I was worried going into this, but I should’ve trusted you, Rick Riordan. This was awesome.
After the events of the Burning Maze, Apollo and Meg race to Camp Jupiter. There, they team up with old friends of ours as they attempt to stop the emperors from destroying the demigods, and to understand how the ancient Roman king, Tarquin, fits into the story.
The loss of a friend has sobered Apollo in this book. He has a better perspective on life and death, and seems to be taking the lives of the demigods more seriously. Sure, he’s still awkward and self-centered, but he’s also caring. I have loved watching his growth as a human being, and I’m sure I’ll love it in the final book. Also, he and Meg have a fantastic relationship. They’ve really found their groove here, at turns exasperated and annoyed, then concerned and affectionate. This sibling relationship they’ve cultivated is by far one of my favorite aspects of this series.
My other favorite aspect is encapsulated in one word: Reyna. The praetor of Camp Jupiter has a fantastic, moving storyline of her own. I didn’t expect Riordan to include a subplot about self-acceptance, but it’s so empowering for the target audience, and I absolutely loved it. Just another reason I admire him.
Seeing other returning characters—Frank, Hazel, Ella, and Tyson—was wonderful. It’s enjoyable to see how they’ve evolved over time, Frank in particular. Newcomer Lavinia kind of stole the show; she’s interesting, quirky, and sassy—all things I like.
The plot is pretty fast-paced, as the stakes of the overall story are getting higher. I wasn’t blown away by the silent god story line, being much more interested in the emperors; however, I liked learning about a bit of lore from ancient civilizations. The action scenes are strong and heart-pounding, and the climax is a roller coaster of excitement, sadness, and exhilaration.
More than just the action scenes, I thought Riordan explores an interesting theme about past wrongs. Many of Apollo’s less-than-admirable actions come back to haunt him here, and so he learns a lesson about consequences, accountability, and earning forgiveness. This lessons adds to his character development as a human, which I’ve already mentioned as something I particularly love in this series.
In the end, The Tyrant’s Tomb is a terrific book. Character evolution follows along the same path Riordan has established from the beginning; the conflict reaches its most intense point yet; and the themes of friendship, love, and redemption really shine through. I cannot wait for the final installment in the series!
Overall rating: 9/10