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I just finished the newest novel in the Camp Half-Blood world, and this is the first time we have had a book that is a standalone in this universe and not an installation in a series!
If you just finished this book or are reading through it and need a recap of what happens chapter-to-chapter, then I’ve got you covered.
Below, I’ve written a complete The Sun and the Star summary (and I included some of my thoughts at the end hehe).
Probably don’t need to say this, but just in case, spoiler alert!!! I’m major spoiling the book below, so if you don’t want anything spoiled, finish the book and then come back to this!
The hardback version of The Sun and the Star has a map of the quest that I think perfectly outlines the story and adventure of our two leading lads as well, which I found very helpful during my first read-through.
Camp Half-Blood – Chapters 1-6
Our story begins at Camp Half-Blood. Nico and Will are saying goodbye to Kayla and Austin (two children of Apollo) for the school year, and it’s established that Nico and Will will be the only two campers staying at Camp Half-Blood.
The Grey Sisters arrive at camp to taxi the two Apollo kids, which is a fun throwback with the crazy fates and their one eyeball.
We learn that Nico has been suffering from nightmares and PTSD from the events of The Heroes of Olympus and The Trials of Apollo.
In chapter three, he wakes from a dream where he hears a voice calling out to him, “I need you, Nico de Angelo. I need you”. Nico believes this voice to be Bob, the Titan, formally Iapetus.
Nico’s dreams are particularly horrible, and we see a nightmare where he is forced to re-live the outing of his sexuality caused by Cupid in The House of Hades.
Nico begins to question if these are really just nightmares or if there is something more nefarious at work.
He is woken by his boyfriend, Will Solace, who tells him that they have a visitor, Rachel Elizabeth Dare. She then promptly opens her mouth and green smoke pours out!
Rachel does not only give the new prophecy, but she also informs them that she has turned into a bit of a broken record of an oracle and that this same prophecy keeps coming out of her mouth, almost demanding to be brought into action.
“Go forth and find the one who calls your name.
Who suffers and despairs for refusing to remain.
There leave something of equal value behind.
Or your body and soul no one will ever find.”
Now that they have a prophecy, Nico decides he must go on a quest to Tartarus to save Bob, who has been calling his name.
Will decides he will accompany Nico on the quest, and even though there is not a third person, Chiron and Mr. D agree to the two demi-god’s quest.
This, to me, is the first plot hole in this story, and it made no sense as to why they didn’t need a third demigod! It almost felt like lazy writing, just not wanting to add a third character to the story, but that’s just my hot take of the day.
Anywho, the two boys begin to prepare and pack for the quest, and Will is very organized and very overpacked. Nico is all, “I just need a t-shirt and my sword,” and gives Will a hard time for all the things he is packing.
They decide to take a taxi rather than the subway, and Nico begins to be frustrated by Will’s concerns about the underworld. Nico feels as though his own darkness and angst are parts of him that Will cannot understand.
Sally Jackson’s Apartment – Chapter 7
At Sally Jackson’s apartment, Iris messages Percy and Annabeth, who are currently enrolled in college at New Rome University.
When Percy and Annabeth learn of Nico and Will’s plans to go back into Tartarus willingly, they try to discourage them from taking on the quest.
However, unable to deter them from their quest, they remind Nico and Will that the most helpful and important thing to remember when they are in Tarturs is that they have each other.
The Door of Orpheus – Chapter 8
After leaving the Jacksons, the two demigods make their way to Central Park to the Door of Orpheus, which is another landmark we have seen in previous Camp Half-Blood novels.
When Will sings and opens up the doors to the Underworld, they are hit with the smells of decay, dust, and other underworldly smells, which Will thinks are very stinky, but they remind Nico of home.
This is the beginning of a recurring theme throughout the book where Nico is frustrated by Will’s fear and distaste for the Underworld, where Nico finds it beautiful and familiar.
They enter the steps into the Underworld, but there is something off! They hear voices, but Nico thinks it’s just their minds playing tricks on them.
