Reviews

Review: The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan ✨ The end of the Percy Jacksonverse

Review_ The Tower of Nero

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CW’s: Emotional Abuse, Violence

At last, the breathtaking, action-packed finale of the #1 bestselling Trials of Apollo series is here! 

Will the Greek god Apollo, cast down to earth in the pathetic moral form of a teenager named Lester Papadopoulos, finally regain his place on Mount Olympus? Lester’s demigod friends at Camp Jupiter just helped him survive attacks from bloodthirsty ghouls, an evil Roman king and his army of the undead, and the lethal emperors Caligula and Commodus. Now the former god and his demigod master Meg must follow a prophecy uncovered by Ella the harpy. Lester’s final challenge will be at the Tower of Nero, back in New York. Will Meg have a last showdown with her father? Will this helpless form of Apollo have to face his arch nemesis, Python? Who will be on hand at Camp Half-Blood to assist? These questions and more will be answered in this book that all demigods are eagerly awaiting.

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Review

“I wanted to go back to a time before all the sacrifices had been made. Before I had experienced so much pain. But making things right could not mean rewinding the clock. […] 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.” 

Apollo’s character Arc was so well written! ➽ I always loved how the story challenged his arrogance and selfishness. Over the course of the books you could slowly, but realistically seeing Apollo change his perspective on being human and sacrifice with the help of his new friends. He experiences hardships side by side with the humans he once considered mere pawns to use, like all the gods to. He also truly suffered for the first time and saw that the heroes he send on a quest weren’t expendable. Most of all Apollo also confronted his past failures, how his selfishness caused harm to those he claimed to love, though he often tried to avoid thinking about it. I liked the gradual shift in his thinking and how each book has Apollo caring more about humans and saving everyone he could, culminating in this last book. His selflessness is more pronounced and often the urge to do good and save people is automatic. Sure, Apollo still has his moments of weakness, when he wants to cower and let others save the day, but his caring often overrides that. He’s of course not perfect, but really trying to be a better person and genuinely cares about the humans/demigods that he has befriended. Most of all, he finally accepts that he made mistakes and did wrong, getting rid of all the excuses he used to come up with. It’s easy to put the blame on others, yet only by truly accepting that he was just as guilty, did Apollo truly realize how he could move forward. At the same time, I love how the story doesn’t pretend that Zeus is justified in his punishment of Apollo. Sure, the latter was arrogant, selfish and needed to learn a lesson. However, Zeus isn’t morally superior, like the others gods he is also selfish and with no care for those below him. Apollo realizes how the God’s lack of empathy and hunger for power corrupts them, yet Zeus remains unaware. He’s only able to condemn Apollo because he has more power in Olympus, not because he isn’t guilty of the very same things his son did. I liked that in the end, Apollo didn’t need his validation. He didn’t forgive him, but also held no grudge, as other things mattered to him now, things his father would never understand.

Of course we saw a lot of beloved characters again 💕 ➽ This book gets us back to the beginning – New York and Camp Halfblood. I had been hoping for that as it meant seeing Will, Nico and the other campers again. I loved their dynamics in the first book, so I was happy to see more of it. Will & Nico still remain a great, opposites attract power couple and I hope we get an additional story about them someday, as I find their characters so interesting and endearing! I also loved seeing Apollo interact with his children again, especially now that he has grown so much and is trying to make up for being such an absentee father who only cared for himself. Especially Apollo & Will’s interactions were so wholesome, my fave father-son duo 🥰 We also saw Rachel again, as she has a lot at stake as well as Apollo’s oracle. A new character I liked seeing was Luguselwa! She’s an old confidante of Meg and surprisingly she grew on me so quickly. The begrudging friendship she formed with Apollo despite all the bickering was great to see and I loved seeing her determination and resilience. I also have to give a special shout out to Meg, as this book dove deep into her trauma at Nero’s hands again and showed how hard it is to face your abuser/go back to the toxic environment you lived in. I think it was handled with care and showed Meg realistically struggling not to revert back to her old self, but also drawing strength from her adventures and friends.

