The Battle of the Labyrinth
|Cover artist||John Rocco|
|Series||Percy Jackson & the Olympians (bk 4)|
|Genre||Fantasy, Greek mythology, young-adult novel|
|Publisher||Hyperion Books for Children|
|6 May 2008 (US)
3 July 2008 (UK)
|Media type||Print (hardback), audiobook|
|LC Class||PZ7.R4829 Bat 2008|
|Preceded by||The Titan's Curse|
|Followed by||The Last Olympian|
The Battle of the Labyrinth is a 2008 fantasy-adventure novel based on Greek mythology; it is the fourth novel in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. Percy Jackson, a fictional demigod (who is fifteen years old by the end of the book) attempts to stop Luke Castellan and his army from invading Camp Half-Blood through Daedalus's labyrinth by trying to convince the inventor not to give Ariadne's string to Luke.
The Battle of the Labyrinth was published in the U.S. by Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint or division of Disney Publishing (succeeded by the Disney Hyperion imprint). It was released on 6 May 2008, in the US and Canada.
The book opens with Percy Jackson attending freshman orientation at Goode High School, where he sees Rachel Elizabeth Dare, who helps him to recognize and fight two empousai disguised as cheerleaders, Tammi and Kelli. Percy is forced to flee to Camp Half-Blood, while Rachel stays behind. On the way, Percy runs into Annabeth, who is annoyed to find him in the company of a mortal girl. When they reach camp, Percy learns Grover is in trouble from the Council of Cloven Elders for not having made progress finding the god Pan after claiming he felt Pan's presence in New Mexico that winter. Percy also encounters a middle-aged demigod named Quintus, who is the new sword instructor of Camp Half-Blood. Chiron describes the man as "hard to read", a description Percy agrees with.
During a competition organized by Quintus, Annabeth and Percy accidentally find an entrance into the Labyrinth. Chiron holds a council of war, and it is revealed that Annabeth and Clarisse have been working together under the suspicion that Luke plans to use this door as an invasion route. To do so, he will use Princess Ariadne’s magical string, which is assumed to be in the possession of the ancient inventor Daedalus. Annabeth is given leadership of the quest to stop him, and chooses Grover, Percy, and Tyson to accompany her. Chiron warns that three heroes is the traditional number for a quest, but Annabeth is shaken by her prophecy and insists. That night, Percy receives a collect Iris-message and learns that Nico plans to bring back his late sister by exchanging her soul for one who has cheated death. Percy fears Nico will come after him.
The next morning, the four start the quest. After an encounter with the minor god Janus, the questers encounter Hera, who offers to grant the questers a single wish. Annabeth wishes for a way to navigate the Labyrinth, but Hera tells her Percy already knows how. He has no idea what she means, and so the quest continues. Between their adventures, Percy also suffers from frequent nightmares about Daedalus, the Labyrinth, and King Minos, who is now "living" as a ghost advisor to Nico di Angelo. The quartet encounters the monster Kampê and her prisoner Briares; visits the ranch of Geryon, where they find Nico and commune with the deceased Bianca di Angelo; and meet with Hephaestus, after which they part ways. Tyson and Grover go to search for Pan, and Annabeth and Percy go to Mount St. Helens. At Hephaestus's mountain forge, Percy confronts some telkhines (who are reforging what is later learned to be Kronos's scythe) and is almost killed, but triggers an earthquake that shoots him out of the volcano.
When Percy awakens after the eruption he caused, he finds himself on the island of Ogygia, inhabited by Calypso, who is revealed to be a daughter of the Titan Atlas. Calypso tells Percy she is cursed to fall in love with heroes The Fates crash-land on her island, even though each of them must leave. After a visit from Hephaestus, Percy realizes that he must return home. When he finally returns to the mortal world, Percy finds the campers burning his shroud, believing he is dead. After emotional visits with Chiron, Annabeth, and his mother, Percy and Annabeth go to Manhattan to find Rachel Dare, who, being clear-sighted, is able to see the path through the Labyrinth. They are captured by Luke Castellan’s minions and Percy must fight Antaeus. After sparing the life of the demigod Ethan Nakamura, Percy kills the giant and escapes with the help of Quintus's ice-whistle, though he later learns that his killing Antaeus eliminated the last obstacle to Luke's conquest of the camp.
