Title: The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo #3)
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Middle grade mythological fiction
Published: By Disney-Hyperion on May 1st, 2018
ISBN13: 9781368024129 (US Hardcover edition)
The formerly glorious god Apollo, cast down to earth in punishment by Zeus, is now an awkward mortal teenager named Lester Papadopoulos. In order to regain his place on Mount Olympus, Lester must restore five Oracles that have gone dark. But he has to achieve this impossible task without having any godly powers and while being duty-bound to a confounding young daughter of Demeter named Meg.
With the help of some demigod friends, Lester managed to survive his first two trials, one at Camp Half-Blood, and one in Indianapolis, where Meg received the Dark Prophecy. The words she uttered while seated on the Throne of Memory revealed that an evil triumvirate of Roman emperors plans to attack Camp Jupiter. While Leo flies ahead on Festus to warn the Roman camp, Lester and Meg must go through the Labyrinth to find the third emperor—and an Oracle who speaks in word puzzles—somewhere in the American Southwest. There is one glimmer of hope in the gloom-filled prophecy: ‘The cloven guide alone the way does know’. They will have a satyr companion, and Meg knows just who to call upon…
As it’s a Rick Riordan book, I had very high expectations for it, as I always do. He’s one of my top three favourite authors of all time and he gets better with each book, so I was eagerly anticipating this sequel!
This series has been getting more intense with every new release and the stakes higher. In this one, Apollo and his friends tackle the third emperor and his minions. Meg is a constant at Apollo’s side again and I liked her character in this far better as she goes through her own character arc, especially with respect to confronting her painful past. Apollo’s character development continues with the story and he’s almost unrecognisable from the person he was at the beginning of the series. I adored the cameos made by characters I’ve come to love from Percy Jackson and the Olympians as well as The Heroes of Olympus series. The plot in this book has the same formula as the rest of Rick Riordan’s books but it felt a lot more complex and developed than the other two, which had mostly linear storylines. The larger scheme of things that were only hinted at in the previous books are built upon some more and the tone becomes much more darker. The setting in this book, along with the special meaning it holds for the characters, gives a sad, nostalgic feeling and worked really well with the plot. As I can’t go into the specifics without spoiling things, I will just say that my experience reading it was heart-breakingly emotional and I enjoyed it thoroughly. All I want now is for the next book to be in my hands already!
I would highly recommend fans of Rick Riordan who haven’t yet checked out this series to do so immediately and without hesitation. I also think fans of middle grade fantasy definitely need to give Uncle Rick’s books a try if they haven’t yet. For the music, I’d suggest some nostalgic instrumental music, with preferably flute sounds. As for the food, have some enchiladas handy or you’ll regret it!
Have you read The Trials of Apollo series? Are you a fan of Rick Riordan’s book? Who are your top three favourite authors? Let me know in the comments section below.