The Burning Maze (Trials of Apollo #3) Review


Book: The Burning Maze (Trials of Apollo #3)

Author: Rick Riordan

I love the Percy Jackson-verse and everything that Rick Riordan has created within it, but I have to admit that this book didn’t live up to my expectations. I would say it’s just me getting older and perhaps not enjoying the Rick Riordan formula as much as I once did, but I don’t think that’s it. I still enjoyed the classic Rick Riordan humour, I loved Apollo and watching all of my favourite characters go on quests, so it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it, it’s just that I was expecting…..more? From the second book, I was expecting something really exciting and for me, this book was definitely suffering from middle book syndrome, it felt much slower paced to me than the others, despite taking place over the same short time period and 400 pages for this book actually felt quite long, whilst usually Rick Riordan books fly by for me. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

Lester Papadopoulos was once the glorious god Apollo – now he’s an awkward (mortal) teenager stuck on earth, out of favour with Zeus, and without his powers.

The way out? A series of scary and dangerous trials, of course.

With two particularly scary and dangerous trial already under his belt, Lester must now journey to the Labyrinth – a burning maze that at its centre contains an Oracle whose puzzles may hold the key to a return to godly glory.

But The Labyrinth holds a far more deadly threat – the third Roman emperor, part of a group of three Roman rulers bent on death and destruction.

The mortal and immortal worlds won’t be safe whilst they live, and only Lester and his demigod friends have the power, bravery (and luck) to stop them . . .

So yeah, like I said, the pace in this book was definitely off. It’s strange, pacing is usually something Rick Riordan does really well, he’s good at keeping me on the edge of my seat, but this book definitely wasn’t one of his best when it came to pacing. There were some really great action sequences, the start was really intense with Meg, Grover and Apollo escaping through the Labyrinth from a bunch of strixes (these massive bloodthirsty owl type things) and there were some really great action sequences through the book as well, but for the most part, at least until about halfway through the book or so, it felt like they were just getting from point A to point B with nothing really at stake. I was glad he upped the ante in the second half of the book, but then I felt like things kind of fizzled out towards the climax. I hope that in the next book the pacing is slightly better because this definitely felt like middle book slump.

I still loved Apollo’s narration and his character development; he’s really facing human mortality and what that means and that’s quite an interesting turn for where his character is at right now. He’s still kind of useless when it comes to fighting and definitely reliant on his demigod (and satyr!) friends, but he’s definitely growing and having to face a lot of tough truths and that was good. The humour was still really on point and whilst I bemoan that the pacing was off, where there were action sequences, I loved how Rick Riordan combined them so effortlessly with humour.

Piper returns in this book, and whilst I have been down on her in the past, I actually enjoyed her in this book. It felt like Rick Riordan was allowing her to be her own character again rather than a copy and paste replacement for Annabeth, and I appreciated seeing her being given her own character growth that wasn’t intertwined with Jason. I forgot that Piper can actually be pretty badass when needs be and I honestly don’t think Apollo would have survived this book without her! Getting to see her face off against Medea again was definitely an unexpected highlight, I wasn’t expecting to see Medea back again, she’s definitely one of the better of Rick Riordan’s villains and her dynamic with Piper is electric.

I was so glad to see Grover back in this book and playing an active role in proceedings again, he was such a key part of the original Percy Jackson series, and was overlooked in Heroes of Olympus, so it was awesome to get to see him back again and involved in quests, plus his friendship with Meg was another unexpected delight!

I liked that we got to see more of Meg’s backstory in this book, it definitely helped her feel like more of a well rounded character, and I thought she really came into her own in this book. I will always have a soft spot for Meg, she’s such a vicious little thing and fierce girls have a way of worming themselves into my heart. Plus I love that she shows that children of Demeter can still be really cool. I also liked all the dryads in this book, Rick Riordan has a way of making even side characters memorable! I also loved seeing her friendship with Piper, it warmed my heart, almost like an older sister/younger sister type thing and I hope we get to see the two of them together again before the end of the series.

I have to admit, I think Rick Riordan overdoes it with the pop culture references, they suit Apollo as a character, but even I didn’t understand some of them, so I feel like they might fly right over the heads of the 9-12 audience this series is actually aimed at! I do love the additions of the little haikus at the start of each chapter though.

I wished we had got to see what happened with Leo at Camp Jupiter, I get that wasn’t possible because it’s Apollo’s book, he’s narrating it and he wasn’t there, but I thought that might have actually been more exciting!

Rick Riordan does really well with talking weapons, first Jack in the Magnus Chase series and then the Arrow of Dodona in this, which delivers its messages in Shakespearean English, it’s utilised just enough that it’s still funny but doesn’t get frustrating.

I like how all the prophecies from the different oracles are delivered in different forms and I have to admit, this one was my favourite, them having to work out the prophecy via crossword clues? It was certainly different.

I wasn’t expecting the third emperor to be who it was, I won’t spoil anything by revealing who it was, but I was expecting someone else so I was quite surprised. I feel like this one, despite supposedly being the scariest was actually somewhat of a middle ground between Nero and Commodus-I actually found Nero scarier-or at least more sinister.

It was cool to see the Labyrinth again-The Battle of the Labyrinth was my favourite Percy Jackson book, so I was happy to see the Labyrinth returning here.

I can’t really talk about the major event of this book without talking spoilers, but all I really have to say on the matter, is that it didn’t have the emotional impact that I think was intended because I wasn’t overly in love with the character that it happened to anyway, but I will be interested to see the repercussions of this event in the next book and I definitely think it has raised the stakes for the rest of the books. These emperors are not playing around people!

This book was definitely suffering from middle book syndrome, but there is still a lot to enjoy in there, Apollo being ridiculous, Piper being cool for a change, evil emperors,  talking weapons, Grover’s return, Meg McCaffrey being a vicious little creature and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what the fourth book has in store (though I just found out that I have to wait until next Autumn and I am not happy!) as we are teased for the return of one of my absolute favourite characters by the end of the book and the prophecy they are given is really intriguing, so I look forward to seeing how everything plays out as we head towards the climax of the series (is it just me, or have three years gone by really fast?).

My Rating: 3/5

BECHDEL TEST: FAIL-The fact that this is narrated by Apollo means that any conversations include him, so even though there are plenty of female characters, by the rules of the Bechdel Test, I have to fail it.

(This is an example of why the Bechdel Test does not always work, because there are several strong women in this series, but I have to fail it because they don’t have any one on one conversations that I can rate).

My next review will be of Louise O’Neill’s Only Ever Yours, the first book that I am reading in preparation for YALC in July (I can’t believe I’m doing YALC prep reading already!).

