The Trials of Apollo:
Tyrant’s Tomb, Book 4
By Rick Riordan
The Trials of Apollo:
Tyrant’s Tomb, Book 4
By Rick Riordan
It’s not easy being Apollo, especially when you’ve been turned into a human and banished from Olympus. On his path to restoring five ancient oracles and reclaiming his godly powers, Apollo (aka Lester Papadopoulos) has faced both triumphs and tragedies. Now his journey takes him to Camp Jupiter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the Roman demigods are preparing for a desperate last stand against the evil Triumvirate of Roman emperors. Hazel, Reyna, Frank, Tyson, Ella, and many other old friends will need Apollo’s aid to survive the onslaught. Unfortunately, the answer to their salvation lies in the forgotten tomb of a Roman ruler . . . someone even worse than the emperors Apollo has already faced.
Check out the Reviews!
Review by THE BOOK BREAK host, Melissa Dalton:
“I listened to the audio book version of The Warning and the narrators were fantastic! The narrators, along with the good writing of the authors, did a great job really making you feel like you were right there in the action and knew every character personally. The character development was well done and made me as the reader/listener, have an emotional connection to everything they were experiencing. The way the authors weaved humor into the storyline and into the personalities of Jordan and Maggie, was brilliant! Jordan and Maggie were very likeable characters, although there were a few more cliché moments between them than I would have liked. Although, romance can be a little cliché even in real life, so it worked.”
“I enjoyed the face pace of the story. The book was an enjoyable read and there were twists and turns that kept me wanting to read further to find out what would happen next. I would recommend this book for someone looking for an easy-to-read, fast paced, action packed, dystopian, science fiction novel.”
Review by Angela Eschler:
“Set around the San Francisco Bay Area—where New Rome and the tombs of ancient zombies lie—The Trials of Apollo series continues with Tyrant’s Tomb (Book 4) by Rick Riordan. The story follows the god Apollo, who’s been kicked to the curb by his abusive father Jupiter (Roman name for Zeus)—doomed to a mortal form and fulfilling a difficult and dangerous quest before he can rejoin the gods. Apollo, powerless and now in a very-non-godlike teen body and going by the name Lester Papadopoulos, must save New Rome and himself by teaming up with demigods and minor gods he once scorned—many of whom also hate him.
Things that keep the reader turning pages: Good overall pacing with literary ticking time bombs (on several fronts), high stakes for beloved characters, atrocious bad guys readers will love to hate, mysterious and muddy prophecies that foreshadow doom but then turn into twists, and humorous asides worthy of out-loud laughter.
Better yet, Apollo’s character arc from class-A jerk-god to empathetic and repentant human is truly powerful and the backbone of the story. And his “why me?” self-deprecating voice is one of the funniest and most delightful in its story world (as a series within the world of Percy Jackson and the Olympians). In a time when it’s easy to lose faith in humanity, this book reminds the reader that people can change—a very hopeful message indeed.
Readers will also enjoy the surprising mini history lessons and jabs that illuminate some of our modern words and cultural roots, though a few cultural allusions may go over the heads of teen readers (but with the rebirth in popularity of “old” music, fashion, analog, etc., but there’s always hope I’m wrong!).
For all its humor, the book also seriously and reverently explores the themes of loss and grief, war and violence, forgiveness, sacrifice, and regret. There is plenty of heart and honesty to balance the humor. In fact, there were a few moments where the immediate onset of humor might have clipped the wings of an emotional moment, but in a book for young readers, balancing the weight of the world by lightening the tension may be the best way to go.
Despite the heavy moments, the story builds to a satisfying conclusion and sets the reader up for book five (but with space for a breath rather than a cliffhanger), the final, much anticipated volume.
Things to consider, depending on reader sensitivities/maturity/age:
- A fairly realistic portrayal of the horrors of war and violence (though not overly gratuitous, the emotional impact is honestly explored, and a few scenes were wince-worthy)
- References to teen sexuality
- The injury or deaths of characters the reader may love
- References to abusive relationships
- Readers may want to start at the beginning of the series to fully appreciate Apollo’s character arc (though Tyrant’s Tomb is 99% effective as a standalone)
Reasons to read:
Review by Gregory D. Little:
With the action confined to the San Francisco Bay Area (the location of New Rome, just roll with it), Riordan relies on several metaphorical ticking time bombs, ominous prophecies, and the growing dread of impending attack to keep the tension climbing. The reader is never far from the next joke, however, the tension well-leavened by snarky, first-person commentary throughout.
The book pulls off the same trick as the Assassin’s Creed series of video games, combining high adventure with history and mythology lessons. Riordan does an admirable job weaving characters and creatures of myth into a modern setting. The pettiness and fickle nature of the Roman pantheon, long a storytelling goldmine, is on full display. Apollo’s character arc is well-executed, as the nearly powerless god-turned-mortal is repeatedly forced to reckon with the consequences of some of his most morally appalling acts from before he knew the pain of being human. He shows real growth by the end, and it feels earned.
While interested readers would be advised to start with The Hidden Oracle, the first book in this series, Riordan does a thorough job in both bringing readers up-to-speed and keeping the action self-contained to this volume. In fact, this “previously on” style of narrative interruption is sometimes to the detriment of the book’s pacing, particularly in the opening third. But the story’s action builds to a satisfying conclusion, finishing with a much-needed denouement and a solid setup (rather than a cliffhanger) for the final volume.”
Review by Gama Ray Martinez:
“The Tyrant’s Tomb is the fourth book in Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo series. The end of the previous book saw the death of Jason Grace, and now, Apollo and Meg are transporting his body home, to Camp Jupiter. There we encounter Hazel, Frank, Tyson, and others who we haven’t seen since the Heroes of Olympus series. In addition, we learn what happened as a result of a thread laid down two books ago: the attack of Camp Jupiter.
This book shows us an Apollo that is really maturing, changing from the spoiled former god we’d seen in previous books. Aspects of that are still there, but I love the growth we see here. The same goes for Meg. I really enjoyed the evolving dynamic between these two.
All that being said, I did feel like the end dragged on. Most of the book was leading up to a huge battle, but once that battle was done, the wrap up took too long. Additionally, the final battle in this book was such an epic event that the lead in to the next book felt more like an afterthought.
As always, Rick Riordan weaves mythology with humor in a wondrous story. Admittedly, some of the side quests felt a little cliché, but that didn’t stop the story from being enjoyable. Particularly, the part in the story about the silent god was masterfully written.
I am thoroughly looking forward to book 5, though it has a high standard to meet.