Marshmallow reviews The Tyrant’s Tomb (Book 4 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan

Marshmallow has already reviewed the first three books in Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo series for the book bunnies blog. This week she got her paws on the fourth book, The Tyrant’s Tomb, and read it in lightning speed. Below she shares her thoughts on this 400+-page book, published in paperback only this month.

Marshmallow reviews The Tyrant's Tomb (Book 4 of the Trials of Apollo series) by Rick Riordan.
Marshmallow reviews The Tyrant’s Tomb (Book 4 of the Trials of Apollo series) by Rick Riordan.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you have enjoyed reading Rick Riordan’s other books or if you like mythology, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): In the first book of the Trials of Apollo series, Apollo, the god of music, prophecy, and archery, was transformed into Lester, who is described as the “most worthless of teens,” by a mutual friend in one of the past books. Now he is carrying the body of a deceased friend who was killed in the last book. (I will not say who died. I am not spoiling that much!)

While on the road to Camp Jupiter, a training camp for Roman demigods, or half-bloods as they are also called, Lester and his master Meg McCaffrey are attacked by ghouls. They are rescued by a group of campers from Camp Jupiter, led by a pink-haired girl named Lavinia. They are taken to Camp Jupiter, where they are welcomed by the praetors Frank and Reyna. Lester sees in a dream that an evil Roman emperor is now working with the Triumvirate. (We learned about the Triumvirate earlier. It is made up of Caligula, Commodus, and Nero, three evil Roman emperors who are enemies of Apollo/Lester and his friends.) Now the Triumvirate is working with a new ally, and Apollo has a new deadline: in four days an evil army of undead will be unleashed upon the Camp. 

Marshmallow is reading  The Tyrant's Tomb (Book 4 of the Trials of Apollo series) by Rick Riordan.
Marshmallow is reading The Tyrant’s Tomb (Book 4 of the Trials of Apollo series) by Rick Riordan.

Marshmallow’s Review: The Tyrant’s Tomb is a good book. However, I think that if you want to read The Tyrant’s Tomb, you need to have read the first three books in the Trials of Apollo series. I would also highly recommend reading Riordan’s earlier books in the Heroes of Olympus series and the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series to give you the full context of the story and the backstories of the characters.

Rick Riordan does a good job of “interacting” with the reader and being funny. Lester is a hilarious narrator. His haikus are funny and it is always amusing to try to guess what they mean: they are sneak peeks of the chapter they start. Here is a favorite, from page 114:

I now have a plan
To make a plan concerning 
The plan for my plan 

I think that The Tyrant’s Tomb is a good book for almost everyone, though it might be too complicated or scary for younger readers. (It is not really horror. It is scary more around the level of the Harry Potter books, possibly less than the later books of Harry Potter which turn quite dark.) The plot is well thought-out and everything is all tied up at the end, though the next book, The Tower of Nero, is the true end of the series and I can’t wait to read it.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates The Tyrant's Tomb (Book 4 of the Trials of Apollo series) by Rick Riordan 95%.
Marshmallow rates The Tyrant’s Tomb (Book 4 of the Trials of Apollo series) by Rick Riordan 95%.

Marshmallow reviews The Burning Maze (Book 3 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan

This week Marshmallow continues with Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo series and reviews the third book: The Burning Maze.

Marshmallow reviews The Burning Maze (Book 3 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan.
Marshmallow reviews The Burning Maze (Book 3 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about Greek and Roman mythology, then this might be the book for you. But I will add my usual warning again: if you have not read the earlier books in the Trials of Apollo series, I think you should go back and read those before you dive into this one.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Zeus has turned Apollo into an average teenager and now he has a twelve-year-old master, a satyr guide, and an assignment to restore all Oracles.  This time he has to help find the Oracle of Erythaea. He reaches California and meets some old friends and makes some new ones. Apollo and his friends learn more about the identity of the third emperor in Triumvirate Holdings, a company who is behind many of the assets that previous enemies used. Apollo and his friends learn that the third emperor is set on trying to become the new Apollo and wants to have an old enemy boil the current Apollo with Helios so then the emperor can eat them and become the new sun god. This will mean that Apollo and Helios will cease to exist. It seems that Zeus will allow this, and Apollo will die. The stakes couldn’t be higher for Apollo (and also for California, because the book has an interesting explanation of what is going on with California wildfires…)

Marshmallow is reading The Burning Maze (Book 3 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that The Burning Maze is a great book because the author, Rick Riordan, adds jokes and, basically, comic relief to his books. Of course if you read some of his other books, from his Percy Jackson and the Olympians or Heroes of Olympus series, and more, then you would know that. Also another interesting thing in this book is that as the book and the series progresses, so does the character of Apollo/Lester Papadopoulos. He basically grows, though also quite physically, more down-to-Earth. 