The Ship of The Dead (Magnus Chase and The Gods of Asgard #3)

34879201Book: The Ship of The Dead (Magnus Chase and The Gods of Asgard #3)

Author: Rick Riordan

I was super excited about the final book in the Magnus Chase trilogy, as I have loved reading this series over the past year and this November was the perfect time to read it, because I had an awful lot of assignments to do and I needed something light, short and fun in order to get me through the month. Whilst I did enjoy the book, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting for a series finale? It felt kind of anticlimactic for the conclusion of a trilogy, I was hoping for a little bit more I guess. It was still an incredibly fun and enjoyable ride, but I wasn’t as thrilled by it as I was hoping to be, though I don’t know if it was the book or because I was weighed down by assignments at the time I was reading it. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

Loki the trickster god is free from his chains. Now he’s readying Naglfar, the Ship of the Dead, armed with a host of giants and zombies, to sail against the Norse gods and begin the final battle of Ragnarok. It’s up to Magnus Chase and his friends to stop Loki’s plans, but to do so they will have to sail across the oceans of Midgard, Jotunheim and Niflheim in a desperate race to reach Naglfar before it’s ready to sail on Midsummer’s Day.

Along the way, they will face angry sea gods, hostile giants, and an evil fire-breathing dragon who happens to be a former acquaintance. But Magnus’s biggest challenge will be facing his own inner demons. To defeat Loki, Magnus will need to use words, not force. This will require finding a magical elixir so deadly that it will either make Magnus Chase powerful enough to out-talk the silver-tongued Loki, or destroy Magnus utterly.

First off, I have to start with the elephant in the room: Percy. As everyone who has read the second book knows, it is hinted that Percy makes an appearance in this one. And he does, however, the blurb makes it seem as if Percy will be involved in Magnus’s adventures. He isn’t, he appears briefly at the start of the book where he helps Magnus out training in water, we find out that he and Annabeth are going to college in New Rome and that his mum has had her baby (Estelle) and then they leave again, only to be mentioned once more at the end of the book. This is fine, it is Magnus’ story and not Percy’s after all, but I just wanted to mention it because the blurb is rather misleading on this point. We do get a rather hilarious sequence where Magnus’s sword Jack tries to chat up Percy’s sword Riptide (who is apparently a girl) out of Percy’s appearance and some very cute Percabeth moments though, so it’s not totally wasted.

There were several typos that I noticed in this book, I wonder if Rick Riordan had less time to edit this one or something, because I don’t usually notice any typos in his books and there were several glaring ones here.

The chapter lengths were nice, relatively even about 10 pages per chapter, some a little longer, some shorter, but I still felt like the pacing was off? I don’t know what it was about this book, lots was happening but it seemed to move at a very slow pace compared to the other two. This might just have been me and my assignment addled brain though!

I enjoyed that Magnus’ Floor 19 flatmates had a bigger role in this one, we got to find out so much more about Mallory, Halfborn and TJ and that was nice as they’ve played mainly supporting roles up to this point, so it was nice that they all got the chance to shine and play a part a bit more in this book, their backstories and personalities feel a lot more fleshed out after this book which was nice.

Alex is still probably my favourite of the characters from this series, she/he (if you haven’t read the second book, Alex is genderfluid and his/her pronouns change frequently throughout the book, Alex never goes by they though, hence me not using it in this review), Alex is fierce, smart, sassy and so confident in who she/he is, I’m actually genuinely in awe of him/her. The rest of the cast of characters is equally cool though, I feel like in this book especially, Magnus really came into his own, he no longer feels like a carbon copy of Percy, he has his own personality and style and that is very evident through this book. Sam is also wonderful, her character arc through this book of finally being able to stand up to Loki was great. Basically everyone on Magnus’s team brings something different and it was great to get to see them all interact in this book.

I still loved the humour, the chapter titles in this book were just brilliant and it will always baffle my mind how Rick Riordan manages to make fight scenes both intense and humourous (case in point, this book features a fight scene between ceramic pottery warriors). The pop culture references again bothered me though, I get that Riordan includes them in order to connect with the kids reading, but they felt a little old even for me and I’m a lot older than the target audience of this book!

Magnus’ narration reached a new level of sarcastic in this book which I really appreciated because ya know, the more sass the better.

The diverse representation in this series is just so amazing. Sam’s Muslim faith is handled very respectfully and I have never before seen a book feature Ramadan before, so it was very interesting to see her faith integrated into the storyline for the book, as obviously quests are very draining, and fasting can present an additional obstacle to that. I obviously can’t attest to how accurate the rep was, not being Muslim myself, but there was nothing that I could see that was glaringly problematic (if you are a Muslim, feel free to correct me). Hearth is deaf and uses ASL to communicate. Alex is obviously gender fluid, & TJ & Blitz are black. Riordan has got so much better at including diversity in his books since the initial Percy Jackson books and it always makes me very happy to see such a wide array of different characters portrayed in a middle grade book.

There is a small amount of romance in this book, not very much, but I was very happy to see the Magnus/Alex relationship finally come to fruition in this book! I mean it was hinted at very heavily in the last book that Magnus had a crush on Alex and it was nice to see that finally come to fruition. I also loved that Riordan included a scene of them at the end where it shows Magnus kissing Alex whilst Alex is identifying as a guy, Magnus says and I quote:

Alex is male right now. I have just been kissed by a dude. How do I feel about that?

I have just been kissed by Alex Fierro. I am absolutely great with that

This entire part just made me squeal, I was slightly worried that Rick Riordan would go down the path of having Magnus only be interested in Alex when Alex was identifying as a girl, so it was great to have this scene confirming that Magnus is interested in Alex no matter what gender Alex is identifying as, it also pretty much confirms that Magnus is pansexual, which yay awesome!

I wish that Blitz and Hearth had been confirmed canonically gay though, that was a bit of a disappointment to me as I felt like Rick Riordan had been hinting at it for the past two books and it would have been nice to have the same on page confirmation for them as we had for Magnus’ pansexuality. It just seemed like such heavy hinting for something that never actually came to fruition. I hope that if he does another Magnus Chase series in the future, then this is actually confirmed.

The UK finally appeared in a Rick Riordan book! This probably got me happier than it should have, and they’re only there for like two chapters, but I can finally say that a Rick Riordan adventure took place (if only for a little bit) in my home country and that is very cool! There was also a little bit that took place in Norway, a country I’ve never actually seen in a book I’ve read before, so that was pretty awesome.

There was a dragon! (That is totally not the most important part of that section, Hearth gets closure with his dad and it’s sad and kind of beautiful, but you know, I’m dragon obsessed so of course that was the bit I got excited about).

I feel like I must be the last person on the planet not to know that a group of crows is called a murder? I told my friends this and they were like “Duh you didn’t know that?” so clearly I have been out of the loop on that one. Still I think it’s pretty awesome!

I thought the final fight with Loki was a little bit too easy? Like yeah, it’s beautiful that Magnus said all that wonderful stuff about his friends and it was a very moving sequence, but I was expect the final showdown to be slightly more dramatic! It is kind of fitting with his character though, he’s not a fighter, he’s a healer and a team player, so it did make sense that that was how he defeated Loki, it was just different to what I was expecting!

Chocolate tug of war sounds absolutely amazing (tug of war over a chocolate lake) and I really want to try it!

I felt like the ending was a little anticlimactic? And that it was more there to set up the next Trials of Apollo book than close this one, which I didn’t like, Magnus and co. deserve their own proper ending. It just felt like everything wound down a bit too quickly and the last four chapters or so were just filler.

