Boats, Heartbreak, and Mazes REVIEWING The Burning Maze

Welcome back to The Real World According To Sam! We're continuing our countdown to the Tower of Nero! Today we are talking about the third book in The Trials of Apollo series. We are still continuing with our Countdown to Nero!

We are 1 week and 6 days away from the release of The Tower of Nero (October 6, 2020)!

This is a The Dark Prophecy SPOILER LAND, because this is a sequel.

This review of The Burning Maze is completely spoiler free for this installment.

The Burning Maze

Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: YA Fantasy
Year: 2018

The Burning Maze


The formerly glorious god Apollo, cast down to earth in punishment by Zeus, is now an awkward mortal teenager named Lester Papadopoulos. In order to regain his place on Mount Olympus, Lester must restore five Oracles that have gone dark. But he has to achieve this impossible task without having any godly powers and while being duty-bound to a confounding young daughter of Demeter named Meg. Thanks a lot, Dad. 

With the help of some demigod friends, Lester managed to survive his first two trials, one at Camp Half-Blood, and one in Indianapolis, where Meg received the Dark Prophecy. The words she uttered while seated on the Throne of Memory revealed that an evil triumvirate of Roman emperors plans to attack Camp Jupiter. While Leo flies ahead on Festus to warn the Roman camp, Lester and Meg must go through the Labyrinth to find the third emperor -- and an Oracle who speaks in word puzzles -- somewhere in the American Southwest. There is one glimmer of hope in the gloom-filled prophecy: The cloven guide alone the way does know. They will have a satyr companion, and Meg knows just who to call upon...


Alright, so we're at this book now are we? What fun we have ahead of us. Am I being sarcastic? Just a bit. This an interesting book. We last left Apollo with two Oracles fixed up and three more to go. He was in Indianapolis, but now we are changing locations again. This is a new adventure, we need new familiar faces, and we need a new Oracle to repair. Can Apollo fix it? Maybe, if he gets lucky. 

The synopsis wraps it up pretty good. Leo is no longer a main part of the team because he has another task to take care of. So Festus and Leo are out. We still have Meg and....we need a satyr. I don't know about you all, but I don't know very many satyrs. I'm just going to say that this satyr, is very good at what he does and I like having him around. In this book, we also get to see a couple of familiar faces, although their lives are very different from when we last saw them. Honestly, I don't want to give anything about this one away as far as some of those details. 

I'm going to keep this as bare bones as possible. In a nutshell: the familiar faces are characters I love, there are familiar foes, the action is insane, and this one is a definite a couple of ways. Why? Because Uncle Rick loves to THROW SPEARS IN HIS READERS HEARTS. Is that enough? Am I done? Cool, bye! 

Just kidding. I'm still here. This book is probably my least favorite of the series so far, because of the events of the story. The things that happen are just....they're not a good sign of the rest of the adventure to come. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad book. This is a very good book. It is full of action and adventure. It has fun obstacles, great characters, and I liked the locations. We get to be tossed back into the Labyrinth, because who doesn't love THAT place?! It was so much fun for our heroes to nearly die in when we first experienced it, so why not have a second look with some different heroes? That definitely sounds like a good time! Ironically enough, the Labyrinth isn't even the worst/scariest part of this book. The real trouble happens when you hop aboard the S.S., that's not the name of any boat in this book, but it generically sums up how I feel about this specific mode of transportation in this particular book. Anyway, to get back on track, this book has a lot of danger, a lot of turmoil, and a lot of characters dealing with hard choices and consequences. 

A good component about this book is that the characters get pushed to some of their limits. They have new goals, but these goals aren't always achievable. There are roadblocks and foes who won't pull back punches when trying to kill you. Apollo gets pushed farther than he has been and he is forced to really contemplate what it means to be human. This is something that he has done lightly in past books, but that really starts to be a main focal point of this one in particular. Apollo has to think about what his godly life was like and how he thought of humans, compared to what he now knows based on actual experience. I really like how much he is having to adapt and learn throughout this journey. 

All in all, this book is intense. This is the most intense book in the series so far, and the craziest we have had since The Last Olympian, in my opinion. We aren't even at the final book yet, so I don't even know what the next couple of books are going to put us through. Our foes are definitely formidable and I want to see how Apollo deals with everything. I give The Burning Maze a Lone Star rating of ✯✯, just like the previous one, but I don't know that I'll be re-reading this one. I'm pretty sure once was enough. 

This concludes another review here at The Real World According To Sam where I bring the books right to your screen, and even throw in my own two cents about them!