This book does talk somewhat about history, but you don’t really need to know anything about it, though knowing some Roman history would mean that you might be able to find out who the bad guys are faster. At the end of this book the heroes receive a prophecy of a sort, and it links to a character I really like.

Though this is a great book for everyone, I think that people (and bunnies) of age 9 and up might like it especially. 

I really enjoyed reading The Burning Maze. I think that it’s funny, especially Apollo/Lester’s conversations with the Arrow of Dodona are very well-written. The plot is very well thought out and the clues are great. The characters are well developed, too; each character has flaws and skills that make them more realistic and more relatable.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates The Burning Maze (Book 3 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Burning Maze (Book 3 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan 100%.

Marshmallow reviews The Dark Prophecy (Book 2 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan

Marshmallow wrapped up 2020 with a review of The Hidden Oracle, the first book in Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo series. She begins 2021 with a review of The Dark Prophecy, the second book in the series.

Marshmallow reviews The Dark Prophecy (Book 2 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan.
Marshmallow reviews The Dark Prophecy (Book 2 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you have enjoyed reading some of Rick Riordan’s books or if you just like reading about Greek mythology, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Apollo has been transformed into a teenager with flab, acne, and no “eight-pack abs”. His demigod master has left him and now he has been flying with two other heroes (whom we have met before in the Heroes of Olympus series). Finally they land in Indiana, only to find that a lot of the people there are not human, they are blemmyae, monsters that are pretending to be humans, waiting for Apollo. Apollo and his two friends are captured by these blemmyae, but luckily for our heroes, the blemmyae are obsessed with being “polite” so when they are going to try to kill Apollo, they are still obsessed with making sure that they say thank you. So when they are trying to kill him, they are sure to make sure that they listen to his “last words”, which turns out to be a hilarious summary of the first book

Eventually Apollo and his friends are rescued and brought to a magical building. There is much to learn about this building. In this book, the reader will uncover some of those as well as some other secrets that Apollo keeps buried deep inside.  

Marshmallow is reading The Dark Prophecy (Book 2 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan
Marshmallow is reading The Dark Prophecy (Book 2 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that all of Rick Riordan’s book in general, at least the ones I have read, are all really well thought-out and really well-written. This one, especially, is very well thought out as the author takes mythology and adds it to his own earlier stories to make a very well designed and intricate plot. If you know a thing or two about Roman history, then that might help you because at the beginning you don’t exactly know everything about who the bad guys are. There are clues of course: the clues are stuff like someone whose name means “Little Booties” and someone who likes to think of himself as “The New Hercules” and more.

But if you are going to read this series, like always, I will recommend that you start by reading the first two series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus. The characters’ background stories from earlier series add a lot to the current series.

This is a great book for all readers, but it may confuse younger readers, as the story gets a bit convoluted (in a good way!), so maybe it is better for ages 7 and up.   

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates The Dark Prophecy (Book 2 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Dark Prophecy (Book 2 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan 100%.

Marshmallow reviews The Hidden Oracle (Book 1 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan

In 2020, Marshmallow reviewed several books by Rick Riordan. First she reviewed three books from his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series: check out her reviews of The Lightning ThiefThe Sea of Monsters, and The Titan’s Curse. Then she reviewed all five books of his Heroes of Olympus series: The Lost HeroThe Son of NeptuneThe Mark of AthenaThe House of Hades, and The Blood of Olympus. She also reviewed Riordan’s books on Greek gods (Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods) and on Greek heroes (Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes). In her last review for 2020, she wanted to talk about the first book of Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo series, his third on Greek and Roman mythology: The Hidden Oracle. Sprinkles, who has not yet started this third series, wanted to know more and so is asking questions and taking notes for this post.

