We Break A Bridge
Actually, I suppose this is technically more of a skirmish than a battle. The battle continues, but this is simply a part of it, and much of its success is owed to Percy’s efforts. When you’re Styx-dipped, you can take on a lot of crap at once. (Just ask Achilles, after all.) That’s not to discount the contributions of Annabeth, the Apollo cabin, and Blackjack, of course. But when you kill the enemy’s champion and almost single-handedly force a retreat, you get to be MVP.
Speaking of Blackjack, I like that a moment was taken before the battle to ask this particular question:
“Hey, why do pegasi gallop as they fly, anyway?”
Blackjack whinnied. Why do humans swing their arms as they walk? I dunno, boss. It just feels right.
These are important questions that must be asked. (I’m being serious, here. It’s fun to deconstruct! Plus it’s an amusing moment of levity.)
Oh, and speaking of the Apollo cabin, I loved the concept of sonic arrows! Except now I’m bummed because now that I’ve read it, I can’t come up with it independently for possible use in the follow-up to Zeus Is Dead. (D’oh! Oh well. Let’s see Riordan use Ares’s “flamin’ racism tongs.”) Also on the subject of Apollo, if they finally offered the chariot to Clarisse, but she said to forget it and it was too late, why didn’t they bring it along? I mean, aside from setting her up for a means to arrive in heroic fashion later on, if needed.)
I found that I wasn’t really worried at all with the Minotaur fight, which turned out to be just the right length for my taste. At first I was thinking there’d be no tension at all for the rest of the battle in terms of Percy’s safety, but that all changed when the surviving monsters regrouped with Kronos’s forces at the other side of the bridge. The sheer number of additional reinforcements, plus Kronos himself at the vanguard, somehow brought the stakes back up and threw Percy’s well-being back into jeopardy. I think part of that may have had to do with Percy pressing his attack after Annabeth told him to fall back. It made for a very strong “trap” moment. (Percy, when the daughter of the goddess of battle tactics says that you should pull back, you say, “YES!”)
A small complaint, however:
You’re going to ask how the “invincible” thing worked: if I magically dodged every weapon, or if the weapons hit me and just didn’t harm me. Honestly, I don’t remember. All I knew was that I wasn’t going to let these monsters invade my hometown.
What’s the point of bringing this detail up–a detail which surely could have been expanded on to better illustrate the fighting in the mind of the reader–only to just cast it aside so flippantly? I wasn’t actually going to ask that question until it was mentioned, and then when it deliberately wasn’t, it was just annoying. But it’s just a nitpick.
I didn’t expect a confrontation with Kronos this early in the book. Not sure what might happen. Will Percy knock the Kronos out of Luke and force Kronos to withdraw? Will Kronos injure Percy before Blackjack can carry him away? Will they fight to a temporary stalemate? Will some new development occur that will up the stakes even more? It’s funny, I stopped reading in the middle of it all as they began to fight in order to ponder the possibilities (and write this paragraph), only to find it was a quick confrontation with the outcome foretold by the chapter title. And now don’t I feel silly? 😀
Riordan closes the chapter with the word that Annabeth is seriously hurt, perhaps even at Death’s door, given Silena’s message. I can’t help but think back to The Iliad and wonder, with Percy doing the Achilles thing, is Annabeth his Patroclus? Patroclus was Achilles’s dear friend/lover, and when Patroclus was killed in the battle for Troy, Achilles went absolutely berserk with rage and kicked the utter crap out of the Trojans. I’m really hoping that’s not going to be the case, though. For one, I really like Annabeth, so I’d rather she not die. And for another thing, Percy hardly needs more motivation to fight right now, especially not motivation gained from–
Okay, now I was about to say “fridging Annabeth,” but I’m suddenly wondering if this constitutes fridging. Annabeth did get injured with some agency here. She threw herself in front of a blade meant for Percy on purpose, saving his life. (In other words, she didn’t just get kidnapped off the street and murdered.) But whatever the term for it, I’d rather it not happen.
We need 20 CCs of ambrosia! Stat!
Okay, so I also hope Michael survived, but he’s expendable if need be. (Yeah, so sometimes I’m a little cold.) 😀
By the way, quick plug! A Dragon at the Gate released yesterday! It’s the third and final book in my New Aeneid Cycle sci-fi series, and right now you can get ebook versions of the first two books in the series for just 99 cents!