“As far as demigod powers went, glowing in the dark was perhaps not as showy as skeleton-summoning or tomato-vine mastery, but it was still impressive. And, like Will’s skill at healing, it was gentle, useful and exactly what we needed in a pinch. ‘I’m so proud,’ I said. Will’s face turned the colour of sunlight shining through a glass of cranberry juice. ‘Dad, I’m just glowing. I’m not graduating at the top of my class.’ ‘I’ll be proud when you do that, too,’ I assured him.” 

The story got a good pace & packed its punch. ➽ Sometimes series finales can feel like they are not living up to the previous books, but this wasn’t the case here. The atmosphere was of course grim at times, as Apollo and Meg had to face Nero and his gigantic tower full of nasty surprises and old trauma. The focus was on Nero’s tower – as the title already tells us – but I liked that there was a balance between action and character interactions, making the story feel emotionally cathartic as well! There are also many important themes present in the text, like what it means to be human (an overarching theme for the whole series) and facing past trauma after having escaped the toxic environment.

I liked the resolution of the series ➽ Endings are always tough to read, especially when it comes to a favorite series. In this case, it was the conclusion of the whole Percy Jacksonverse (though I hope we get some standalone books in the future), which added even more pressure. I personally loved the ending, it was just what I was hoping for and satisfied me, as we saw all the characters again in quick succession to get a glimpse of the direction their life is going in. Everything from the resolution of Apollo’s character Arc to the themes was perfect to me  💕 [Highlight to see spoilers] I wasn’t sure how the author would approach Apollo regaining godhood (or not). I liked that while Apollo became a god again he didn’t forget the lessons he learned on earth or the friends he made along the way. Unlike the other gods, he became much more humanized, even as a God, as he now got an understanding what it means to be human, gaining him a unique perspective. So in the end, I was happy with how things ended for him, as his journey led to Apollo still being close to his human friends and being a lot less selfless than before.

“So, dear reader, we have come to the end of my trials. You have followed me through five volumes of adventures and six months of pain and suffering. By my reckoning, you have read two hundred and ten of my haiku. Like Meg, you surely deserve a reward. What would you accept? I am fresh out of unicorns. 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.” 

IN CONCLUSION.The Tower of Nero was a fantastic conclusion to the Trials of Apollo series and the Percy Jacksonverse. While I hope for some additional standalone books in this world, I’m happy with the resolution that we got. Apollo has one of the most well-written character Arcs and I loved all the themes that were discussed in this book! 💕

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Have you read The Tower of Nero? What’s your favorite book in the PJOverse? ✨

6 thoughts on “Review: The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan ✨ The end of the Percy Jacksonverse

  1. I haven’t read The Tower of Nero yet but I need to finish this series soon! Rick Riordan has been one of my reliably favorite authors since I was in middle school, and even as I get older I still find myself lost in his stories. (As I write this I’m now thinking that I really want to re-read PJO haha.) If I had to choose one favorite I’d probably go with The Titan’s Curse, but they truly are all gems 🙂
    claire @ clairefy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you enjoy The Tower of Nero! I’ve been loving Rick Riordan’s stories since I was young, so they have been with me for a long time as well 🥰 (I need to do some Riordan rereads too!!) Oh yes, the Titan’s Curse was one of my faves back in the day when I read it 😊

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  2. i’m so happy you loved this book, caro!! i’m hoping to pick it up next year and i don’t know if i’m ready to say goodbye to this universe yet 🥺🥺 i’m really happy to hear that you loved apollo’s arc in this book, because i was already really enjoying his development in the previous book, so i’m glad that continued! this was a really great review, you’ve got me a even more excited to read this ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you enjoy The Tower of Nero when you pick it up! 🥰 I wasn’t ready to let go as well, but I’m holding out hope that we might get some standalone books in the future 🙏 I really liked how Apollo’s character arc was portrayed over the course of the series!! Thank you so much!! 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay I skim read this because I don’t want to spoil myself but ah I’m so excited to read this series. I’m super behind on Rick’s newer series but now that they’re all out, I’m definitely going to marathon eeeppp

    Liked by 1 person

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