This review is one I have been both looking forward to and dreading writing all year. With The Tower of Nero being the last book in the Percy Jackson universe, it’s hard to believe this saga has finally come to an end and I swear, I haven’t felt this upset to say goodbye to a series since I finished Harry Potter.
Anyway, I knew I wanted to post this review on a special day, and what better day than today, my second blogversary! I started blogging as a hobby with no idea of how long I would have the motivation to keep going, but two years later, I’ve only grown more invested in it, and sitting down to write these posts is the part of my day I look forward to the most.
Title: The Tower of Nero
Series: The Trials of Apollo #5
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Mythology
Published: October 6th, 2020 (Disney-Hyperion)
Synopsis: It’s time to face the final trial…
The battle for Camp Jupiter is over. New Rome is safe. Tarquin and his army of the undead have been defeated. Somehow Apollo has made it out alive, with a little bit of help from the Hunters of Artemis.
But though the battle may have been won, the war is far from over.
Now Apollo and Meg must get ready for the final – and, let’s face it, probably fatal – adventure. They must face the last emperor, the terrifying Nero, and destroy him once and for all.
Can Apollo find his godly form again? Will Meg be able to face up to her troubled past? Destiny awaits…
The conclusion to The Trials of Apollo series brings Apollo’s final challenge, and the most daunting one of all. He and Meg are on their way back to New York to confront the last Emperor of the Triumvirate, Nero. But even if they manage to defeat Nero, Apollo’s old nemesis, the serpent Python, still waits in the shadows, having taken over the sacred shrine of Delphi, the last and most powerful oracle.
“But if a hero isn’t ready to lose everything for a greater cause,
is that person really a hero?”
This book has had me unable to concentrate on any other book since August, so now that I’ve read it – warning: long review ahead, because I’ve been piecing together this post for a while now. I binge read this book in about 5 hours which should say everything. This review is spoiler free!
Things do not look great going into The Tower of Nero, and the odds are definitely against our heroes. My biggest question going into this book was how Apollo’s return to godhood and Olympus was going to come about – and indeed, if he would choose to return at all, given his changes in perspective over the last couple of books.
“When he’d told me to remember being human, he’d meant building on pain and tragedy, overcoming it, learning from it…to be human is to move forward, to adapt, to believe in your ability to make things better. That is the only way to make the pain and sacrifice mean something.”
Where the past four books have been about teaching Apollo some harsh lessons of life, now is the time to see exactly how much has sunk in and this culmination of Apollo’s arc truly illustrates what a magnificent job Rick Riordan has done with this character. Apollo has really taken Jason’s words to heart and there is little to no trace left of the arrogant and self-absorbed immortal we were first introduced to. He has not only understood the value of being human, but has finally grown into a true hero to an extent that frankly, had me in awe.
Meg’s journey is an equally important one. Their final quest’s path leads straight to Nero’s doorstep and this is the time to find out if the trials of the past few months have made her strong enough to stand up to the stepfather who has manipulated her all these years.
“Apollo will fall, but Apollo must rise again.”
I’m trying really hard to keep things vague and not give away too much, so here goes. I basically read the entirety of this book through my fingers, praying that no one else would die, not after the events of the last two books. As far as heroic and noble sacrifices go, it was not the one I expected at all – but it hurt no less.
The Tower of Nero also turned out to be quite a nostalgic book in the most unexpected ways, even if Rick Riordan insists on torturing us with visions of Jason – but let’s go on to more happier things. Rachel makes a surprising return in this book with a significant role to play and also demonstrates the power of a blue plastic hairbrush yet again. Nico and Will are also central characters this time around, they are adorable and I am so glad they’re ok. Nico has grown so much over the course of this series and I’m glad this book took the time to address everything that he has been through and how he is still struggling to deal with it all. Will on the other hand, is a character we don’t really know all that much about, but his role in this book definitely shows us that he is not to be underestimated. Despite the overall serious tone of the book, the signature humour of these books, not to mention Apollo’s voice have not changed at all, and I was very glad for it.
And shockingly, this was the one book I didn’t hate Hera in, and would have actually liked to see more of her since she seems to have learned a few hard lessons along the way too. Apollo’s manner of reunion with his godly family was really up in the air until it took place, and while in the initial books, I was expecting a huge blowup, by the end of this book, what happened was more in line with Apollo’s new, mature perspective on life.
After that intense and eye-opening fight with Python, the ending that followed was comparatively mellow – but it felt right, and I can’t remember the last book I read that just left me feeling so content. It was perhaps not entirely what I thought would happen, but it was unexpected in the best of ways.
It was an interesting choice to leave this story a little open-ended. There is still scope for a spin-off series, and while we never heard the prophecy, we can always hope. That was a plot point from The Heroes of Olympus I’ve always wondered about.
I was 11 years old when I picked up The Lightning Thief for the very first time, and ever since, the Percy Jackson books have been a constant companion on my reading journey to this day, fourteen years later. It’s hard to believe that this adventure has finally come to an end. I’m truly going to miss these books and I imagine this will remain a lifelong favourite for me. For all you fellow Percy Jackson fans out there, I hope you enjoy reading this finale as much as I did.
“However, anytime you take aim and prepare to fire your best shot, anytime you seek to put your emotions into a song or poem, know that I am smiling on you. We are friends now.
Call on me. I will be there for you.”
Have you read this book or do you plan to? What did you think of this final installment in the world of Percy Jackson? Let me know in the comments below!
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