They reach the end of the steps, and can hear the river Styx. Will’s knees hit the grass and they are somehow transported back to Central Park and the Door of Orpheus.
The Steps to the Underworld – Chapters 9-10
Nico and Will re-enter the door to the underworld, and when they start to get close to the end of the steps once again, Will begins to fall asleep.
The underworld starts to fade from around Nico, and he frustratingly finds himself once again at the top of the steps and in Central Park without Will.
We switch to Will’s POV, and we see him and Nico reach the ends of the steps, finally in the Underworld.
Nico promptly jumps into the river Styx, and Will is very confused because he can’t even think of a time that he has ever seen Nico swim. Also, Nico seems different!
Nico calls Will a coward for not wanting to jump in and swims away. Will jumps into the Styx, trusting Nico, and is met with unimaginable pain from the water of the Styx. He tries to follow Nico, but Nico leaves him behind as darkness envelopes Will.
Hades’ Palace – Chapters 11-12
Nico makes the journey to the bottom of the steps and is overwhelmed by how tired he is.
When he reaches the Underworld and Hades realm, he sees a shadow over Will’s sleeping body, and it appears to be cursing him. He hears it say, “Sleep, demigod”.
Nico tries to attack the shadowy form, but the monster/demon is all darkness and not exactly stabbable.
Nico learns that its name is Epiales and that he is responsible for their difficulty entering the underworld. He also learns that the dreams he has been having of Bob are from someone Epiales refers to as “mother”.
They fight, and he attacks Nico and wraps him in his darkness. Nico tries to stay awake but eventually can’t help but give in to the nightmares.
Nico wakes from his nightmare with his hands around Epiales throat. Epiales is the demon of monsters and uses his powers to summon a manticore.
At this point, Will wakes to Nico with Epiales over him, saying, “You can’t defeat me. I am darkness. Yours, Will’s, everyone’s.”
Will stands up and, as the opposite of darkness, uses his powers of light, which shoot out of his chest, killing the Manticore and shocking Epiales.
Will then uses his newly found powers again, making Epiales disappear. This new power of his grants him a new nickname from Nico as his own demigod Carebear. Then Will passes out!
Side note: there are SO many times that these two characters pass out in the span of four hundred or so pages, and it’s a bit frustrating how repetitive it is.
River Styx – Chapter 13
Will takes a bit of a power nap, and Nico watches him rest. Nico begins to question if he is truly happy, or, as a child of Hades, if being happy is even something he is capable of.
Throughout the whole book, Nico struggles with feeling as though Will is always trying to fix him and doesn’t fully accept him how he is.
Conversely, Will struggles to try always to be pleasing Nico but at the same time feels like he is walking on eggshells.
When Will wakes up, they both realize that the moments in the Underworld up till the fight with Epilaes had been nightmares.
Now that they are safely in the Underworld, Nico calls out to the Troglodytes.
After the events of The Tower of Nero and the Tauri Sylvestres destroying the underground home of the Trogs, Nico has been working with the Troglodytes to help them set up a new home.
Trogs’ Home – Chapters 14-20
If you read the Trials of Apollo series and were a fan of the Troglodytes, you’re gonna LOVE this book.
They spend SO much time at Troglodyte HQ, and we see the return of Screech-Bling, the Trog CEO, as well as some new characters like Hiss-Majesty.
When the boys arrive at the new home of the Troglodytes, Will is surprised by how wonderfully they have adapted to the Underworld.
He can’t fully understand how they can find a place that’s so uncomfortable a perfect home, which annoys Nico (a common theme in this book…).
The Trogs smell something dark coming off both the boys, and this, combined with the mentioning of “mother” by Elipales, has Nico summoning The Council of Troglodytes to explain who he thinks mother is and create a plan to save Bob.
When the council is summoned, Nico explains that he believes that it is Nyx who is holding Bob captive, and who they will ultimately have to face in Tartarus.
This leads Nico to explain what really happened when he was in Tartarus for the first time.