Marshmallow reviews The Hidden Oracle (Book 1 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan.
Marshmallow reviews The Hidden Oracle (Book 1 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan.

Sprinkles: So Marshmallow, you finally got your paws on Rick Riordan’s third series on Greek and Roman mythology. How did you like this one?

Marshmallow: Well, I have only read the first two books so far, but I think that they are really successful. The previous series were written by demigods, but this one is narrated by Apollo, the sun god. Except that he is no longer a god: he has become mortal because Zeus got mad at him for something he did in the Heroes of Olympus series and turned him into a mortal as a punishment.

S: That sounds like an interesting premise for a new story line.

M: Yes! Apparently he had been made mortal before and he knows what he is supposed to do to become a god again. He has to find a demigod who will claim him and he has to serve this demigod as they together attempt a quest.

S: So there is again a quest in this series? Or a series of quests, one per book?

M: Sort of. There is one big quest, involving oracles, but there are smaller things Apollo has to do in each of the books.

S: So you said this book is narrated by Apollo, or—what is his mortal name?

M: His name is now Lester Papadopoulos. And yes, he is narrating the story.

S: How do you like that?

M: He is a fun narrator to read. He is funny and likes to glorify himself. As the god of sun and poetry and such, Apollo is a bit full of himself. When he becomes mortal, he is still full of himself. Listen:

“The only thing I knew for certain: my punishment was unfair. Zeus needed someone to blame, so of course he’d picked the handsomest, most talented, most popular god in the pantheon: me.”

pages 2-3

S: That does sound hilarious! I thought that in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Riordan really seemed to enjoy narrating through Percy’s perspective. And in the Heroes of Olympus series, I had the sense that he most enjoyed being Leo, even though the narration was in the third person, listening to him go on and on as Leo, I felt that he was at his best. So here we now read through Apollo / Lester’s voice, and it sounds like it is once again pretty good.

M: I think Riordan likes humorous narrators. Making them goofy and making us laugh with and at the narrator. Apollo is really fun to read. He puts haikus at the beginning of each chapter.

Marshmallow is reading The Hidden Oracle (Book 1 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan. Here she is showing us how each chapter starts with a haiku.
Marshmallow is reading The Hidden Oracle (Book 1 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan. Here she is showing us how each chapter starts with a haiku.

S: It sounds really like I might have to read this book Marshmallow! So tell me a bit more about this first book. This is when Apollo is coming to terms with being mortal and figuring out how to get back, right?

M: Yeah. We see him try and find a demigod to serve. And it seems like he wanted Percy Jackson to be the one but he was claimed first by a girl named Meg.

S: Ooo, so we meet a new demigod! Meg.

M: Yes. Meg is yet undetermined. We do not know her godly parent at the beginning. There are some clues already in the first few chapters, and we figure things out by the end of this first volume.

S: That is intriguing. Hmm, so Percy is still around in this book, too?

M: Yes. And later on in the other books, some of the other demigods we know from the earlier series begin to show up too.

S: So who is your favorite character in this book then?

M: There is a peach spirit, named Peaches. I think that he is my favorite character because he is really loyal. He is kind of a demon baby, but he is nice to the good people in the story. But back to Percy and Apollo and Meg. Here is a dialog Apollo has with Meg about Percy that can give you more of a sense of what Lester / Apollo is like:

“Meg,” I said, “I realize some demigods are not good. I could tell you stories of all the ones I’ve had to kill or transform into herbs–” “Herbs?” “But Percy Jackson has always been reliable. You have nothing to fear. Besides, he likes me. I taught him everything he knows.” She frowned. “You did?” I found her innocence somewhat charming. So many obvious things she did not know.

pages 24-25

S: That sounds like a book I want to read! So let us wrap this up so you can give me the book! How do you want to rate The Hidden Oracle?

M: I rate it 95% only because one has to have read the earlier books to get all the jokes and really appreciate this book. (You might also benefit from knowing some things about the Beatles…)

S: That is perfect Marshmallow! Let us now wrap up your last review of the year. Do you want to say something to our readers?

M: Yes. Happy holidays and happy new year to everyone! I will have more book reviews for you in February 2021!

Marshmallow rates The Hidden Oracle (Book 1 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan 95%.
Marshmallow rates The Hidden Oracle (Book 1 of the Trials of Apollo Series) by Rick Riordan 95%.