They eventually reach Daedalus’s workshop, where Quintus shows up and reveals that he is actually the ancient inventor, now a living automaton. Daedalus informs them that he scouted out Camp Half-Blood and, believing they could never withstand a Titan assault, consented to give Luke Ariadne's string as part of a deal with the Titans. Suddenly they are discovered by part of Luke’s army, Kelli and King Minos in the lead, with Nico di Angelo in chains. The questers learn Minos had been helping Nico find Daedalus so the inventor's soul could be exchanged to bring back the old king of Crete, not the late Bianca. The betrayed Daedalus and Nico fight with Annabeth and Percy to defeat the Titans, and the four teenagers escape while the inventor remains in the maze with his hellhound.
The quartet later discover the Titan fortress at Mount Othrys, where they learn that Luke has been somehow possessed by Kronos; Ethan Nakamura joins the Titans; and Nico di Angelo is forced to reveal his powers to stop Kronos. They run until they encounter Grover and Tyson, who are still searching for Pan. They follow a tunnel until they come the old god's resting place. Pan speaks to each of them, Nico excluded, and passes his spirit into each person present.
The group heads back to Camp Half-Blood, minus Rachel, and prepares to fight. The enemy army floods out of the Labyrinth, led by Kampê. Daedalus arrives as the tide begins to turn in the Titans' favor, bringing Mrs. O’Leary and a giant Briares. Briares kills Kampe, Grover rescues Camp Half-Blood by causing a Panic, and the remaining campers drive the enemy into a retreat. Nico helps Daedalus to pass on and thus destroy the Labyrinth, which is tied to his life force; the inventor gives Annabeth a laptop he salvaged from his workshop and leaves Mrs. O'Leary in the care of Percy. After a memorial service for the dead campers and Grover being banished by the Council of Elders for blasphemy, Percy leaves camp for the school year.
On his fifteenth birthday at the summer's end, Percy receives a visit from his father. Poseidon tells Percy of evil at work with Kronos now in Luke's body, and also gives him a sand dollar, admonishing him to “spend it wisely”. Nico later appears to tell him the secret to defeating Luke once and for all.
The prophecy given to Annabeth by the Oracle reads:
You shall delve in the darkness of the endless maze,
The dead, the traitor, and the lost one raise.
You shall rise or fall by the ghost king's hand,
The child of Athena's final stand.
Destroy with a hero's final breath,
And lose a love to worse than death.
- Percy, Annabeth, Tyson, and Grover go into the labyrinth to find Daedalus.
- The dead would be the ghosts Nico di Angelo raised; the traitor would be Ethan Nakamura; the lost one would be Pan.
- At first the ghost king was believed to be King Minos, the old enemy of Daedalus, but was later revealed to be Nico.
- The child of Athena was thought to be Annabeth but was revealed to be Quintus (Daedalus), who "raised" Camp Half-Blood through his destruction of the Labyrinth.
- Daedalus, whose life force was tied to the Labyrinth, gave his life to destroy the Labyrinth.
- Annabeth finally admits (to herself and Percy) that she loved Luke, and the "fate" was having Kronos possess Luke.
- Percy Jackson is the 15-year-old son of Poseidon. He is the series' narrator and protagonist. He joins Annabeth in her quest to go into the labyrinth to find Daedalus' workshop.
- Annabeth Chase is the 15-year-old daughter of Athena, and one of Percy's closest friends. She gets the quest to navigate the Labyrinth. Her feelings for Percy start to show but she is confused because of her lingering feelings towards Luke.