Overall, I did enjoy this book, but it wasn’t quite as action packed as I was expecting. It was great to see the development of the other characters from Floor 19 and see Magnus and Alex finally come to fruition but I was a little disappointed with the resolution of the Loki storyline. Still, it was exactly what I needed at the time, a light, fun filled story, so for that I am grateful and I hope that Riordan returns to these characters at some point, because after three books, it’s safe to say I’ve fallen in love with them!

My Rating: 3.5/5

I don’t know what I’ll be reviewing next as I’m reading 3 books at the moment and I don’t know which one I’ll finish first, so I guess it will be a surprise!


The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo #2)

Book: The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo #2)

Author: Rick Riordan

I feel like my love of Rick Riordan is well known by now, literally, I will read anything this man decides to publish, I’d even read his shopping list, I’m sure he’d find a way to make it hilarious. I loved the first book in his latest series when I read it last year, so naturally I was really excited to read this book. I devoured it in just a week, which is pretty fast for me, but actually I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first one? It was still witty and hilarious and I loved Apollo but I did feel like it kind of lagged a bit in the middle? It just didn’t feel quite as exciting to me as The Hidden Oracle did, although the ending definitely sets up for a very exciting third book! Here is a short synopsis of the book:

The god Apollo, cast down to earth and trapped in the form of a gawky teenage boy as punishment, must set off on the second of his harrowing (and hilarious) trials.

He and his companions seek the ancient oracles – restoring them is the only way for Apollo to reclaim his place on Mount Olympus – but this is easier said than done.

Somewhere in the American Midwest is a haunted cave that may hold answers for Apollo in his quest to become a god again . . . if it doesn’t kill him or drive him insane first. Standing in Apollo’s way is the second member of the evil Triumvirate – a Roman emperor whose love of bloodshed and spectacle makes even Nero look tame.

To survive the encounter, Apollo will need the help of a now-mortal goddess, a bronze dragon, and some familiar demigod faces from Camp Half-Blood. With them by his side, can Apollo face down the greatest challenge of his four thousand years of existence?

I did have to look back to remind myself of what happened in the last book, because I honestly found myself a little confused at the start and you are sort of just thrown back into the action, so I definitely recommend refreshing yourself with the end of The Hidden Oracle! I wish authors put little recaps of their last book in the series at the front, it would be so helpful to those of us who don’t have the time to reread the previous book before the next one comes out!

I still love Apollo, perhaps even more in this book than I did in the last book. He is just so unashamedly himself, whilst still developing so much as a character throughout the book, seeing him grow to care for Meg and all of his other friends to the point where he would willingly sacrifice himself for them was just so lovely. Apollo has such a distinctive voice, compared to say Magnus and Percy who both sound rather similar and I love that. I like that he’s starting to see that being a human isn’t as worthless as he first thought and he seems to be growing to realise that immortality isn’t everything, whilst still retaining that narcissism and humour that I love.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between Calypso, Leo and Apollo and I actually would have liked to have seen more of it, we got it a lot in the first half of the book, but when he’s reunited with Meg, it kind of peters off, which I get, but I thought it was a shame because they were such a great group. I hope we get to see more of them together in the future. I particularly enjoyed the dynamic between Calypso and Apollo, I even kind of strangely ship them, I guess I like that kind of animostic relationship, I even liked them better than Leo and Calypso, who were honestly, kind of boring.

I LOVED Leo being back! Leo Valdez is one of my favourite demigods, he has so much sass and is just so much fun and I loved his dynamic with Apollo, the scenes when they were together had me laughing so hard. I hope that Leo remains a big part of the rest of the series, because he just brings such a fun dynamic to any group that he’s in.

The Waystation was so cool, I love the idea of a building that has a mind of it’s own! I would totally want to live there, it sounds like so much fun.

I liked that we got to see even more characters from Greek myths in this book, it always amazes me that 12 books in, Rick Riordan can still find new gods/goddesses/people from Greek and Roman myths to incorporate into his books. I love that I always come away from reading them feeling like I’ve learned something! I especially enjoyed the net Goddess, Britomartis, she was so funny!

I LOVED Emmie and Jo! It made me so happy to see cute, old, happy, lesbians, I swear, my cold heart warmed so much seeing these two together. I love the idea of two Hunters of Artemis falling in love with each other and leaving because they didn’t mind growing old as long as they could do it together. I would totally read a spinoff with Emmie and Jo because I’m sure they’ve had some crazy adventures in their time! It also made me really happy that there is now a character in the Percy Jackson universe that shares my name. Granted her full name is Josephine, not Joanne, but I’m taking it as a win!

The griffins were so awesome, flying on them sounds like so much fun. I also loved that Festus was back in this book, I’ve missed that mechanical dragon!

The humour in this book was definitely on point, perhaps not as good as in the Hidden Oracle, but I still laughed my way through pretty much the entire book.

There are an awful lot of characters coming back from the previous books now, and whilst I love seeing familiar faces, I definitely get confused with some of the more minor ones. Like Lityerses, I know he was in Heroes of Olympus, but I honestly couldn’t for the life of me remember him at first! I did appreciate that Rick Riordan had a glossary at the back, this helped me a lot when I didn’t recognise a name or a term that he used.

I did love the action scenes when they happened, Rick Riordan has a way of making his action scenes both exciting and hilarious and I love that, but I did feel like the pacing was a little off in this book compared to his other ones, they usually cover very little time (which this one did) and are pretty fast paced and parts of this book, particularly the first section, felt like they lagged. There also weren’t as many twists as the first book, for the most part it was very predictable, which meant it wasn’t quite exciting.

I did like the pop culture references in this, but I felt like the ones Riordan used in this book were a little older, and I didn’t entirely get all of them, so I’m not sure if the audience this book is aimed at would, as they’re a lot younger than me! Also some of the more recent ones will probably be quite dated in a few years!

I loved the new villain Commodus, even though I’m almost 100% certain that Rick Riordan picked him to be part of Triumvirate for the toilet humour! He’s kind of a comic, bumbling sort of villain, as opposed to Nero, who was genuinely scary and I liked the dichotomy between the two emperors. I’m looking forward to seeing who the last emperor is. I liked that he had a history with Apollo, it made the confrontations between them much more believable. I’m almost certain we haven’t seen the last of Commodus and that he will be back in future books.

I liked that we got to see the Hunters again in this book as we haven’t seen them in a while, and it was cool to be able to catch up with Thalia. Plus it felt natural that they would be involved at some point, given that Apollo is Artemis’ brother. It’s nice to know she hasn’t entirely abandoned him. I liked that it was established that no kind of romantic love at all is allowed in the Hunters, as that was a question I hadn’t even realised I’d had!

I liked that this book was again all set in one place, like the last book was in Camp Half Blood, as it allows for a different kind of story to the ones we’re used to in Heroes of Olympus and Percy Jackson, more mini quests as compared to the one large one.

The haikus at the beginning of each chapter were again a great addition, so Apollo, and they give you a little taste of what’s to come in the chapter.

I loved seeing Meg and Apollo’s relationship grow even more in this book, it’s clear he’s coming to really care for her and it’s great to see him go into all over protective mode when it comes to anything to do with Meg. I’m not sure if Meg is my favourite character, but I do love the side that she brings out in Apollo and I would like to see more of her backstory as I sense that there is more to tell there. She kind of falls flat compared to some of the other characters in this book.