We flashback to Nico in Tartarus and we learn just how he ended up being captured by Otis and Ephialtes in The Mark of Athena.
After days of traveling through Tartarus with no luck finding The Doors of Death, Nico stumbles upon a doorway and enters it, hoping that it is the doorway that he has been looking for.
Well, in Tartarus, things are just not that easy! He enters the home of Nyx (though he does not know it yet). He is met by Hypnos and someone referred to as “mother” (later to be revealed as Nyx).
When Hyponos refers to “mother” as Nyx, Nico starts to put together just whose home he is trapped in. Nyx is one of the primordial goddesses, like Gea, and was born from chaos.
She is the embodiment of night and darkness. Nyx dislikes the imbalance of Nico being a child of Hades who lives on the earth and tells Nico that she will make him choose between the underworld or the world above.
She firmly believes in being born into one’s nature and not straying from it. This is her whole issue with Bob because he was born evil and a titan but has changed, and she cannot understand that.
This is when the twin giants show up, and Nyx lets them take Nico away, which leads to the whole Nico-in-a-jar situation.
After telling the council about Nyx, the Troglodytes agree to help the two young demigods by escorting them via a shortcut to Tartarus.
Nico and Will both rest before they set off on this next stage of their quest. However, in their sleep, they both have nightmares.
Scary Tunnel – Chapters 20-21
As they set off into the Underworld to find the shortcut to Tartarus, Nico begins to notice the toll that the Underworld is taking on Will and that he is struggling to keep up.
After they have been traveling for a while, the Troglodytes reveal that there is just one more obstacle they must pass before they reach the shortcut, Menoetes’ farm.
Menoetes’s Farm – Chapters 22
Menoetes, who’s in charge of taking care of Hades’ cattle, is delighted to see the two demigods and their Troglodyte companions, as he can inform Hades that they are not only trespassing in the Underworld but that they also plan to go to Tartarus.
Menoetes only agrees to not snitch on the boys if they will go to the garden of Persephone and retrieve fruit that he can give to his boyfriend (because apparently, Menoetes is now dating the giant Geryon from The Battle of the Labyrinth).
Nico and Will agree to go into Persephone’s garden and steal fruit even though it is dangerously close to Hades’ palace and could wind up getting them caught by Hades and derailing the whole quest.
Persephone’s Garden – Chapters 23-24
Will and Nico hop on some super-speed donkeys and make the travel back to Hades palace in record time.
When they arrive at Persephone’s garden, Will is taken aback by the beauty of the garden and how everything has managed to grow without light.
This is the first time that Will begins to see that there is beauty in the Underworld, and it broadens his mindset.
The boys decide that they will snag a couple of pomegranates for Menoetes, and Nico goes to check if the coast is clear. Suddenly, a figure comes out from behind a bush, and Will freezes.
Will is frozen by both the shock of Persephone’s beauty, and because he is caught red-handed.
Will tries to explain that he and Nico are on a quest and that they are only stealing because they have to.
Will ends up asking Persephone how she loves someone from the Underworld, and this leads to a beautiful heart-to-heart between the two that is one of my favorite scenes from the book!
Persephone explains that though Will is full of sun, he still has darkness in him too. She tells him to offer Nico not only his light but also his darkness.
She explains that feelings are not enough, and you have to choose to love people. Ridden with guilt, Will tries to give her the pomegranates back, but she insists that he takes them as a gift.
Will returns to Nico, thinking about all that Persephone told him, and the two boys return to Menoetes’ farm.
Drakon Fight – Chapters 25-26
Since Menoetes has his fruit from Persephone’s garden, the group continues to find their shortcut to Tartarus.
They are led by the Trogs down a dark pathway, and Will loses his step and falls, causing Nico to yell after him. This alerts the Drakons that are nearby to the presence of the group.
Screech-Bling goes to look for Will so Nico can go help Hiss-Majesty fight the Drakons. Nico is able to slice through the Drakons’ scales with the help of the very speedy Hiss-Majesty, and they overtake the Drakons.
