Updated: Dec 19, 2019
Rick Riordan’s career has already been something of an industry wonder. Just turning to the title page where the award-winning author’s catalog of titles is listed in its entirety creates a daunting, mind-boggling impression. It’s even more of a wonder that his books are still attracting fans and readers from all ages alike, shooting up on bestseller lists with his new releases amongst some of the biggest blockbusters in each year. It could be a result of Riordan’s insistence to stay grounded within his comfortable territory of the Percy Jackson and The Heroes of Olympus franchise, or it could just be the result of Riordan’s incredible talent to fashion such imaginative and snappy tales of humor, adolescence, and of course, mythological monsters. The author’s latest book The Tyrant’s Tomb bears no exception to the latter statement. It’s just as enjoyable of a read as any Riordan fan could have hoped for, dashing at a quick pace and bringing back some memorable fan favorites.
Indeed, The Tyrant’s Tomb relies heavily on the reader’s knowledge of previous books, especially those within The Heroes of Olympus series. It’s difficult to gauge whether newcomers to Riordan’s mythological world will still enjoy this latest installment, especially since little is done to develop characters past the point we last saw them in The Heroes of Olympus, meaning that these fan-favorite characters are at something of a stalemate. Either way, The Tyrant’s Tomb is a delightful enough read that it should suffice for most fans. Featuring a crackling plot, moist with intricate details and lore nuances, the fourth installment of The Trials of Apollo proves Riordan’s writing has never been better, paving the way for a hopefully great finale, despite botching its conclusion.
Kicking off right after the tragic conclusion of The Burning Maze (no spoilers here), The Tyrant’s Tomb launches its characters right into the next phase of Apollo’s (or Lester’s) trials. Embarking on a perilous journey to Camp Jupiter, the plot kicks off grandly, immediately latching onto the reader’s attention and never letting go until 423 pages later. However, what those 423 pages unfortunately miss is some form of emotional stakes. Coming off The Burning Maze and what its’ ending entailed, I was quite disappointed in how The Tyrant’s Tomb never takes the time to let the characters and the reader fully comprehend either the events of the past narrative or the ones of this narrative. It leaves The Tyrant’s Tomb far too light as if it was simply coasting across its plot rather than taking the time to explore the potentially nuanced themes some of the events suggest. It’s an issue that unfortunately plagues most of the author’s works, and it all comes to a head in the third act of The Tyrant’s Tomb, a crowded and bloated mess that doesn’t know when enough is enough.