[Book cover credit: librarything.com/work/4264201]
Percy is nervous enough about going to orientation at the school where Paul Blofis (Mr. Blowfish) is a teacher; running into Rachel Elizabeth Dare is just an added bonus. When things go catastrophically, some might say mythologically, wrong Percy doesn't have time to worry about how his bad luck will affect Paul's career or relationship with Percy's mother. Annabeth has shown up to rush him off to Camp Halfblood where Grover must appear before the Council of Cloven Elders for his lack of progress finding the lost god Pan.
Our young man is sure growing up. As if we didn't all see it coming, Percy and Annabeth are a bit awkward and crush-y. We don't even make it past page 2 before this awesome exchange:
"Think positive. Tomorrow you're off to camp! After orientation, you've got your date--"
"It's not a date!" I protested. "It's just Annabeth, Mom. Jeez!"
You can feel that "Jeez!" sear the page. It's lovely. Awkwardness like this abounds throughout the book, in and around the more action-packed plot Percy's readers are used to, and it's not just between Percy and Annabeth. It seems like everyone has a love interest all of a sudden, even Grover. I love it!
Aside from embarrassing romantic entanglements, The Battle of the Labyrinth mirrors the form and quality of the three preceding books in the series. There is action! There is a prophecy! There is THE prophecy! There are angry gods who can't seem to take care of themselves! There are Percy, Annabeth and Grover all ready and willing to save the day! I appreciated Annabeth's leadership role and the focus on Grover's quest in this book. I really hope that this more extended treatment of them is not just to make up for a 5th book all about Percy and his 16th birthday.
Book 1: The Lightning Thief
Book 2: The Sea of Monsters
Book 3: The Titan's Curse
Book Source: Philly Free Library