It always amazes me how few days a Rick Riordan book covers, I think this entire book spans about a week? Yet so much happens in such a short space of time!

The ending was great, I feel like there’s a great set up for the next book, the “Dark Prophecy” of the title sounds like it’s going to lead to some interesting adventures and some familiar characters returning, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Whilst this book was not as exciting as the first one in the series, it was still a solid instalment, with some great humour, the return of one of my favourite characters, Leo, lesbians being adorable, Apollo being awesome and more adventures for our god turned mortal and his motley crew of heroes. I look forward to seeing what Apollo and Meg get up to next!

My rating: 3.5/5

I’m not sure what my next review will be as I haven’t decided what I’ll read next, I’m currently reading The Perks of Being A Wallflower, but it’s so short that I don’t think I’ll write a review about it, so it will be whatever I read after that!


The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and The Gods of Asgard #2)

27904311Book: The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and Gods of Asgard #2)

Author: Rick Riordan

I absolutely loved the first Magnus Chase book when I read it over the summer and so when I got this book as part of my October #otspsecretsister package (thanks Lorelai!) I knew I had to read it as soon as possible. I think I preferred the first book to this one, but this one was a very good and enjoyable read in it’s own right and it was exactly what I needed, the last few books I’ve read have been either been feel crushing (thank you Sarah J Maas), depressing (thanks to Challenger Deep) or rage inducing (thanks to No Virgin) so being able to read a funny book like this was such a refreshing break. I still loved the characters, both ones from the last book and new ones introduced in this book, the humour and the pop culture references, it was the plot of this one that I didn’t like so much, it was very……..the only word I can honestly think of to describe it is zig-zaggy and a lot of the stuff that the characters did just seemed like filler in order to get to the end. Don’t get me wrong, this was still a joyful romp through the Nine Worlds and I really enjoyed reading it, I just felt like some parts of it could have been better. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high.

First off, I need to talk about the characters because I loved them. As in the last book, Magnus was sassy and awesome and hilarious, although he was kind of outshone in this book by the new character Rick Riordan introduced, Alex Fierro. Alex was definitely the star of the show in this book, I absolutely loved him/her (and yes I say, him/her because Alex is gender-fluid so goes by both. It’s confusing at first, but Alex states his/her preference for pronouns throughout, so as long as you follow that, you will be fine). Alex was smart and sassy and fierce and I just loved his/her character so much! This is actually the first book with a gender fluid character that I’ve ever read, so I found that really refreshing. It also worked really well because Alex’s dad (well mum technically, but that’s a whole another story that you’ll have to read about yourselves) is Loki and since Loki is a shapeshifter, it makes perfect sense that one of Loki’s kids would be gender fluid. I really loved the friendship between Alex and Magnus, they bounced off each other and worked together really well and I sense that Magnus might have a little crush, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that progresses. I also enjoyed seeing Sam’s development in this book, we got to see more of her family and were introduced to her boyfriend for the first time and it was interesting to see how she handled her two worlds merging and also how she continued to handle her struggle with her identity as a daughter of Loki and a Muslim. I appreciated how sensitively Sam’s faith was handled as well, and that Magnus as an atheist was shown as respectful to her religion (as an atheist, it really bugs me when we’re shown as insensitive to religion, we’re not, we just don’t happen to have one ourselves). Jack (the Sword of Summer) was a particular delight, especially his crush on the Skofnung Sword, I found that far too hilarious. I also still love Otis the goat, though I’m pretty sure that’s just because every time I read his name, I think about my dog!

Whilst I appreciate that Riordan has clearly tried (and succeeded) in including more diversity in his new series, there were moments in this book that were kind of PSA-like and I didn’t love that because it felt like it kind of took away from the tone of the book.

I loved that we got to see Alfheim in this book and got more development of Hearth’s character and got to meet his dad. I swear Hearth’s life was so sad, I just wanted to give him a big hug! Blitz and Hearth’s friendship is also so cute (I ship it a little, shhh don’t tell). I get the sense that we’re not done with Hearth’s dad so I’ll be interested to see if he pops up in the next book.

The plot did seem like it jumped around a heck of a lot. I get that everything was building up to the big fight at the end, but it did seem a little unfocused through the book, like the characters were going on all these mini quests and you’re like “okay this is fun, but when do we get to the Hammer and the whole thing that this book has building up to?”. Don’t get me wrong, the mini quests were fun and they were all necessary to the plot in the end, but at the time, they did mostly feel like distractions. The Sword of Summer’s plot felt a lot more linear, whereas this one was kind of jumpy. I still enjoyed the ride and there were lots of hilarious moments and great fight scenes along the way, but I felt like there could have been a more focused way for our protagonists to reach their end goal and I couldn’t help but feel that in the end, the whole quest for the hammer was sort of pointless since it was basically all a trick by Loki.

I enjoyed that Loki formed a big part of this book, because his job is essentially just to mess everyone around and it’s kind of fun to see that, plus he’s a genuinely evil villain who you can really hate and I love having one of those around (though I think Hearth’s dad kind of ties with Loki as to who I hate more).

I noticed quite a few spelling and grammar errors in this book, which is unusual for a Rick Riordan book (or at least I’ve never noticed many before). It didn’t detract from the story much but it was a little jarring every time I came across one!

The pop culture references throughout the book were hilarious and on point and I love that Riordan has kept the trend of the funny chapter titles from the last book. I also liked that there was good mix of longer and shorter chapters. The Norse Gods are just hilarious especially selfie taking Heimdall and it was great to see even more of them in this book.

I liked that we got to meet Amir in this book and I thought him and Sam were really sweet and it was nice to see an arranged marriage that’s not portrayed as a bad thing (especially since the main plot of this book involves an unwanted arranged marriage as part of a Loki scheme).

There were a lot of times in this book when I wanted to scream at the characters for being stupid because some of the things that happened seemed so damn obvious to me and they never see any of them coming, but I love them anyway!

I’m hoping that in the next book we get to see even more of the Nine Worlds, we got Asgard and Alfheim this book, I’m hoping for Niflheim, Muspellheim & Helheim in the next book, then we will have seen all of them!

That ending! That ending! Rick Riordan is the king of the cliffhanger ending. I’m not sure I can wait a year after that. I’m mean that last line was everything but at the same time, I’m still like, damn you Rick!

I did enjoy this book, the characters, humour and pop culture references were on point, even if the plot was a little unfocused and I’m very excited to see what the finale of this book has in store!

My rating: 4/5

My next review will be of my current read, Snow Like Ashes.

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1)

the hidden oracle

Book: The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1)

Author: Rick Riordan

I was really excited when I first heard about this book because I knew it was going to be back at Camp Half Blood and hopefully featuring some familiar faces, plus Apollo has always been one of my favourite Gods, I love the way Riordan portrays him, he’s so hilarious, so I was really happy when I saw that this series was going to be all about him. I know some people say that Rick Riordan is milking the Percy Jackson world by doing so many series set in that universe but personally, anything he wants to write in this universe, I will read because I love this world and characters and this book was no exception. I loved being back in a world that is so familiar to me, these characters feel like old friends to me by now, though there are some new faces in this book. I cannot wait for the sequel now, May feels like so long away! How those of you who read this when it first came out have managed the year long wait, I do not know! Here is a short synopsis of the book:

How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour.

