Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Review - The Last Olympian

Original Title: The Last Olympian
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: March the 9th, 2009

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Books

THE FOLLOWING REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Oh, my. What an ending! You know, with this book, I did what I always do with the great stories I have the good luck to find. I leave them for days, but not because they are bad, but because I don’t want to finish them. With The Last Olympian, I read wanting to know what would happen, but at the same time, not wanting to reach the ending, or I’d have to say goodbye to Percy, Annabeth, Grover and the rest of Camp Half-Blood. Something amazing happened to me with this book (and also with the rest of the saga), and I can only attribute it to Rick Riordan’s great talent. He wrote the dialogues in such way, and I was so into the stories, that I could actually imagine the voices of the characters in my head, with their emotions and tones, like I was actually there. Titans, satyrs, demigods... All of them speaking with their own voices, and that can only be accomplished by a true writer. I don’t know how he did it, but it was a truly magical experience that sent shivers down my spine, especially when Poseidon and his army came to save the day. My applause!

The battle of Manhattan was... I don’t have enough words for it, because “epic” isn’t enough. I was there, the whole time, fighting with Percy, holding back monsters, riding pegasi, sword fighting... It was just amazing. I don’t mean to go into detail, because you need to read the book to know how wonderful it is, but I do want, however, mention a few things. First of all, the blending of ancient Greek mythology with the 21st century is flawlessly written, just like in the other books; in this case, the most remarkable reference is the one to the Trojan War. Silena and Clarisse are much like Achilles and Patroclus in the Iliad. Just look: Patroclus/Silena wears Achilles’/Clarisse’s armor to take the Myrmidons/the Ares cabin into battle. Then, Hector/the drakon kills Patroclus/Silena in the battlefield, dying later at the angry hands of Achilles/Clarisse, and their bodies are dragged behind their chariots in front of the enemy lines. It is really well done! 

I have to admit that the truth about Silena really took me by surprise, but then I thought that I should have seen it coming. The poor girl... She never got over Charles’ death, but at least they both gave their lives as true heros; I was sorry to see them gone, even when I don’t really symphatize with the Aphrodite cabin. They are the only demigods I don’t quite like (but I don’t like their mother, either, so I guess that’s where it comes from). Oh, and I laughed so much! Like with the mother-daughter moments between Demeter and Persephone, but mostly, when the Apollo cabin cursed the Ares kids, forcing them to talk in poetry. I just cracked up, when the Ares kid couldn’t but rhyme all the insults towards Michael Yew! Moreover, I remember it now, and I can’t help laughing again! 

But, well, back to Percy. I already loved him, but in this book, I love him even more. He really outdid himself in this book. He rejected immortality to give some importance to the minor gods, and finally give other demigods a chance to know who they were, and forced them to fullfil their duty to their children; they may not have intented to have them, but they did, so now, they had to claim them and give them an identity; after all, it isn’t the poor demigod’s fault if his/her godly parent couldn’t resist the charms of a mere human. But still, Percy is my hero, and if I could love him even more, I do now, thanks to his completely selfless request, making the gods swear on the River Styx. And through that, it is possible to see, clearer than ever, that the Olympian gods are powerful (very), but they are not perfect. They exist through human nature, and represent the best and the worst in it; although they consider themselves superior, they are not different from us. They are not free from mistakes. They symbolize what man can do, create, build, imagine and think. They can be artists, philosophers, warriors, and sovereigns. But they need humans, because for them, they exist. Otherwise, they would fade. There’s a reason why they are not the guardians of hope, because only humans can fully understand it. Just like Dyonisus and Chiron say, they need the heroes, because they carry the hope of humanity into the realm of the eternal. And here a “mere mortal” (as they call them) had to teach them about responsability, no less!

A hero’s death is never in vain. Or at least, it shouldn’t. Among the things this book teaches is that you can be a hero if you choose to be, and your decisions are actually what define you, not your blood. Fear can make you do terrible things, but also love, as it takes your fear away and takes you down paths that, perhaps, you never thought you would ever take. The prophecy loomed over our heros as an evil omen, and although it mentioned the actions of a hero, it actually referred to three of them. The decisions of three demigods, in one, critical moment, sealed the fate of humanity, as none of them could fulfill their destiny without each other. But mostly, those heroes prove that your greatest strenght can lie where you least expect it; your greatest weakness can save you, and become your anchor to the world. In the end, Luke surprised me, but he earned my respect, becoming the hero he always could be, in despite of his terrible backstory. By the way, I loved the fact that we could get to know a lot more about his past (along with Annabeth's and Thalia's), and most of all, about Nico and Bianca di Angelo. One of the things I wanted to know the most was about what woman could possibly enchant the Lord of Death like that, and although there’s not a lot of details about it, we get to know what we need to and no more. Also, I grew to like Rachel Elizabeth Dare (yes, you say her full name), and even when I guessed her gift, I didn’t think she could end up like that. But I was glad she could find her destiny, along with the demigods.

So, in short, this saga is amazing, and I’m already planning to read more by Rick Riordan. It has to be great for me to give 5 stars. I’m so glad I could catch the movie that lazy Sunday afternoon, because, otherwise, I would never have decided to read this amazing saga that I’ll never forget. Every fantasy lover should read it, and now, I’ll count it among my favorites! 

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