just there. It’s a very unfortunate example of telling rather than showing that really destroys a lot of tension at throughout the final book. Whenever Kronos shows up, there’s never an example of his monstrous qualities or shrewd cunning which is ultimately disappointing. Again, making the Harry Potter equivalence, Kronos is very similar to Voldemort. The two were resurrected later in the series as the dark lords of their respective universes. But the major difference is that Voldemort did evil and terrible things when he came back. He proved that he deserves to be the villain of the Harry Potter universe, something that Kronos never did. Voldemort also had the benefit of having an interesting supporting cast of villains. Bellatrix LeStrange was a strange woman who was entertaining to see. Lucious Malfoy was that snide evil background character you always knew was evil. Kronos’ supporting cast was very meh in comparison, never really earning the reader’s interest.
Despite the lack of an intimidating villain, the story is still a fun and engaging end to the series. The pacing is good up until a part where it feels like non-stop fighting. It’s not bad and makes sense within the context of the story. But personally, I’m not the biggest fan of prolonged fighting sequences. Unless there’s some emotional weight to it or an impact to the character development and/or plot progression, it feels more like dragging the story. The motivations of the characters are clear, and it helps to establish why they do what they do. Their actions make sense and, unlike some examples in the previous books, there weren’t moments of out-of-character moments. The story is interesting, darker and more complex which leads to a satisfying ending.
North America really does feel like its on the verge of collapsing. The best part of this is that Riordan makes it feel like a Greek apocalypse drenched in mythological references. Everything that occurs is related to some monstrous force from Greek mythos that helps to establish that this is a Percy Jackson setting. I can’t give examples without spoiling things and I really don’t want to spoil the cool Greek references that come up as they’re well thought out. My only complaint, however, is that these awesome Greek references feel like they may be lost on those who aren’t familiar with the source material. There’s a moment where this big tough opponent comes in and it’s very much an “oh dang” moment but he’s not established in the earlier books and unless you know his myths, he’s kind of just there.
The best part of Riordan’s writing in the later books is that his chapter titles, while remaining childish, do not spoil the story anymore. In some cases, they even surprised me as I expected one thing and something completely different happened instead. It makes for a far better and enjoyable read though considering the darker and more mature themes of the later half of the series, the childish titles are a bit out of place.
The writing is easy to follow as the previous books and its fun to just read for hours as each chapter ends with you wanting to know what happens next. The hooks are subtle enough to keep the reader invested but still allow for jumping off points for readers who may want a break to read later. Cliff-hangers are hard to resist and sometimes its unsatisfying to have to put a book down if you want to keep reading but can’t.
What Writers can Learn from this Book.
I really enjoyed Percy Jackson and the Olympians – The Last Olympian and there’s very few things I could complain about. The only issue here, and it’s a big one depending on the reader, is the lack of reason for Kronos to create any tension when he appears. He’s referenced repeatedly in the previous novels and he’s hyped up to be the biggest bad in the Greek mythos, but it’s never shown. He leads an army because they supposedly fear him, however but it’s hard not to shrug at it. The reader is left to assume that he’s a strong villain but it’s only from other characters saying that he is. It’s not compelling and I would argue something all writers should consider when concluding a series with a villain who’s hyped up so much throughout the series.
Also, just a very small side note, I do not understand why the title was The Last Olympian. That might just be me though.