But Apollo has many enemies – gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

First off, I loved that this book had a map at the front of it. I’ve been wanting to see a map of Camp Half-Blood for years and now that we finally have one, I feel like I can picture the camp even better in my head than I did before, plus I just love maps, so I got ridiculously excited when this book started with a map!

I loved Apollo. I mean I really loved the glimpses of Apollo that we have had before in Riordan’s other books, but actually being in his head was a whole new level of hilariousness. I have always said that I prefer it when Riordan writes in first person, and this book was no exception, using the first person voice of Apollo was a stroke of genius. Plus because Apollo is a God, his voice sounds and feels a lot different that the demigod heroes of Riordan’s other series, his humour comes mainly from his self-obsession rather than sarcasm like Magnus or Percy. Apollo is a narcissistic asshole and he doesn’t bother trying to hide it (and I loved it!). Yet, despite him being incredibly narcissistic,  there is something inherently charming and loveable about him, and I loved watching his character develop through the book, realising that being a human is not so easy and that they do have something to offer definitely mellowed Apollo out a little, but without him losing his trademark humour (gosh the scene where he finds out he has acne is hilarious!). I loved how protective he was of his demigod children, and of Meg (who we will get onto later). I also liked how Riordan included some of Apollo’s heartbreaks in the book as well because it definitely helped making him seem more human. I actually hadn’t known that Apollo had been made mortal before in the myths, so that was pretty cool to learn.

I loved the little haikus at the start of each chapter as they gave you a hint as to what was going to happen and Apollo is the god of poetry so it worked really well there too.

I liked the small appearances by Percy in the book. Could I have done with more? Probably but I could always do with more Percy! But I was happy enough with the scenes we got, after all, this is Apollo’s book, not Percy’s. I loved getting to see his mum again (because I love Percy’s mum, she’s awesome) and the fact that he’s getting a baby sister made me so happy! I can tell that Percy’s supposed quiet year is not going to last long at all though. Our favourite demigod will be back and getting into some trouble during this series. Poor Percy, his idea of a quiet year never quite works out! I also liked the small Magnus Chase tie-in with the mention of Annabeth and it was nice to hear what all of the other demigods were up to.

I really liked Meg. I have read reviews that said they found her irritating and I can kind of see why but I enjoyed her character, she was feisty and kind of prickly and quite a complicated character because you can tell she knows more than she’s telling throughout the book. I appreciated that she was a daughter of Demeter (not a spoiler, it’s revealed pretty early on) who was actually pretty strong because they’ve classically been portrayed as quite weak in Riordan’s other books. I also loved seeing her relationship with Apollo develop through the book from him finding her irritating to grudging respect to genuine caring. I don’t want to spoil anything about Meg’s backstory, as it would be a bit spoilery, but I will just say that I found it incredibly sad. I was shocked by the way her story ended in this book and I hope she’s okay in the next one!

I loved Harley, the young son of Hephaestus, he was so cute, he’s only 8 and you just want to give him a big hug (and then run away really quickly because the kid is dangerous!).

I really liked the storyline of this book because I got to learn a lot about the Oracles and the Roman Empire, things that I didn’t really know about before. That’s one thing I always love in Rick Riordan’s books, that I always learn something new about mythology that I never knew before! I did feel however that the story was a little slower paced than I’m used to from Riordan’s books and whilst there was still lots of excitement, I would have appreciated maybe a slightly faster pace. I did love being back at Camp Half-Blood and getting to explore new settings like the Woods, which played a much larger part in this book than they ever have before. I also loved the return of camp activities, the three legged death race through the Labyrinth (which I wasn’t expecting to return so that was pretty cool) was awesome!

I wasn’t expecting to see Rachel Dare in this book either and I probably should have considering that she is one of the priestesses of the Oracles and I really enjoyed seeing her back, since I like her a lot more now she isn’t chasing after Percy! I hope to see her more in the other books of the series.

The villains of this book were completely unexpected and I loved how Riordan weaved the events of this book so neatly into his other two Greek/Roman mythology series and how it seems like all the events of the past 10 books (10 books, it seriously doesn’t feel like it has been that many!) have been building up to this. I get the sense that this series is going to be heavily Roman focused which I like because I don’t know so much about Roman mythology but I hope there are still some Greek mythology references in there too!

I found the new gods that we hadn’t seen before that were introduced in this really funny, I especially loved Rhea as I wasn’t expecting to see her in this book and she was so hippy and chilled and feminist and she made me laugh so hard! I hope we see more of her later in the series!

I also really liked seeing more of Will and Nico, they make such a cute couple! I love the casual way sexuality was treated in this book, Apollo is clearly bisexual and it’s no big deal and Nico and Will are so cute and the fact that they are both guys is also never made a big deal of. I look forward to hopefully seeing more of their cute couple-ness in the next few books of this series.

The final battle was absolutely hilarious, it was quite a surprise really because the battle scenes are usually the one serious part of Rick Riordan’s books but this one was so funny, I laughed a lot the entire way through. In fact all the fight scenes in this book were pretty funny!

There were some surprises through the book, all of which I thought were pulled off really well. I particularly liked the last one as a favourite demigod of mine made an appearance and it seems like they (I don’t want to ruin the surprise and say who, so I’m not even going to use gender specific pronouns) are going to play a big part in the rest of the series, which makes me really happy because I think that this demigod and Apollo interacting is going to be hilarious, from the little scenes we got to see at the ending of the book, our new main group of heroes have a lot of potential.

Basically, this book is hilarious, with a great new main character in Apollo, an interesting, even if slightly slow plot, a return to the world that we all know and love and some cameos from beloved characters as well as some great new characters and villains. I need the second book of this series right now!

My rating: 4/5 (I took a mark off just because I found it a tad slow in places)

My next review will probably be of my next read, the sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, as the e-ARC I am currently reading, Stealing Snow, will not be released until October, so if I finish it soon I’m going to wait a while before I publish the review.

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and The Gods of Asgard #1)

magnus chaseBook: The Sword Of Summer (Magnus Chase and The Gods of Asgard #1)

Author: Rick Riordan

I’ll have to admit, I was slightly worried when I heard about this book. I’ve never read anything by Rick Riordan that wasn’t Percy Jackson (for some reason I’ve never read his Egypt series, nor have I ever had the desire to), so I was worried that this would either feel like a weird carbon copy or would never live up to the series and characters I love so much. I am happy to say however, that I really, really enjoyed this book! It made me laugh, I loved the characters, I loved the world and I’m really excited for the sequel in October. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. His uncle tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

So, first off, what I loved about this book was the return of the funny chapter titles. If you’ve read Percy Jackson, you’ll remember that each chapter was titled after something funny that happened in the chapter. Rick Riordan didn’t do this for Heroes of Olympus and I missed it, so I was happy that this returned in Magnus Chase, it felt nice and familiar. The writing style reminded me of original Percy Jackson, without it feeling like a total carbon copy which I loved. It didn’t feel like I was just reading Percy Jackson with different characters, it felt like it’s own book which I appreciated.

