A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the violence level is a bit higher here than previous books in the series, and includes injuries and deaths from a variety of ancient weapons.
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What's the story?
As the ultimate apocalyptic battle between the gods and Kronos draws near, Percy and his friends discover that Camp Half-Blood is first on Kronos' hit list, and that the invasion will come through a secret entrance to the Labyrinth, which now lies under the entire U.S. So Percy, Annabeth, and Grover venture into this forbidding and constantly shifting underground world, seeking Daedalus, Pan, and a way to stop Kronos' forces.
Is it any good?
As the denouement to this five-book story arc approaches, BOOK 4 veers from the formula of the first three, growing larger in scope, darker (though still with plenty of humor), and more powerful. The story is on the rails now, gathering speed and excitement as it gets closer to the coming apocalypse. Author Rick Riordan is also delving deeper into the mythological underpinnings of the world he has created, a world in which the gods, heroes, monsters, and locales of Greek mythology have moved with the heart of Western civilization to the U.S., and updated for the 21st century.
The most fascinating of these updates is Riordan's concept of the Labyrinth, which now spans the entire country underground, with entrances and exits scattered from coast to coast. At its heart is the brilliant inventor Daedalus, who has found a way to preserve his life but lost his soul, at least for a time. This entry also mines more philosophical ground than previously (though never at the expense of the action), such as the natures of the gods and what it means to act in their names. Up until now the series has been great fun, but little more. Now as it begins to grow, like the Labyrinth, larger and deeper and more complex, it's even more fun.
From the Book:
The last thing I wanted to do on my summer break was blow up another school. But there I was Monday morning, the first week of June, sitting in my mom's car in front of Goode High School on East 81st.
Goode was this big brownstone building overlooking the East River. A bunch of BMWs and Lincoln Town Cars were parked out front. Staring up at the fancy stone archway, I wondered how long it would take me to get kicked out of this place.
"Just relax." My mom didn't sound relaxed. "It's only an orientation tour. And remember, dear, this is Paul's school. So try not to ... you know."
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