[Warning: This is a spoiler-free review, but I will be referencing some events from previous books in the series, so if you haven’t started it at all yet, beware. Click here for my reviews of The Hidden Oracle and The Dark Prophecy.]
Reunited with his demigod master Meg, Apollo finds his way to Southern California, where another of his Oracles is held captive inside a burning maze, and the third and most powerful member of the Triumvirate is waiting to perform a ritual that will make him the new god of the sun – at the cost of Apollo’s life.
In terms of plot, this series is only getting more exciting as it goes on, and the stakes are continuously getting higher as Apollo begins to care about more than just regaining his immortality… and is put in situation after situation that threatens those things – and people. I also liked The Burning Maze‘s Oracle, Herophile, a lot; her backstory made her symaptheic, and the puzzles that she used to make her prophecies created some interesting obstacles for the characters.
Where most of Riordan’s series have a set core cast, I appreciate the roulette of companions in Trials of Apollo, and in this book it was great to see what Piper, Jason and Grover have been getting up to post-their own series. Grover in particular was a pleasant addition, as he hasn’t been a major character in any of the books since becoming a Lord of the Wild, which one would imagine would cause some dramatic changes in his life. However, I didn’t think that any of these characters had quite as interesting a dynamic with Apollo as Leo and Calypso did in The Dark Prophecy, and although I’ve been trying to like Meg (the only more permanent supporting character in the series), I still find her a little grating.
Additionally, while the leader of the Triumvirate (whose identity I won’t be revealing) made for an intimidating villain, he was somewhat underwhelming compared to Commodus, whose history with Apollo made facing him in the last book feel really personal – which was my favourite thing about The Dark Prophecy…
So, I didn’t enjoy The Burning Maze quite as much as its predecessor, but it was still an excellent entry in the series, and I’m looking forward to reading the next one (The Tyrant’s Tomb, which is due to be released in September).