To me, it seemed only fitting that my first review on this blog should be of a book that was the last in its series, and I’m absolutely thrilled that Blood of Olympus was that book! Percy’s story began in 2005, and it’s been one heck of a ride for those of us who have followed it to its conclusion nearly ten years later. Both the ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ and ‘Heroes of Olympus’ series are undoubtedly some of my all-time favourite books, and I can only hope that people will continue to enjoy them for a very long time to come.
Where to begin?
First of all, The Blood of Olympus picks up very nicely from where The House of Hades left off, transitioning smoothly into one final, epic quest for the crew of the Argo II. I loved the way that we got dropped straight into the action, as it definitely highlighted the fact that this story was set to be a fast paced, action packed adventure. I applaud the author for his decision to show us that the stakes are high from the word go by not wasting any time at all before putting his characters in mortal peril; it was the perfect reminder to the reader that when you’re reading the final instalment of a series, no-one can escape danger. Riordan’s writing style really lends itself well to these kinds of action driven plots, but that’s not to say the romantic aspects were any less wonderful. In fact, he seems to have mastered the formula for creating a gripping, dramatic storyline without compromising on the romance. Tell me your secret, Rick!
Also, there was some terrific character development that took place in this book. Some of the best examples of this have to be Piper, Annabeth and Nico, who all experience their own journeys through the course of the story – be it emotional or one of self-discovery – and come out five hundred or so pages later a stronger person because of it. Piper, (who to me has always seemed like a slightly less badass version of Annabeth), becomes much more defined as a character, due in part to her blatant contrast to Annabeth. Pairing these two up to complete part of the quest together was a genius move, because it gave Piper a chance to step out from the shadow of the boys and become more than just Jason’s girlfriend, while having the added bonus of making Annabeth seem that little bit more human. When Piper had to step up and trust her emotions, Annabeth had to take a step back and allow someone else to make the decisions. The friendship that grew between them from then on was something I didn’t even realise I wanted until it happened.
As for Nico, I have no words. Reading chapters from his point of view was wonderful and explained so much about why he behaves the way he does. I was glad that he was able to start moving from angry, slightly bitter outcast with major trust issues to someone who finally feels like he might just belong somewhere after all. There’s a special place in my heart for those characters who are clearly just in desperate need of a hug.
Alright, so I’m trying to be balanced here. Honestly, there was very little wrong with The Blood of Olympus, so most of these points are just little things that I spotted and thought, “Damn, I wish we’d gotten that!” Number one was the final battle. Was it only me, or did it all end a tad too quickly? I mean, we’ve had, what, four years of build-up to this epic showdown, and the next thing you know it’s all over and done with in a couple of chapters? It did feel somewhat anticlimactic. What we got wasn’t bad; I just wanted more of it! Gaia waking was never going to be a surprise, so it would have been nice if Riordan had made a bigger deal out of it. I wanted to feel scared for the fate of the human race; instead I was left feeling mildly concerned – sort of the way you feel when you can’t remember if you’ve definitely packed up everything you brought with you to a friend’s sleepover.
Secondly, WHERE WAS PERCY? I’m not going to lie; I was devastated when I discovered that there were no chapters from either Percy or Annabeth’s point of view. It just felt… I don’t know… wrong, somehow. I understand that we started with Jason, Piper and Leo, so the story was brought full circle by ending with those same three characters, however I would argue that this was as much an ending for Percy and Annabeth as it was for those newer characters, and by not writing at least an epilogue in Percy’s POV, it seemed as though fans were being denied the farewell to him that they felt they deserved.
I just have a lot of feelings, okay?
Overall, I would give this novel four and a half out of five stars. Literally everyone who ever appeared in a Percy Jackson book got some kind of a mention within those pages, and the story ended with just the right blend of tied up loose ends and strands left open for the reader to interpret for themselves. (I’m looking at YOU Leo!) There were tears. There were laughs. There was incoherent muttering while rocking back and forth in the corner of the room. And yes, Mr Riordan, I did spot that subtle reference to your next series!
All in all an extremely satisfying end to the ‘Heroes of Olympus’ series, assuming this is, of course, the end…