Will wakes up from what feels like his one-hundredth time passing out, and the injuries from the fall, along with the overall toll that the lack of sun has been having on Will’s body and healing abilities, leave the son of Apollo looking not-so-hot.
At this point, Nico is feeling very concerned with Will’s health, but Will convinces Nico they must go on.
They reach the banks of the Acheron, and the boys both become concerned that the Troglodytes are expecting them to swim in the river of pain.
However, the Trogs explain that they do not need to swim at all but that the shortcut is “her”.
This is when Nico and Will see a woman with blue skin who is by a hutch along the river. The Trogs part from the two boys and Nico and Will thank them for everything they have done for them.
River Acheron/Gorgyra’s Home – Chapters 27-29
When Will and Nico approach the blue woman at the banks of the river Acheron, she tells them to come rest by her fire.
They learn that her name is Gorgyra. They tell her about their quest to Tartarus and ask if they will survive the drop into Tartarus from the River Acheron. She then tells them that she is married and her husband is the river Acheron itself!
As Gorgyra’s grey dress swirls around her, Nico notices that he can hear voices coming from her dress. Her dress turns out to be made out of souls. Not just any souls, though, but lonely souls that she has taken out of the River Acheron.
Gorgyra tells the boys that she will let them use her magical boat that will help them take the river into Tartarus in exchange for the only currency for the lonely: stories.
Nico and Will begin to share personal stories, and through re-telling their own stories, they are able to heal parts of their relationship that were starting to feel strained.
Gorgyra gives them the boat, and the two take off in the river closer to each other than ever before.
Plunge Into Tartarus – Chapters 30-31
The voices of the lost souls in the river get louder and louder the closer they get to the drop-off into Tartarus.
The voices they hear are calling out their deepest fears and insecurities, such as their guilt over the death of Octavian in The Blood of Olympus.
The voices in the river call Nico a killer, and Will says that he, himself is a killer too. He tells Nico that by letting him kill Octivan, he is a murderer.
Nico tells Will that it’s just the Acheron getting to him, and just as he is trying to calm down Will, they reach the edge of the underworld and fall into nothingness.
They fall for a VERY long time. As they are nearing the bottom, they realize that they might not survive the impact. Will tells Nico that if anyone can save them, it’s Nico.
This boost of good faith and Will’s trust in Nico gives him the perfect pick-me-up he needs to create a “half-pipe of the dead”, using skeletons to create a landing for the boat. As soon as they land in Tartarus, Nico promptly passes out.
See what I mean by the constant passing out?
Hills of Tartarus – Chapters 32-34
Now in Tartarus, Will watches over a sleeping Nico.
He starts to get a little restless, so he gets the not-so-bright idea to explore the hill of Tartarus so he can get a better perspective of the landscape. He leaves Nico under the boat and goes uphill.
As he’s climbing uphill, Will trips and falls into one of the membrane monster’s re-generation zits. As he pulls himself out of it, a couple of monsters also break free.
A pack of Stymphalian Birds swarms Will and pulls him into the skies of Tartarus.
Nico wakes up to many questions, the first one being asked by a half-centaur and half-satyr wondering why he’s underneath a boat.
Nico is confused by this and also confused that there is a KitKat bar under the boat with him (Will left it as a little treat before he went Tartarus-crazy and went up the hill…)
Turns out that this half-centaur/half-satyr dude is Amphithemis. He keeps asking Nico “where the child is,” and a very confused Nico follows him around for a bit, hoping to find Will.
Nico becomes even more confused when Amphithemis tells him that the child is Dionysus.
When Nico tries to explain that Dionysus is safe and very much not a child, Amphithemis becomes more and more agitated. Nico realizes that Amphithemis is a lost soul and that he is actually a mania.
As Nico has this revelation, poor crazed Amphithemis begins to accuse and attack Nico.
As Nico is defending himself against Amphithemis, Will gets dropped by the Stymphalian Birds, landing in a whole breeding ground for monster zits.
