Gods and Monsters and Maniacs Oh My!

Review of the Fifth Book of The Trails of Apollo.

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Maxie Eller, Newspaper Managing-Editor

It seems that everything has led to this moment, to this book. The Trials of Apollo: The Tower of Nero is Rick Riordan’s fifth and final book in his Trials of Apollo series, and I really didn’t expect to be this emotional about it. After years of reading the Percy Jackson books and the Heroes of Olympus series, I had high expectations for this final series in Riordan’s Camp Half-Blood Chronicles, and the Tower of Nero didn’t disappoint. I was hooked from the first page and enjoyed every moment of my reading experience. 

The final installment of Riordan’s Trials of Apollo series, The Tower of Nero follows the exiled god Apollo in his final quest to destroy the reincarnated Roman Emperor Nero and the mythical serpent Python. The task would be daunting enough with godly powers, but Apollo has been cast off from Olympus is now a mortal by the name of Lester Papadopoulos. The fate of the world rests on the shoulders of this ex-god and a ragtag team of demigods including Meg McCaffrey, a demigod daughter of Demeter and also an adopted daughter of Nero, Will Solace, Apollo’s demigod son, Nico DiAngelo, a demigod son of Hades, and Rachel Elizabeth Dare, the Oracle of Delphi.  

Throughout the story, our heroes must navigate the streets of New York City, avoid murder cows, recruit a small nation of underground creatures, infiltrate the most heavily-secured building on the planet, and save the world. All under a 48-hour deadline. No big deal, right? The plot is action-packed without feeling overwhelming and includes breaks for dialogue and story-building. 

What’s so entertaining about the book is the unique characters that Riordan has managed to create. Apollo, as the narrator of the story, adds a humorous perspective to events that might seem to be far more serious than he makes them out to be. Each of the characters is unique and adds something new to the story, which can be hard to find in a book. The villain, Emperor Nero, is a character that is easy to hate. He not only wants to see the world burn but is an emotionally abusive father and crazed maniac. 

The story also covers deeper topics that I didn’t expect from a book about teenage demigods. The subject of domestic abuse is present in Meg’s struggle to face her adopted father Nero. Apollo throughout the series has come to terms with his current situation and what humanity has to offer, but this final book explores what it means to be human. It casts humanity in a new light, showing that while we do have faults, humans do care about and try to do what they can to help others. 

Overall, The Tower of Nero was a great read. I smiled, laughed, and sat on the edge of my seat throughout reading it and I know that you will too. I highly recommend taking the time to read this book and the rest of Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo series.