It is with GREAT pleasure that I announce I’ve succeeded in completing my goal of reading 100 books this year!  I’m a bit behind on posting my reviews, but I promise you within the next week I’ll complete them and get on track for the new year! Since I’ve completed my goal of 100 for the year I’ve thought about increasing my goal for 2012 and am thinking of upping the goal to 110.  I’ll post my definite plans tomorrow in my kick-off post, similar to what I did last year.

2011 has been a pretty amazing year of reading for me.  Looking back I’ve read some fascinating memoirs, heartbreaking fiction, and  suspenseful mysteries among other things.  My top ten for the year with links to their reviews are as follows:

  1. Jane Eyre
  2. One Day
  3. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
  4. The Hunger Games
  5. Stardust
  6. The House At Riverton
  7. Lunch in Paris
  8. A Wife For Mr. Darcy
  9. Eat, Pray, Love
  10. Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian/The Silent Governess

It was SO difficult to come up with a top ten for the year; I have to pat myself on the back for choosing such a wide array of excellent reads.  I do hope that you’ll tell me what you’ve enjoyed reading this year! There is no better recommendation to read a book than a recommendation from a fellow reader!

In terms of the challenges I signed up for this past year I completed the Historical Fiction Challenge and the Page to Screen Challenge with flying colors.  The Chunkster Challenge continues through January 31, 2012 so I still have a month to finish my last two “mega-chunkster” books.  My Austen challenges I did not do so well on.  I only completed 2 of the Jane Austen mystery novels, and completed 50% of the Sense and Sensibility Challenge.  I’m disappointed that I did so terribly on them, but I guess the light at the end of the tunnel is that I still completed my 100!  I’ve already begun to sign up for 2012 challenges, so make sure you head over to my challenge page to track my progress.

I hope that you will all enjoy the holiday today, checking back in tomorrow to join me on my journey of reading in 2012.

Happy New Year, and happy reading!

#70 A Review of The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #5) by Rick Riordan

Cover Image

For those following along at home, we’ve come to the exciting conclusion of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Camp Half Blood) series by Rick Riordan.  We’ve seen Percy battle gods and demigods on his quest to rid the world of Kronos and his evildoers and protect Mount Olympus from his attacks.  Filled with adventure and excitement, Riordan’s final work was just as explosive as I expected it to be.

Once again we follow Percy and his misadventures as he attempts to stave off an attack by Kronos and his followers as they attempt to lay siege to Manhattan, more specifically Mount Olympus.  At the onset, Percy and Beckendorf try to take out the Princess Andromeda (Kronos’ ship) in a stealth mission.  Kronos is prepared for the attack, however, and Beckendorf sacrifices his life to destroy the ship.  Injured in the attack, Percy wakes up in his father Poseidon’s underwater palace, and meets his cyclops half-brother, Tyson.  Although he wants to stay and help his father fight off an attack by the Titan Oceanus, Poseidon sends Percy back to Camp Half Blood, where he soon leaves to receive a blessing from his mother and bathe in the River Styx.  Percy then travels to Manhattan, where they must defend the opening to Mount Olympus (conveniently located at the Empire State Building).  They face an enormous onslaught from Kronos’ massive army, and are pushed back to the entrance of Mount Olympus itself.  What will happen to Percy?  Will he be able to protect the other gods from Kronos and his minions?

Riordan has REALLY outdone himself with The Last Olympian.  The last third of the book is one of the most epic battle sequences I’ve ever read.  The demigods have really come into their own and show it.  It’s amazing to read how well they’ve honed their skills and how they fight against the oldest monsters on Earth.  Their dedication to the fight, to the gods, and to good is astonishing.  Percy has yet again matured, this time into a leader instilling hope into not only the demigods, but the gods themselves.  He is able to convince those you’d least expect into believing that he and the demigods are capable of saving Olympus.

While the subject matter of the novel is serious and at times very dark, Riordan finds a way to add humor and lightness to the story, in the form of the party ponies.  The party ponies are groups of centaurs from across the US that get together for conventions and just party.  Chiron convinces them to join the demigods’ fight against Kronos, and they really help turn the battle back in the demigods favor.  The dialogue that is written for them is hysterical, especially reading about some of them battling the Titans and calling them “dude”.  I’ve come to expect this subtle humor from Riordan’s writing.  It breaks up the darker pieces of the novel and allows the reader to breathe and regroup from the sadder portions of the novel.

I can’t imagine a better ending to this series.  Riordan has made the reader become so invested in the lives of Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and all the other characters, and given them an ending we can be proud of.  More importantly, this ending is satisfying.  If you still (after all of my reviews) have NOT picked up this series, then you are seriously missing out.  Tell every young adult you know about this series and get them to read it.  It’s intelligent, fast-paced, fun, thought-provoking, and so much more.  I’ve been told that Riordan has already published two more books delving into the next chapters of Percy’s life.  You can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be reading those ASAP. 

5 out of 5 Stars

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
Disney Hyperion (2011)
Paperback 416 pages
For links to the first four books in the series click the following: Book One, Book Two, Book Three, Book Four