With his fall, he opens up a nasty membrane pod that releases Cynocephali. As he tries to fight off the dog-headed creature, more monster zits open up, and more Cynocephali emerge and begin to attack Will.
Just when things are looking dire for Will, a creature comes out of nowhere and begins to fight off the Cynocephali.
As he gets a closer look and sees that it appears to be a sabertooth lion, he knows that it MUST be the most iconic cat of all time…Small Bob!!
Will leaves Small Bob to hold off the fight so he can help Nico get free from Amphithemis.
When Will examines the mania, looking for “the child” situation, he tells Amphithemis that the dog-headed creatures took the child and, in Wills’s perspective, killed two birds with one stone.
Though this does solve the immediate problem, this doesn’t sit well with Nico, who feels that Amphithemis is a lost soul who doesn’t deserve to be trapped in Tartarus.
Will and Nico then get into another fight. Will feels very guilty for both leaving Nico and for Amphithemis after Nico points out how he feels about it.
They cry and make up, and Nico thanks Will for the KitKat. Will takes a nap, and Nico tries to figure out what to do next.
River Acheron – Chapter 35
Once Will is awake, he and Nico begin to devise a plan as to where the heck they can find Damasen’s.
Small Bob begins meowing insistently, and the boys decide that it must mean “follow me!” in cat language. The boys follow the cat, get back in the boat, and head down the river Acheron.
Mangroves/Through the Swamp – Chapters 35-37
Will falls asleep, and as Nico watches his surroundings as he floats down the river, he swears that he can hear something following them.
Will is woken up by Nico coughing and is instantly hit by the gas in the air. The boys are inside Tartarus, going through its digestive system.
The acrid air coats their skin, resulting in blisters, as they’re literally being digested!
Small Bob catches the boy’s attention with a series of meows, and Will sees what the cat is trying to draw their eyes to.
He can see mangroves in the distance, meaning they must be in the swamp!
This means that they HAVE to be getting closer to Damasen’s Hut and finally have a sense of direction for their quest. They jump out of the boat so they don’t miss their exit from the Acheron and the belly of Tartarus.
Nico, Will, and Small Bob stand on the banks of the Acheron in the “swamp,” and Will and Nico begin to argue as seven Cynocephali emerge from the river.
Just as the Cynocephali are encroaching, two “woolly mammoth goat monsters” come from out of the swamp and begin to take down the Cynocephali one-by-one.
Nico goes in for the attack of the “woolly mammoth goat monsters,” and right when he goes in for the strike, the other monster calls out, “Leave Carl alone!”.
It turns out that they are not “woolly mammoth goat monsters,” but they are Aeternae named Carl and Bartholomew.
The two Aeternae are total bros bros, and Will recognizes them from the stories of Alexandar the Great. In mythology (and in this story), every time they die, they become stronger.
So after they have defeated the monsters on the shore, they beg Nico and Will to kill them because it’s “about that time”.
Nico is not particularly comfortable with this, and Carl and Bartholomew threaten to eat them if they don’t kill them.
As this confusing conversation is taking place, Small Bob turns into sabertooth form, sneaks around the back, and fulfills the Aeternae’s wishes.
The trio continues on the journey, trying to get one step closer to finding and saving Bob.
After a good amount of travel through the swamp of Tartarus, Small Bob begins meowing for the boys to follow him. They finally see Damasen’s Hut and rush inside, only to find it empty and Damasen gone.
Damasen’s Hut – Chapter 38
Though they are not able to find guidance from Damasen, they use his Hut as a shelter for the night (is it night? In Tartarus it’s hard to tell…). The boys both fall asleep and have nightmares.
They wake up to Small Bob licking them and trying to rush them out to the door to find Bob!
They eat some prepacked golden Oreos (Golden Oreos from the golden boy!), and they set off following Small Bob to find Bob at Nyx’s mansion.
Plains of Tartarus – Chapter 39
The boys walk for HOURS! As they go, they feel the strain of Tartarus on their physical and mental health, especially Will.
