So I pick up after Frank has his super dynamic shift from wah I'm useless to wah I killed demon cows and I'm sexy which is a beautiful improvement, let me tell you. I love the guy and I understand his POV and I'm thankful he's stepping up but he's in the way of Leo and that is something that should never happen.
Annabeth XXI - XXIV
Right, so we're Percabething across Tartarus and things are looking down. Very down. The only direction in Tartarus is down, after all. Riordan has done an incredible job by elaborately describing Tartarus, and an even better job at carving pieces into Percy and Annabeth's psyche. At this point in their lives, Annabeth and Percy find it hard to trust anyone, and Annabeth takes it out on Bob. I love Bob, and still I understand her anxieties. Something that's left intentionally in the dark: in one scene Percy leaves Bob to a choice, to kill or not to kill a monster, and Annabeth can't get a read on Percy, whether his intentions were cold and calculating or he was just being trusting. War does that. I can't blame them. It's worse than hell for these demigods, who have been through literal rivers of pain. And they don't give up. Not on each other, not on their friends. Annabeth even manages to fashion a plan out of thin air to try to get a message back topside. Percy and Annabeth still care about what's going on up above, even while trekking on the embodiment of the pit, the body of Tartarus, and for that they deserve their New Rome dates. All of them. I'm rooting on you, Percabeth.
The Percabeth chapters could be called Chronicling the Degradation of All that is Good in the World (Minus Leo Valdez).
This bit ends with the curses arriving.
I absolutely love the contrast between the story lines and the construction. At once, our narrators seem to be in completely different worlds. Yet, at the same time, this novel is about coming to terms with the self and with the world around you. So comes the cutting distrust that is so rampant, aimed especially aimed at Nico and Jason. It's for reasons that demigods should be able to get over, but everyone manages to work together well enough, even without Annabeth on board.
Unfortunately, it's not enough because of course, it wouldn't be a proper day unless there was a massive ass turtle trying to bite into the Argo II and a treasure-thirsty pirate that put our heroes in their places (i.e. at his feet). Hazel manages to finally woman the fuck up and gains a new power. Achievement unlocked, as Leo would probably say.
Of course, Leo is the one who really saved the day, jetting the crew away from the massive ass turtle in the first place. Hazel just put the cherry on top of Leo's deliciously awesome cake.
These chapters really highlight the five younger demigods trying to figure themselves out and work with each other. The bonds that are created here are very powerful, as they form under tense, tense situations, so I assume by the end of this, even Frank and Nico, who are hemispheres apart from contacting each other, will do so. Hazel doesn't trust Jason in this bit, and yet he still backs her up, doing what Jason does best and supporting where he can.
And of course Leo and his Archimedes sphere. I ship that so hard. Leomedes.
Percy XXIX - XXX
Oh gods. Must I?
This is just cold.
Even in the worst sort of I'm gonna put my characters through psychological torture, Riordan still manages lines like: "I appreciate the offer . . . but my mom told me not to accept curses form strangers."
But this is cold. Every monster that Percy and Annabeth have slain, all those vengeful last breaths, are on them now. But that's not the worst. Percy can handle that. The monsters were, because I lack another word, evil.
But then they become alone. Bob's left in the dark, ruminating on the past that is revealed to him, meanwhile Percy is suffering from guilt that could literally kill him. Innocent souls have cursed him, too. Percy Jackson, our hero, has to deal with some pretty Dean Winchester-y shit.
This bit ends with rage-killing.