There was a distinct moment about a third of the way through this book when I thought, I don’t think I’m going to read any more of Rick Riordan’s books; I don’t think they are for me anymore. After this series is over, I’m out. This was a sad thought to have. For the most part, I have really enjoyed reading Riordan’s demigods and monsters saga(s) since I picked up the first Percy Jackson book in 2009. But I am starting to feel exhausted by them, and no longer find them quite so charming. I retained this thought until halfway through this book, when something managed to pick up and I was able to engage emotionally with it for the first time, rather than be put off and annoyed by Apollo’s seemingly empty banter.
I’m still feeling like quitting Riordan altogether is probably a good idea, after I finish out this series and Magnus Chase. I’d rather go out when his world is still a happy place for me to visit rather than an obligation. But I’m very glad that I enjoyed this book by the end. It helped that Apollo began exhibiting actual emotion, and feeling regret and guilt over his current and previous actions.
This series has been a disappointment for me from the start, unfortunately. I don’t know if it’s my own (too high) expectations or that he is tiring of his own formula*, but it feels like it’s trying too hard, and the fantastic premise is always teetering on being wasted as he just gives us a tour of existing characters and story structures instead of milking Apollo and his plight for all the emotional stakes he can. The funny stuff would be funnier if he did that. (Worth noting that I still greatly enjoy the Magnus Chase series, and I’m beginning to think it’s because he does have to invent new characters there and not just rely on old ones that he doesn’t put enough work in anymore.)
*See this previous review wherein I explain what The Riordan Factor is, so I don’t have to keep saying the same things over and over when reviewing his books.
But it’s probably just me.