Magnus was a great character, he was funny and snarky (like Percy but a slightly darker sense of humour) but he’s a lot tougher than Percy (having lived on the streets) and a little less goofy, but they share the wonderful loyalty and kindness towards their family and friends. He kind of felt like a mix of Annabeth and Percy to me but he had enough of his own personality quirks that he didn’t feel like a carbon copy and he’s such an unlikely hero (his battle with Surt may be one of the funniest battles I’ve ever read) that it’s really fun to follow him on his adventures (He’s kind of a hapless hero which is quite endearing). I also really loved Samirah, I’ve never actually read a book with a Muslim character before, let alone one that was smart, kick butt, loves to fly planes and is happy about her arranged marriage because she actually likes the guy. The first moment Samirah appeared on the page I was like “I like this chick” and that feeling remained through the whole book. I really liked reading about her family history too and I like to learn more in future books.

I liked the small links and references to the PJ Universe in this, every time I saw one, I smiled and did a little happy dance inside. I also loved the small Annabeth cameos throughout the book, she wasn’t there a lot but she was there and I really liked seeing the relationship between Magnus and Annabeth, and through Magnus, being able to learn more about the Chase family history (all of the Chases are seriously smart, I mean Magnus and Annabeth’s uncle is a professor and so is Annabeth’s dad, plus you have Annabeth,  there is some serious brains going on in that family, Magnus is maybe not as much but he still doesn’t seem to be completely dumb) and I can’t wait to find out more about the entire Chase clan in the next two books.

The chapters were pretty short for the most part, but I liked this though because it kept the pace moving at a relatively quick speed and I never felt like I was getting bogged down when reading, which I love.

I got ridiculously excited when Magnus mentioned one of my favourite authors (Neal Shusterman) which has absolutely nothing to do with this book and more to do with me loving it when fictional characters like the same authors that you do! Speaking of references to other books, whenever the Valkyries were mentioned, all I could think of was Valkyrie from Skulduggery Pleasant and I know she probably got the name from Norse mythology, but I still thought of her every time the Valkyries came up.

I loved Blitz and Hearth, Magnus’ sidekicks (along with Sam), a dwarf and an elf respectively. I think Blitz was my favourite of the two (fashion conscious dwarf is all I’m going to say) but I really loved Hearth too, he’s a deaf elf that can do magic, and he’s funny even without ever saying anything (as he signs everything). I really liked that he was deaf because you don’t see many deaf characters in books and yet his deafness wasn’t the most important thing about him. I definitely think Rick Riordan has got so much better at including diverse characters through the years and in a way that feels very natural (did I mention that Blitz is a black dwarf?). I loved the camaraderie between the group, they all were so different and yet they fitted so well together (kind of bonded by the pain they’ve all been through I think) and I think this may be my favourite group of characters Rick Riordan has put together yet.

I learned so much about Norse mythology through this book! I knew about Loki and Thor because they’re pretty famous, but I didn’t know anything about any of the other gods and I was worried this would mean I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as Percy Jackson (where I had some knowledge of Greek mythology before I read the book) but it was exactly the opposite, because I went in knowing nothing, I learned so much and that was really cool. I loved all the gods, as usual, Rick Riordan does a great job at giving them unique and distinct personalities. I think my favourite was Thor (his obsession with TV shows was hilarious) but I also loved Utgard-Loki (technically a giant and different to Loki), his scenes with Magnus were hilarious.

I was worried Magnus’ powers would not be as cool as Percy’s because his dad (not saying who it is as that would be a spoiler!) didn’t sound as cool as Poseidon, but luckily his powers were awesome! Sam’s powers were also really cool, I think if I had to pick a power from any of Riordan’s demigods, I would like hers.

There were so many hilarious moments through the book, I spent most of it laughing out loud. I honestly couldn’t pick a favourite moment, there were so many and I feel like I much prefer it when Rick Riordan writes in 1st Person POV than 3rd Person (like in Heroes of Olympus), I mean I found the Heroes of Olympus books funny but they were not as bust a gut funny as this book. There were also some great pop culture references in this which I really enjoyed.

Also the Sword of Summer……without saying too much because I don’t want to give spoilers, there are very few authors who could make me like and laugh at an inanimate object, Rick Riordan is one of them. That is all I’m going to say, I’d like you to discover the wonders of The Sword Of Summer for yourselves.

I also loved Otis the goat, simply because my dog is called Otis, so every time Otis appeared on the page, all I could think about was my dog and I was like “Yes, Otis!”.

I really liked that we got to see most of the different realms (we don’t get to see Alfheim, Muspellheim, Helheim or Niflheim) but we saw enough of the Nine Worlds that you get a good sense of the Viking Realm and I’m hoping that we’ll get to see the other 4 worlds in the next two books. Each of the worlds was really unique and I loved the idea of the World Tree as a way to transport the characters from one world to the next.

Despite Magnus being nowhere near as good a fighter as Percy (being a warrior, really not his thing) we do still get some pretty cool battle scenes in this book, all of which I really enjoyed. The villains (I’m not sure if I should say who they are, I don’t want to give spoilers!) were all really cool and worthy adversaries.

I loved that even though Magnus’ mum is dead (revealed within the first few pages so not a spoiler), we get to see through the book how much he loved her and how close they were when she was alive and I loved that, I kind of have a soft spot for guys who are close to their mums (probably one of the reasons why I love Percy so much). I also loved all of Magnus’ hallmates in Valhalla (Viking afterlife, Magnus is an einherji, essentially a dead warrior, again not a spoiler, it says this on the blurb) and I hope to see them a bit more in the next book.

It was interesting comparing Magnus’ first meeting with his dad to Percy’s, I feel like Magnus was a lot more chilled and less angry than Percy (which is strange because of the two, Percy strikes me as the more chilled) and far more willing to accept his dad, which has nothing to do with why I liked the story, I just found it interesting.

There were a few cool twists that I didn’t see coming, especially at the end and now I’m not sure how I’m going to wait to find out what happens next! At least the new book release is only two months away, not a whole year away like it would have been if I read this book when it first came out!

So basically, this book has a great cast of characters who are diverse and very different to the characters in Percy Jackson, a great plot, great new mythology, great world and the trademark Rick Riordan humour that we all know and love, so basically you should go out and get it right now because it’s amazing!

My rating: 5/5

My next review will probably be of 13 Minutes, the e-ARC I am currently reading as I am almost at the end of that.


The Blood Of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus 5) review

Book: The Blood Of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus 5)

Author: Rick Riordan

This is the last book in The Heroes of Olympus series (and the Percy Jackson series in total) and it follows seven demigods (half mortal, half god) as they fight to stop Gaea (Mother Earth) from waking and destroying the whole world. It also follows two other demigods, as they make their way back across the world, in order to return the Athena Parthenos to Camp Half-Blood and stop the Greeks and Romans fighting in order to stop the Greek and Roman aspects of the gods fighting against each other.

