Review of AUDIOBOOK The Last Olympian – Book 5 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan #Brainfluffaudiobookreview #TheLastOlympianaudiobookreview

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I have been listening to this series throughout 2019 and thoroughly enjoying this modern take on the Greek myths from the perspective of a dyslexic demi-god, who is aged twelve when the series starts with Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.

BLURB: All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of a victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows. While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.

REVIEW: If you’re thinking there seems to be some striking similarities to Harry Potter, another magical youngster, you’d be right – there are. But there are also some important differences. Riordan’s stitching of Percy’s rather fractured family life and learning difficulties onto the ancient Greek myths is the vital ingredient that lifts this series into something really special. I think it’s been done very well, so that now Percy is approaching his sixteenth birthday, which is surrounded by a particularly doom-laden prophesy, just as the gods and titans are set for a bloody rematch of their first apocalyptic battle – you’ll realise the stakes couldn’t be higher. Whatever you do, don’t plunge into this book without reading at least the previous two first, although ideally you’d go back to the beginning, as there is a linked narrative running across the books. While each story encapsulates a single adventure, there is an ongoing progression all leading towards this, the final book.

This means the scene-setting and battles all have to be sufficiently climactic and engrossing to satisfy the reader’s raised expectations, or this series will end with a whimper, rather than a bang. Riordan triumphantly achieves this by writing a series of fabulous battles in Manhattan, not just featuring Percy, but also satisfactorily concluding the narrative arcs of all the main cast that have accompanied Percy on his journey. In amongst the mayhem and desperate fighting, with inevitable losses and heartbreak, there are a steady stream of sardonic asides that provide welcome shafts of humour throughout.

As this falls somewhere between a children’s and YA read, there is also a bit of romance, which has been bubbling away in the background through the previous two books, in particular. There were two girls Percy was attracted to – not that he did all that much about it, so thank goodness we have no dreaded love triangle. I find it endearing that our skilled swordsman turns into a clammy mess in the presence of the girls in his life… Needless to say, that strand is also wrapped up. Overall, this is a really strong conclusion to an entertaining series that also teaches a fair bit about the ancient Greek gods along the way. Highly recommended for children of all ages.
9/10


19 responses »

  1. I was never quite in the right age group when these books came out so I never read them. I seem to be missing out, and I didn’t realize that Percy had dyslexia!

    • I discovered this series when my eldest grandson was battling to learn to read, after having been diagnosed with severe dyslexia. He burned through this series, inspired to hear that Percy suffered so. Which is why I have this series on my audiobook list:)).

  2. I’ve not read any of these books either! I will definitely keep them on the list though for when my stepdaughter is a bit older and then we can enjoy them together! 😀

    • Oh, I would! Frankie absolutely loved them – especially as Percy finds it difficult to sit still and struggles to read signs, which gave Frankie someone to identify with at a time when his self esteem was taking a hammering and his frustration was at boiling point – he is a highly intelligent boy and yet the moment he was asked to read or write, he was reduced to a helpless mess:((.

    • I’m very glad that I’ve worked as a Special Needs teacher in the latter stages of my career, while trying to help Frankie. And that included in instructing him to pointblank refuse to read aloud in class when told to do so by the class teacher… It boggles the mind that dyslexic students are still treated with such a lack of thought in modern classrooms!

      • It is horrendous that they still do that! I had thought it would have improved by now. I have painful memories of friends being made fun of by a teacher because of their inability to read aloud – it was cruel and absolutely unnecessary.

  3. Wonderful review Sarah. This series was a hit at my school, which always make it a winner. I should give them a listen, maybe get the series for my grandson’s future reads.

  4. I enjoy reading these books and I’m glad you had a good time with them too. They are such fun, quick reads that make me curious about characters and stories from Greek and Roman myths that I’m unfamiliar with.

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