Finally, they reach darkness, and Nico knows that they have reached the home of Nyx.
Doorway to Mansion – Chapter 39
Here, they are surrounded by darkness. Only Will can’t see, but Nico can, as Will’s eyes are still blinded by the veil.
Will has to trust Nico and follow him through the darkness, putting their relationship to the ultimate test.
Nico guides Will through the darkness over the pit to the doorway of the mansion.
Though Will almost falls, Nico catches him, and their bond becomes even stronger! They run through the doorway of the mansion and see a massive regeneration pod containing Bob the Titan.
Mansion of Night – Chapters 40-42
Unlike the other regeneration pods, Bob is fighting within the pod and is in a state of shifting between his janitor uniform and his previous identity, Iapetus.
Bob, though he is excited to see the boys (his sun and his star), urges them to leave because they are not safe.
Nico tries to use his sword to free Bob, but it doesn’t work. Will tries to sing, and it also doesn’t work! Bob tells him it must be both of them together, the Sun and the Star, so they join hands obvi.
Nico uses his sword while Will sings, and the sword grows, breaking the membrane and freeing Bob! Just in time for Nyx to show up with an army of monsters and her children, including some familiar faces such as Nemesis, Hypnos, and Epiales.
Nyx tells Nico he must choose between his darkness/the underworld or Will and his life on earth.
Things then turn dire; Nyx sets loose all the monsters on Nico, Will, Bob, and Small Bob, and we find our crew of heroes in a bad spot.
Bob is able to break free, and though Will is losing a mental battle against Nyx’s nightmares, Nico will not let him sacrifice himself and stay behind in Tartarus.
River Phlegethon & River Cocytus – Chapters 43-46
This is when the mansion suddenly catches on fire, and our heroes see their chance to escape! When they exit the mansion, they are in a different location than when they entered it. They find themselves at the river Phlegethon and the River Cocytus.
However, they are not safe yet! Nyx is PISSED cause she thinks they burned down her house.
Well buckle up for a twist, because guess who confesses to burning the mansion???
Her own children: Nemesis, Hyponos, and Epiales!
They all tell their mom that she can’t be so stressed about Nico changing and having more to him than his darkness because they, too, have changed. Nyx then decides to drop the big surprise that if HER children won’t help her stop Nico, then HIS will!
Will is like, “DA FUH is going on?”. As a reader, I was also like, “Da fuh is going on?!?”, so let me fill you in!
Nyx doesn’t mean children in the way you would think. In fact, she is referring to Cacodemons that are made out of Nico’s worst memories, making his inner demons outer demons, basically!
Anyways, these little Cacodemons are introduced to Nico, and he is forced to face his worst memories, like, you know, when Cupid outed his sexuality, his sister dying, etc., etc.
Nyx tries to use the cacodemons as proof that Nico is too attached to his trauma to change and belong anywhere but in his darkness.
However, Nico discovers that Nyx doesn’t know who he is and that he can be both light and dark and let’s go of his trauma. He then promptly charges at Nyx, sword first!
When Will sees Nico defy Nyx, he has some self-realization as well.
He realizes that he loves Nico for who he is, and that though he was born from pain and darkness, he is also so much more than those things.
He sees Nico for his bravery and kindness, and Will joins in the fight by giving Nyx hay fever, which causes her to sneeze A LOT! Nyx, having her first allergy attack, is not pleased with Will and sets the Cacodemons to attack Will.
Well, the Cacodemons have to obey their maker, and guess what? Nyx isn’t their only maker…so is Nico! Nico commands them to stop, and they instantly do. Nico remembers the line of the prophecy.
“Go forth and find the one who calls your name.
Who suffers and despairs for refusing to remain.
There leave something of equal value behind.
Or your body and soul no one will ever find.”
And he now knows what he must leave behind. Nico releases the Cacodemons, leaving behind his worst memories and trauma and letting go of those moments that control him.
