The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo #3)

The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan

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. Thanks a lot, Dad.

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. . . .

Author: Rick Riordan

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Rating: 4.5/5

“Jason took me by the shoulders—not out of anger, or in a clinging way, but as a brother. “Promise me one thing. Whatever happens, when you get back to Olympus, when you’re a god again, remember. Remember what it’s like to be human.”

A few weeks ago, I would have scoffed. Why would I want to remember any of this?

At best, if I were lucky enough to reclaim my divine throne, I would recall this wretched experience like a scary B-movie that had finally ended. I would walk out of the cinema into the sunlight, thinking Phew! Glad that’s over.

Now, however, I had some inkling of what Jason meant. I had learned a lot about human frailty and human strength. I felt…different toward mortals, having been one of them. If nothing else, it would provide me with some excellent inspiration for new song lyrics!”

I. LOVE. RICK. RIORDAN. Every time I read one of his books, I vow to be more critical and resist giving him yet another high-star review. I don’t know why I do this. He never disappoints me. I am always entertained and even moved.

Like I did with all his titles, I listened to this one’s audiobook. The narrator for Apollo is downright hilarious, and it helps that he (the character as portrayed by the voice actor) reminds me a lot of one of my friends. But also, it must be so fun to write these books, because the jokes are super clever and funny. I definitely guffawed a few times on the subway while listening!

Apollo starts this series as very cocky, out of touch with reality, the opposite of empathetic, and vain. As the story goes on, he begins to shed those labels piece by piece. By the end of this book, he is really starting to be a likable character with a big heart. Bad timing for him, because the emotional depth of the story is growing, too. This book was heart-wrenching for those who’ve read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and then the Heroes of Olympus series. Yes, the series is better for it, but come on, Rick. Why must you do this to us???

Adults and children alike should have this one on their lists.

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