I’ve read all novels by Rick Riordan so far, not counting companion books. And I’m such a fan, I always try to score his latest book as soon as it comes out. So, I bought The Burning Maze immediately. It’s the third book in the Trials of Apollo series, in which Apollo is fallen from grace. His father, Zeus, banished him to a mortal life as Lester; a not quite as handsome teenager.
The Heroes of Olympus return
What I really like about Rick Riordan, is that all his books co-exist in the same universe. That way, characters can make an appearance in other books from other series. For instance, we saw Annabeth and Percy appear in the Magnus Chase series, as Annabeth and Magnus are cousins. Riordan’s ‘main’ hero still is Percy Jackson, but there are now seven Heroes of Olympus who all play a big part throughout his mythical books.
We already saw Percy, Annabeth, Leo (and Calypso) in the first two Apollo books. In the Burning Maze, it’s time for Piper and Jason to reappear and take center stage at some point. It’s implied that Hazel and Frank will return in the fourth book. Now, I wasn’t thrilled when Piper returned. She was always my least favorite of the seven. But this time around, she wasn’t a POV character which actually made me like her a lot more. It also seems as if she’s more grown up now. Jason is always welcome. He is cool and also went through some character development. Yup, he’s still rocking those glasses. Let’s take a look at what Goodreads has to say about The Burning Maze:
I WAS A GOD, ONCE. UNTIL I WAS CAST OUT BY MY FATHER, ZEUS.
NOW I’M AN AWKWARD MORTAL TEENAGER CALLED LESTER. BOUND TO A DIFFICULT AND DANGEROUS DEMIGOD CALLED MEG. THANKS A LOT, DAD.
My way out? A series of scary and dangerous trials, of course.
For my third mission, I must:
Journey through the Labyrinth to free an Oracle who only speaks in puzzles.
Defeat a vicious and bloodthirsty Roman Emperor – the most vicious of three very vicious and bloodthirsty Roman Emperors.
Is that all? No, I’ve to do everything without any of my godly powers. Wonderful. Looks like I’ll be needing all the help I can get. From new friends, and old . . .
Can you read the Trials of Apollo seperately?
I reckon you could, but I don’t advice on it. You can read it without ever reading the Kane Chronicles or the Magnus Chase books though. This is Greek mythology, not Egyptian or Norse. But I strongly recommend reading the Percy Jackson books first. And even if you want to skip those (which you could), the Heroes of Olympus is a must read before starting with Apollo. You’ll miss out on a lot of inside information and a lot of character backgrounds if you haven’t read those five books.
That said, I didn’t find my vibe with the first two Apollo books. I liked them, but I didn’t love them, as I did Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus. Those were awesome books. But Apollo? I liked him better as a God then as Lester. I also don’t like Meg, the other main character. It’s not that she’s a terrible character, she just doesn’t do it for me. But, things changed with The Burning Maze. It feels like this is a more ‘heavy’ book, if you will. It’s not as light hearted as the first two books. And that’s because…
Riordan pulls a George R.R. Martin
Because Riordan kills off a main character in this book. It’s very un-Riordan like, as mostly, his characters stay alive. But, unlike that bastard George R.R. Martin (no, he’s not a bastard but he did write the Red Wedding and I’m still shook), Riordan at least has the decency to warn his readers. Take a look at the pictures.
First of, above right, there’s the dedication in the book. Well, doesn’t that look promising? Second, there’s the very first page, pictures left. Take a look at the last sentence in particular. Only suffering awaits. This is the second warning. And finally, in the chapter where SOMEBODY DIES, there’s this haiku at the start.
No good news awaits
I warned you right at the start
Turn away, reader
Now, I won’t spoil who dies right here, you’ll have to scroll through the spoiler warning below, after the conclusion. But trust me when I say this death is shocking and these warnings are good to have.
+ Best book in the Trials of Apollo series so far
+ It’s Rick Riordan, he can’t do wrong
+ Funny and high paced as ever
– Still not as good as Heroes of Olympus
– I still don’t like Piper but she grows on me more
– A main character dies and it’s horrible
So who dies in The Burning Maze? Spoilers!
Be aware! By reading any further, you will find out what character dies in The Burning Maze. If you wish to stay happy and ignorant, click away now!
So, as soon as I read all the warnings by Rick Riordan, I feared for my two favorite characters: Leo and Nico. I assumed Percy and Annabeth were safe, as I don’t think anything bad will happen to them (again).
Luckily for me, my boys were safe. Nico (sob) doesn’t even make an appearance in The Burning Maze. Leo does, but at the very end and it’s pretty short (sob again).
So who dies in The Burning Maze? I’m sad to say it IS one of the seven Heroes of Olympus. I already spoilered that Hazel and Frank will probably appear in the fourth book, so they are safe for now. Which leaves Piper and Jason. And yes. It’s true. Jason Grace dies in The Burning Maze. It’s quite definitive as he is stabbed several times and his body is in a coffin at the end of the book. But he does die heroically, saving his friends. RIP Jason Grace, you will be missed.