River Acheron – Chapter 47
Nyx no longer has control over the Cacodemons and tries to get her children (Hypnos, Nemesis, and Epistles) to attack Nico, Will, Bob, and Small Bob. However, they are less than impressed and refuse.
Instead, they tell Nyx that they are the ones that set fire to the mansion and hold her down so our heroes can escape!
Bob scoops up the demigods and makes a dash for the river, where they find Gorgyra’s boat.
As they are leaving, the Cacodemons are following along, and Nico takes them in the boat, renaming them his Cocoa Puffs.
Will and Nico are also now finally on the same page! They are able to understand each other better and now know how to appreciate all aspects of the other’s personality/experiences.
Bob cries a lot, Nico falls asleep, and other Bob guides them through the river Acheron out of Tartarus, out of the underworld, and back to Camp Half-Blood, the quest nearing its end.
Camp Half-Blood – Chapters 48-51
As they are leaving the underworld, Nico dreams of his mother, sister Bianca, and his father Hades.
Hades tells Nico that he is the one who sent the quest to him. As a gift for completing it, he breaks the rules and lets him communicate with the dead.
His mom and sister say they love and miss him, and I was like, “This is very against canon but whatever, I need to finish this frickin book.”
Hades also grants Nico a wish, and he asks his fathers to set the soul of Amphithemis free.
Hades tells Nico that even though his children struggle to find happiness, he hopes he is able to. Then, Nico wakes up in the lake near the shores of Camp Half-Blood.
When they arrive at camp, they are greeted by Chiron and Mr. D, and they tell them the story of all the events of their quest.
Bob and Small Bob decide to leave and find a new home in the West. After the boys are cleaned up and fed, Nico goes to his cabin and messages Piper McClean.
He apologizes to her for never reaching out after the death of Jason, and the two demigods talk about the loss of their friend Jason and their experiences of learning more about their sexualities.
The book ends with Nico and Will going for a walk and lying in the fields of camp with their new little Cocoa Puff buddies and new hopes for their future.
The Sun and the Star Review
Okay so, right away, one thing I disliked about this book was the pacing, specifically the Gorgyra sections of the story.
They were woven throughout in such a way that it was like a time jump forward mid-journey in the underworld.
Gorgyra is asking for stories of Will and Nico and ends up giving them her boat to use as a means of a shortcut into Tartarus, but these sections just felt off to me as a reader.
I get the idea of starting the story off with a cliffhanger from the future, but the build-up to this part of the story was so underwhelming and could have just been a chapter in the story and not woven throughout!
I also felt like the humor in this book fell so flat. It kind of had the energy of a millennial trying to relate to a middle schooler vs Rick Riordan’s classic, timeless middle school humor. For example, the reference to Lil Nas X was a bit cringe…
Another thing I was let down by in this book is the lack of new mythology introduced in this story. In all the other Camp Half-Blood books, there are new ways that Rick Riordan has introduced monsters, myths, and gods.
In this book, we just see repeats of monsters and places that other Riordan characters have already experienced or overcome.
With the exception of Amphithemis (who ends up being a mania which we already experienced in The Blood of Olympus) and Epiales, there are not really new stories or mythology being told.
Normally I feel like I kinda learned something from a Camp Half-Blood book, and this time I felt like I was just hit over the head by Nico and Will being insecure in their relationship.
And yes, they are teens, which is realistic and relatable, but it was overkill and distracted from the action of the book.
I also didn’t really understand why Nico called Piper at the end of the book??
These two characters were never really close in any of the books that they shared together, and I felt like there were so many other characters that I would have rather seen Nico interact with than Piper.
This book felt like a story about a relationship that was set in a mythological setting vs a fantasy-adventure book, which is what I was hoping it would be more of.
Overall, this was a pretty disappointing read, but mostly because my expectations for it were so high. As a Solangelo fan, though, I did at least enjoy seeing these characters again.
It will be interesting to see what The Chalice of the Gods is like and if that book will pass Paisley’s impossible standard for a Percy Jackson book test.
If you read this book, I wanna know, what did you love? What did you hate? What are your thoughts?
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