WarningMight contain spoilers.

This is very easily the darkest Percy Jackson–related book. Rick Riordan writes as well and as wittily as ever, but he writes too well of Percy and Annabeth’s time in Tartarus. You can feel yourself there, in the dim red light, suffocating right alongside them. Honestly, however much I admire Percy, it’s Bob and Damasen who are the real heroes. I can’t imagine spending my life in that place. Percy’s Bob says hello to the stars at the end brought a tear to my eye.

Frank’s trajectory over four books has been a bit haphazard, but I’m happy it’s brought him to where he is with his abrupt promotion to Praetor. Hazel and he are both awesome in the climax. I’m glad Leo found Calypso, but she really is nasty to him at first. Poor Nico, on the other hand, seems to be destined for angst and suffering—Jason does his best to be a friend, but it’s so hard to overcome Nico’s self-loathing.

There’s a moment towards the end where Percy suddenly seems to have heightened reflexes and is able to make a giant leap. I don’t understand. Is there more to the story?

Next in series: (#5 in Thoughts & Spoilers: Books: Heroes of Olympus (2010))