- Rachel Elizabeth Dare is a mortal who can see through the Mist. Her father is a wealthy businessman who buys the undeveloped land of the wild and builds developments upon it. Percy had previously met her at the Hoover Dam in The Titan's Curse, where she helped him get away from the undead warriors.
- Nico di Angelo is an 11-year-old son of Hades. Upset that his sister Bianca died, he is slightly unstable, and attempts to trade Daedalus' soul for that of Bianca. He has a sword made of Stygian iron. He also is out to get Percy.
- Luke Castellan is a 22-year-old son of Hermes and traitor to the Olympians. His body becomes possessed by the spirit of Kronos. He is the series' main antagonist.
- Grover Underwood is a satyr and Percy's best friend. His life's ambition is to find Pan, the lost god of the Wild. Grover, Tyson, Percy, Annabeth, Nico and Rachel find Pan inside Carlsbad Caverns along with some extinct animals. He gave all of them except Nico words of wisdom, and then died. When he died, his essence entered all of the characters' mouths (except Nico), meaning a piece of the wild remained in their hearts. He gave Grover the famous battle cry, Panic, which Grover used to scare off the intruders in Camp Half-Blood. The word Panic is named after Pan because in the Titan war he let out a horrible cry that drove all the monsters back to where they came from.
- Tyson is Percy's cyclops half-brother. He now works for his father in Poseidon's palace, under the oceans, in the Cyclopes' forge. Tyson enjoys forging, and nicknaming mythical creatures they come across. He joins Percy and his friends in the Labyrinth.
- Daedalus/Quintus was the creator of the Labyrinth and son of Athena, and has made a total of five automatons in order to cheat death. He becomes the new swordsman at Camp Half-Blood under the name Quintus, but only to see if Camp Half-Blood is worth saving. During the intrusion of Camp Half-Blood, he is stabbed, but instead of blood coming out of the wound, golden oil leaks from his automaton body. He has a murderer's mark on his neck (a partridge), a brand that appears on all of his bodies as a curse from Athena, because he killed his nephew, Perdix. He owns a hellhound named Mrs. O'Leary. After his death, he was assigned to build overpasses and bridges to help control traffic in the Underworld and according to Nico, he is happy with this job. Before he dies, he gives Annabeth a laptop containing all of the works he never had time to complete, as well as many of his ideas and theories.
The Battle of the Labyrinth received generally positive reviews. Publishers Weekly praised Riordan by saying, "One of Riordan's strengths is the wry interplay between the real and the surreal", and adding that "The wit, rousing swordplay and breakneck pace will once again keep kids hooked." Children's Literature said, "Riordan creates a masterful weaving of Greek mythology and traditional fantasy in this latest book in "The Olympians" series. Fans will enjoy the latest adventures of their favorite characters, and those picking the book up for the first time will have no trouble falling into this magical world." The website Kidsreads.com praised the book, saying "the story arc has remained unified and compelling." School Library Journal wrote that "[l]ike many series, the "Percy Jackson" books are beginning to show the strain of familiarity and repetition", before adding "However, the overarching story line remains compelling, and the cliff-hanger ending will leave readers breathless in anticipation of the fifth and final volume." Kirkus Reviews adjudged the book to be the best in the series and said, "The often-philosophical tale zips along with snappy dialogue, humor and thrilling action, culminating in a climactic battle between gods and Titans.” The Los Angeles Times gave a positive review, calling it "a glorious, no-holds-barred adventure with great plot twists, a melding of ancient and bionic technology and a cliffhanger ending that will have fans eagerly awaiting the fifth and final showdown between gods and monsters next year." It was first runner-up in the 2010 Indian Paintbrush Book Award.
The Battle of the Labyrinth was followed by The Last Olympian, the final book in the series, which was released 5 May 2009. In The Last Olympian, Percy and his friends defend Olympus from Kronos's army.
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