If you’re not familiar with these books already, basically the idea is that there are two rival camps of demigods (Roman and Greek, the Romans are children of the gods born to them in their Roman aspect, the Greeks are children of the gods born to them in their Greek aspect) and seven demigods (made up of demigods from both camps) have joined together and travelled to Greece in order to defeat the giants (children of Gaia) and ultimately Gaea herself. The seven demigods are Percy Jackson (son of Poseidon), Annabeth Chase (daughter of Athena, and Percy’s girlfriend), Jason Grace (son of Jupiter), Piper McLean (daughter of Aphrodite, and Jason’s girlfriend), Frank Zhang (son of Mars), Hazel Levesque (daughter of Pluto, and Frank’s girlfriend) and Leo Valdez (son of Hephaestus). They all have different powers depending on who their godly parent is. They are the demigods of the Prophecy Of The Seven, which goes like this:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire, the world must fall,
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death

Two lines of the prophecy have already been completed by The Blood of Olympus, as the seven half-bloods have been gathered and the doors of death were closed by Percy, Annabeth, the Titan Bob and the giant Damasen, a group that should usually be enemies (as two are demigods and the other two are a Titan and a giant respectively). The other two lines are explained in this book. The two other demigods (ie the ones not in the Prophecy of The Seven) are Reyna Ramirez-Arellano (daughter of Bellona) and Nico DiAngelo (son of Hades) who are the ones taking the Athena Parthenos back to Camp Half-Blood.

I enjoyed this book, but some parts of it more than others. I loved the addition of Reyna and Nico’s POV’s, those were my favourite parts of the book, and even whilst reading the other demigods POV’s I was excited to get back to Reyna and Nico and see what was happening to them. I loved that we got to see more of Reyna and her past was explained, it made me understand her more. After this book, she ended up being one of my favourite characters because she’s such a strong female character but she also has empathy with people and that’s just the type of female character I love. I liked that we got to explore her relationship with her sister Hylla more as well, especially since they make such a badass team. I especially loved her scene where she fought Orion, that was just amazing. As for Nico, it was great that he was finally really developed as a character and we got to see the full extent of his powers (he is definitely at least level with Percy in terms of how powerful he is, if not more because he can control his powers whereas Percy, though he’s got so much better at it, can’t always) which was great. I loved the scene between Nico and Hades, where Hades told him that all he wanted was for him to be happy. It was a nice fatherly moment for Hades which I liked a lot. I also loved the friendship that was developed between him and Reyna because Nico’s never really had a true friendship before and it was nice to see him have that. I liked that in the end he finally seemed to be on his way to being happy, having decided to stay at Camp Half-Blood and having made a new friend/possible new relationship with Will Solace. I loved those two together, they had such cute banter and Nico was so awkward, it was adorable. I liked that it was left open with them though, that it wasn’t specifically stated they were in a relationship but there was a definite hint of a possibility for a future one. It works so perfectly as well, Nico being the son of Hades and Will being the son of Apollo because they’re like the opposite sides of each other, Nico being darkness and Will being light. It was maybe a little forced, that Nico got over his crush on Percy and started to like Will so quickly but to me it seemed like it was just the start of their relationship and that it had the potential to develop in the future. I loved Percy’s reaction to Nico telling him about his crush at the end, it was such a typically dense Percy response (“I’m not your type?”) and the way Annabeth high fived him afterwards, I thought that was really cute.

I didn’t like the fact that Percy and Annabeth weren’t in this very much, especially Percy, they didn’t even get POV’s which I just thought was wrong because I knew this is the Heroes of Olympus series but they’ve been there since the very start and they really should be involved at the end, more than they were in this book. I also didn’t like how Annabeth and Percy were made to seem weaker to make Jason and Piper look better, it seemed like Riordan was trying to make us like Jason and Piper more, especially Piper by showing how strong and brave they were and whilst that’s fine, I wish it hadn’t come at the detriment of amazing characters like Percy and Annabeth. The fact that Jason was the one who saved Percy underwater was unforgivable, under the sea is Percy’s territory and it just felt wrong that Jason was the one doing all the fighting and Percy was incapacitated in a place where he should be the most powerful. There was a great Percabeth moment before they went to fight the giants when Percy finally told Annabeth that he loved her (took him long enough!) but I just wish there had been more of these two period.

I also felt that Frank and Hazel were kind of ignored in this book too. Frank was basically just there to either provide a distraction or as transport (he can transform into different animals) and for such a powerful demigod, I felt he could have been used more effectively and I would have liked to have seen more of him because I love Frank. Hazel didn’t really seem to appear much either, only to manipulate the mist when needed and I would have liked to have seen more of her although Reyna’s total awesomeness kind of made up for lack of Hazel. I would have liked to have seen more of Frank and Hazel’s relationship too. As for Frank, I don’t get why nothing happened with his firewood. Rick Riordan made such a big deal about the firewood and it being Frank’s lifeline that I really thought his firewood was going to burn up in this book, not that I wanted him to die but I don’t see why Rick Riordan added this to the book if he wasn’t going to use it.

Also he’s made such a big deal of Percy’s fatal flaw for so long and in the end his big decision was kind of glossed over, he had to let Piper, Jason and Leo fight Gaea alone and couldn’t go up and fight with them and I felt like he wouldn’t have let it go as easily as he did, he would have argued more. The decision didn’t seem to really be that difficult for him, he argued a little but then he just shrugged and walked away and I think considering how long we’ve been told Percy will have to face his fatal flaw for, he should have had to properly face it rather than what we were given.

I did like that we got to see more of Piper and Annabeth’s friendship and I liked the whole logical/emotional sides working together idea, I thought that was really good although as with Percy and Jason I wish it hadn’t come at the expense of Annabeth looking like a wimp because she’s such a badass female character and I feel in the final book that should have been shown more. Still I did like that Piper was actually seen doing stuff in this book rather than just moping about Jason the whole time, it made me like her character a little better, although she still doesn’t have a patch on Annabeth, Reyna or Hazel. I also liked that her charm speak powers had got a lot stronger in this book.

I’m also still not very keen on Jason, yes he was better in this book than he has been previously but he still feels like a less good, copycat of Percy even right down to the fact that he finishes the book intending for all the minor gods who were ignored after the end of the last great prophecy to be recognised-that is basically just doing what Percy did first! I’d rather read about Percy than his inferior copy. It was good to learn a little bit more about Jason’s life and his relationship with his mother though and I wish we’d gone into it a little more. I hated when Jason commented that “it started with us so it’s going to end with us’ about him, Leo and Piper because this whole series really started with Percy, Annabeth and Grover not them.

There was a lot of action in this book and I was kept on the edge of my seat pretty much throughout, I did not want to put it down. Having said that I think the action could have been better paced , yes it’s exciting but the fight with the giants is over in a couple of chapters, as is the fight with Gaea. I was a little disappointed that the fight with Gaia was so short, all it took was Piper charming her to sleep and then Leo blasting her into oblivion. She had been built up as an enemy worse than the titans yet it took far less time to get rid of her than to get rid of Kronos. As a villian, Gaea just wasn’t as good as Kronos was.

