Oh, you thought this was a trilogy? It's not.
Yes, the Trials of Apollo series is scheduled for five books, not three. Because there are five oracles our lovely god of pimples and flab has to free. In true Rick Riordan fashion, The Burning Maze leaves you on a cliffhanger. Like, "Jump you'll break every bone in your body when you hit the bottom" type of cliff. After emotionally gutting you, of course. Because he kills off one of the fandom's most beloved characters.
I won't name names. (And for those of you who want to make comments, try to avoid spoilers for the sake of those who haven't read the book yet. It literally came out last week, so most people haven't had a chance to read it yet.) Suffice to say, it's suitably heroic and horrible.
Ironically, that's also the point where Apollo starts to become more likable as a character. He's been getting there. At the start of the series, he was insufferable, and we enjoyed it whenever he suffered because he deserved every minute of it. The end of The Hidden Oracle (book one), when he risks his life to save Meg and realizes this quest is serious, marks the first big change. But he was still uncomfortably self-centered throughout book two, The Dark Prophecy, even as he is now able to sympathize with the mortals and demigods around him. He certainly cares a lot more about Meg, given that he risks his life again to save her and does everything in his power to help her heal and avoid going back to Nero.
But while Apollo has obviously suffered, he had yet to experience a serious loss before The Burning Maze. We writers call this "The Ordeal," or even "the Death." This can be the metaphorical or, in many cases, literal death of the main character. It's their lowest point, because you can't change as a person until a part of you dies.
Suffice to say, this book sees the death of the worst of Apollo's narcissism. The urge to punch him in the teeth has decreased drastically. It sucks that it comes as such a high price, but that's life. And that's what makes this story so good.
On a brighter note, the next book will take place in New Rome, which means we'll be seeing Reyna, Frank, and Hazel in the fall of 2019. I have a sneaking suspicion that book five will include a proper reunion of all (surviving) members of the Seven Heroes of Olympus, plus Nico and Reyna. And hopefully Will, because Solangelo is my life.
Of course, that's assuming no one else dies a horrible, horrible death that leaves us in tears.
A girl can dream, right?
The first Dragons, Zombies and Aliens blog was started in 2015. Somewhere between college coursework, paying rent with door-to-door sales, and keeping up with my sorority sisters, I wrote reviews, rants and commentaries on books, TV shows, and movies. Now, this blog has moved, improved, and the sky's the limit!