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Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the fifth book in the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Percy Jackson, half-mortal and half-Greek god, has known his demi-god (or "hero") status for several years. As the son of Poseidon, the sea god, he's gone on several quests to aid and rescue gods or other half-bloods similar to himself. He spends his summers at Camp Half-Blood, where he and other heroes find magical protection from monsters and learn how to cope with — perhaps even embrace — their unusual heritage.

The long-anticipated war between the Titans and the Olympian gods begins. Percy, nearly 16, and a fellow camper named Beckendorf intercept a ship carrying some of the Titan army and its leader, Lord Kronos. Kronos, birth father and nemesis of the gods, has inhabited the body of a half-blood dissenter named Luke. Beckendorf dies when he and Percy blow up the ship, but Kronos survives. Percy escapes underwater to see his father, Poseidon, and his Cyclops brother, Tyson. He considers joining the battle they're waging to preserve the seas, but Poseidon urges him to return to Camp Half-Blood and help fight Kronos.

At camp, Nico, son of Hades, tells Percy they need to understand their enemy before they can fight him. Nico takes Percy to Luke's childhood home, where they meet Luke's mother. She once had an ability rarely found in mortals, to "see through the Mist" and view gods and monsters as they really are. When Luke was small, his mother tried to use her gift for good by becoming a physical host for the Oracle of Delphi's disembodied spirit. But Hades had placed a curse on the Oracle, which made this impossible and left Luke's mother insane. Luke's bitterness at his father, Hermes, for not saving him from a crazy mother drove Luke to side with Kronos. Nico and Percy also meet Hestia, goddess of the hearth and "the last Olympian" who surrendered her position of power to keep the peace amongst her siblings. Her visions help them discover that, like Luke, Percy must get his mother's blessing and then bathe in the River Styx so he can become invincible.

After doing this, Percy returns to New York City. Through an elevator at the Empire State Building, he and his army of campers reach modern day Olympus — the city they must defend. Though the gods are largely unwilling to help in battle, they offer visions and warnings. Back in Manhattan, Percy and the others (including his friends Grover, a satyr, and Annabeth, the daughter of Athena) fight many battles against Kronos' monsters while the mortals of the city sleep under the spell of Morpheus. Percy receives visions about Nico's past and cryptic messages from Rachel Dare, a girl who also can see through the Mist, in his dreams. At each point, when the battle seems most bleak, another unexpected god or hero joins the war to defend Olympus. Kronos is finally defeated when Annabeth reminds Luke, still trapped deep inside his own body, that he promised they would always be family. Luke summons the strength to overthrow Kronos, though he has to kill himself to do it.

After the battle, the Olympian gods offer Percy the honor of becoming immortal. He refuses the gift but asks for the gods' promise to claim and interact with their mortal children from this point forward. The curse on the Oracle is reversed, and Rachel Dare becomes the new Oracle of Delphi. Percy and Annabeth cement their relationship with a kiss as they prepare to remodel the city of Olympus and interpret a new prophecy.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

As a whole, the gods have little involvement in the day-to-day lives of their demi-god children. They will appear or provide power to the kids on rare occasions often when they need human assistance to accomplish a personal goal. Many of the demi-gods resent their illusive parents. When Kronos, father of the Olympian gods and goddesses, wages a vengeful war against his children, he uses the demi-gods' bitterness to draw many to his side of the battle. Rather than accept immortality from the gods for his heroic deeds in the war, Percy makes the Olympian leaders promise to claim and pay attention to their half-blood children. He believes better parent-child relationships will keep future disagreements from escalating into war.

Authority Roles

The premise of the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series is that the gods of mythology exist today and control world events with their magical powers. As in the ancient myths, the gods and goddesses still have affairs with humans. Their children, such as Percy, are powerful demi-gods. Percy and other half-bloods frequently pray to the gods, especially their Olympian parents, for help or direction. As the centers of power have moved throughout history, so have the gods, who now live in, above and below America. The monsters that pursue the demi-gods are primal forces without souls so they cannot die, only re-form into monsters. The Oracle of Delphi (a spirit who lives in the attic at Half-Blood Hill) provides prophesies concerning what the demi-gods will or must do.

Several gods and demi-gods swear to one another on the River Styx. Demi-gods' dreams are usually visions or omens. The demi-gods often wish for (or wish each other) luck. Half-bloods ritualistically throw some of their dinner into the campfire as an offering to the gods. A demi-god helps heal Annabeth by humming a hymn to Apollo in ancient Greek. Annabeth and other demi-gods receive nectar of the gods for healing.

Anyone who dies goes to the Underworld. Heroes hope they or their friends will be granted entry into a section called Elysium. Those who achieve Elysium may choose to be reborn in three different lifetimes in an effort to reach the Isle of the Blest. Percy calls this the Underworld's ultimate party headquarters.

Nico can see the auras of people who are about to die. He suggests that if Grover died, the satyr would reincarnate into something in nature. Percy has a magical empathy link with Grover that sometimes allows him to hear or locate his friend or to know what the satyr is feeling.

Rachel, Percy's mom, and a few other mortals, can see through the Mist, a "magic veil" that keeps most humans from seeing gods and monsters as they really are. Because of her abilities, Rachel chooses to let the spirit of the Oracle of Delphi live in her so she can voice its prophecies.

Profanity/Violence

The heroes replace any potential use of the Lord's name with "gods." There are several instances of phrases like "Oh my gods" or "gods bless you." One demi-god yells, "Holy Zeus!" The words suck, heck and darn each appear a time or two.

Action-packed battles and swordplay are common in this story. The fact that monsters dissolve rather than die significantly reduces the images of bloodshed. Many of the teenage heroes are injured, and a few are killed. Thalia, a huntress, wears a "Death to Barbie" shirt depicting a Barbie doll with an arrow through its head. Hades, Lord of the Dead, wears a cloak displaying "the terrified faces of the damned" and rides in a chariot decorated with scenes of painful deaths. When he and Nico join the Olympians in battle, they bring along an army of skeletal, undead soldiers who claw their way out of the Underworld.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Rachel gives Percy a goodbye kiss on the cheek. Percy recalls Annabeth kissing him when she thought he was going to die. Annabeth kisses him at the end of the story as they make their affection clear to one another.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

When the residents of New York City are asleep due to a spell, various demi-gods discuss whether or not to raid their favorite now-unattended stores. Several seem to be fine with stealing, while others, such as Percy, forbid stealing and suggest leaving money at a drug store if they need medicine.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

10 and up

Author

Rick Riordan

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Miramax Books, a division of Hyperion Books for Children

Released

On Video

Year Published

2011

Awards

Best Seller Lists, 2010: USA Today, Wall Street Journal and L.A. Times

Reviewer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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