Percy Jackson's fourth adventure starts off, as usual, at a new school and with a bang: while doing battle with some vampiric cheerleaders (who happen to be servants of Hecate), he accidentally sets the school on fire. He also discovers that one of his new classmates is none other than the girl he met at the Hoover Dam -- Rachel Elizabeth Dare, a mortal who can see through the Mist.
Back at Camp Half-Blood, Percy discovers Luke's new eeeevil plan: use Daedalus' Labyrinth to circumvent Camp Half-Blood's defenses. This plan, of course, requires a way of navigating the Labyrinth, which is constantly changing, constantly growing, and so massive that there are entrances across the entire United States. And so the race is on to find Daedalus, who has Ariadne's string.
- Grover is still looking for Pan, and is in danger of being stripped of his searcher's license.
- The last camper who went into the Labyrinth went crazy.
- Annabeth received an extremely ominous message from the Oracle.
- The son of Hades has it in for Percy.
As usual, it made me laugh, both due to simple description:
A marching band played an out-of-tune fight song that sounded like somebody hitting a bag of cats with a metal baseball bat.
He was a huge guy with stark white hair, a straw cowboy hat, and a braided white beard--kind of like Father Time, if Father Time went redneck and got totally jacked.
and due to Percy's commentary:
Now, as far as I knew, he was still sailing around on his demon-infested cruise ship while his chopped-up Lord Kronos re-formed, bit by bit, in a golden sarcophagus, biding his time until he had enough power to challenge the Olympian gods. In demigod-speak, we call this a "problem."
And of course, there were other bits, like the dig at No Child Left Behind during the Sphinx scene and the line about Harriet Tubman being a daughter of Hermes and using the Labyrinth as part of the Underground Railroad. There's not a whole lot of emotional depth or character development, but it's a super-fun romp and a real up-swing from Book Three. I enjoyed this installment SO MUCH MORE than the last one. I'm back on the Percy Jackson train, and I'm so happy about it!