The humour in this book was as ever perfect, Rick Riordan has such a distinctive style of humour and he places it so well, the humour is always in such well selected places so that it breaks up the slightly darker parts of the book and it was especially needed here as some parts of the book were particularly dark. My favourite scene is the scene where they fight Nike, the humour there is just perfect and it’s also a great battle scene where we actually get to see Percy fight well! But they do seem to defeat her rather easily considering she’s the goddess of victory as they seem to defeat most of their enemies easily too, I wish they had been shown struggling to defeat their enemies more.

I would have liked to have seen more of the effects of Percy and Annabeth’s trip to Tartarus too, all we hear of it is their separate discussions with Piper and Jason respectively and that it basically makes them weak for the entire book which I think was out of character because I reckon that Percy and Annabeth going through Tartarus would actually make them stronger, having faced the worst thing they’ve ever faced in their lives. It would have been cool to see them talking about it together or maybe seeing nightmares they have or just something more than just them talking to other people about it.

Leo was just awesome in this book, whilst I do love seeing Percy be the hero, I’m glad he finally got his moment to prove himself as a great hero and throughout the books it’s been hinted that he was the one who was going to destroy Gaea (I know Piper and Jason helped but I see this as Leo’s moment, Leo’s victory). Whilst I would have liked his moment to be a little longer, I thought it was great. I also liked the way Octavian came into play in Gaea’s death, it was really great and so very….Octavian, and I didn’t really like him that much anyway so I wasn’t too sad about what happened to him, he kind of deserved it after making the Greek and Roman camps almost kill each other and this way he got to have a hero’s death (kind of). I wish Leo had come back to Camp Half-Blood after he came back to life so he could have let Piper and Jason see that he was okay, I feel he owes them that much at least. I was glad that in the end, he got his happy ending with Calypso.

I loved seeing Camp Half-Blood again, I hadn’t realised how much I missed reading about it until they were back there. I liked seeing all the characters from the PJO series back even if it was only in little moments and it seemed fitting that the final battle against Gaea would take place there as the books started off with Camp Half-Blood, it only felt right they should end there too. I wished that when they were back at Camp Half-Blood there would have been a Percy/Grover reunion since they are best friends and we did spend five books with them together, I felt like just a small scene with them reuniting would have been appropriate. Another reunion I thought would have been appropriate is Percy and his mom, I mean he’s been away for how long and we don’t get the chance to see him going back home and seeing his mom again? It just doesn’t seem like Percy that he wouldn’t do that, I mean obviously he wouldn’t during the war but afterwards it would have been nice to see that. I also would have liked to see more of Percy with Poseidon, we only really get a short glimpse of the two of them fighting together and I love their relationship so I wish we could have seen some of that as well. I would also have liked to see some Percy/Tyson as they are brothers and I felt that was missing here. I loved the fact that Clarisse was Coach Hedge’s son’s godmother, that was great.

I think considering this was the last book and there was a huge battle, more people should have died. I mean I know Leo did but he came back to life and Octavian doesn’t really count as he’s not one of the seven and there are a couple of hunters but you don’t really hear much about that. I thought the sacrifice to Gaea meant that two demigods would have to die (I was hoping Jason and Piper, no offence to those who like them, I just don’t) and their blood would have to be spilled in order for Gaia to rise. Instead it was just a couple of drops of blood from Percy and Annabeth (don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they didn’t die but it just seemed kind of pathetic). Having said that, I thought the fact that the blood from Percy came from an unintentional nosebleed was hilarious and so very Percy. Still I think not having many people die was a bit of a cop out considering how much death there was in The Last Olympian.

I thought it was quite cool how the Amazons and the Hunters were shown together, since they both have similar outlooks on men, it was great to see them fighting together. Speaking of the Hunters, I wish we’d seen more of Thalia, she kind of seemed to just pop in and out and there weren’t any long scenes with her. It might have been nice to see her with Jason again since we haven’t seen them together since The Lost Hero or to see her with Percy and Annabeth again as we haven’t seen them together in even longer. It also seemed a bit strange that the gods didn’t reward the seven for defeating Gaea like they rewarded Percy, Annabeth, Grover and Tyson in The Last Olympian for defeating Kronos.

I loved Coach Hedge in this, he was still the funny, loveable goofball we’ve come to know but he actually felt like he was a real asset to Nico and Reyna especially when he healed Nico who was nearly dead, rather than just being used as a device for more jokes. I’m so glad he got back safely and got his happy ending with his wife and newborn son. On a side note which is kind of related I love the table Buford with it’s mini coach hedge hologram that shouted funny things, that was hilarious.

I liked that Leo and Percy talked about Calypso, it felt like something that was much needed after the last book. I wish they’d had more scenes together though as the scenes they did have together were golden. In fact I wish Percy and Leo had become real friends, I mean they like each other well enough at the end of the book but I’d rather have had Leo and Percy as good friends than Jason and Percy. There is just too much comedy gold to be had in a Leo and Percy friendship and I wish Riordan had explored it more as they are my two favourite characters.

The ending was okay but I just don’t really like open endings, they leave me with so many unanswered questions that make me long for another book which sucks when this is the last book in the series. I would have maybe liked an epilogue to see how everything turned out for everyone, just so I could have some closure on this series and I didn’t feel like I got that which was annoying.

I liked that Jason finally met Zeus but I hate Zeus as a god, he’s so mean and he was awful to Apollo (another one of my questions that I want answered-what was Apollo’s punishment, if he got one at all?) but I guess it was nice that Jason got to have a moment with his father even if it was only brief. When are the gods going to be frickin’ grateful for everything the demigods do for them? It’s a cycle, demigods save the world, gods barely seem to give a damn, demigods feel resentful. I was kind of hoping that cycle would be broken with this final book but it doesn’t seem to have. Also I’d rather have seen Athena and Annabeth or Percy and Poseidon or even Leo and Hephaestus than Jason and Zeus even though I did like that Jason finally met his Dad, I like the other gods and other characters better. I enjoyed the sections with the gods in them and actually wish that had been extended because I love almost all the gods (aside from Zeus) or had sections with major gods rather than new minor gods that were introduced and not really needed.

Overall I felt this book was okay but I have to say, after House of Hades it was kind of a letdown. I loved House of Hades so much and I was expecting this one to be just as awesome but it just wasn’t and I put that down to lack of Percy and Annabeth. I felt that it was kind of rushed and I would rather have had a longer book or have him extend it into two books which might have worked better as there are so many questions left unanswered. As a series, I have enjoyed Heroes of Olympus, mainly due to the introduction of Leo but I preferred PJO, maybe because I was younger when I read those books but I just thought they were better written, more enjoyable and had a more satisfying conclusion. I’m not saying you shouldn’t read this book, as a book on it’s own it’s perfectly fine but as a series finale of books that I’ve been reading for years, it was not as satisfactory as it should have been.

My rating: 3/5 (it kills me to give a Percy Jackson book any less than 4 but I don’t feel that this book was good enough to warrant that rating).

The next book I will be reviewing is the final book of the Skulduggery Pleasant series, The Dying of The Light by Derek Landy. I hope this book has a more satisfactory conclusion than Blood of Olympus.