The Tower of Nero satisfyingly concludes Rick Riordan’s Camp Half-Blood Chronicles

Claire Moylan, News Editor

Apollo is cast from Olympus by Zeus and is sent to live as a mortal as punishment for Octavian’s actions in The Heroes of Olympus series. Over the course of The Trials of Apollo series, Apollo, mortal name Lester, is sent on a set of quests to free the five oracles of ancient Greece from the throes of the evilest Roman emperors known to history. In The Tower of Nero, Lester and Meg are back in New York to defeat the worst emperor of them all, Nero and Apollo’s worst enemy, Python. 

This review will have some spoilers, so read with caution! 

The Tower of Nero is the concluding novel for The Trials of Apollo series as well as the concluding novel for the Camp Half-Blood Chronicles. The Camp Half-Blood Chronicles are Rick’s Greco-Roman series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (PJO), The Heroes of Olympus (HOO) and The Trials of Apollo (TOA). Out of the five books in the TOA series, The Tower of Nero is my favorite. 

The Tower of Nero has a great combination of humor and maturity. As a reader who didn’t enjoy the humor in the last four books of TOA, this book was a welcome surprise. The jokes helped enhance what was happening in the plot instead of interrupting it. There were still pop culture references and the haiku chapter titles but not in an obnoxious way. As a result, the tone was a bit more serious. However, the serious tone can be attributed to other elements of the book too, such as the supporting cast and themes. 

This book’s supporting cast has some of my favorite mix of characters: Nico di Angelo, Will Solace and Rachel Elizabeth Dare. All three of them have had very different experiences in the demigod world. Nico’s demigod struggles are on par with Percy’s, and Rachel’s role as the Oracle of Delphi is at stake with Python. Will is concerned for the health of Nico, his boyfriend, and Lester/Apollo. Their collective dispositions and idiosyncrasies add a little darkness that is less present with characters like Leo Valdez and Grover Underwood.  

Furthermore, the themes The Tower of Nero explored felt more adult. Rick does a phenomenal job of making complicated concepts, whether it be history and mythology or social issues, easy to understand for his younger audience. How he addresses his themes are no exception. Two themes that stuck out the most were the effects of abuse and how it’s perceived and what it means to be human. While exploring these two themes, Rick emphasizes the importance of struggle and how it impacts perspective as well as how individual experiences affect behaviour. As a god, Apollo was able to do anything he wanted without consequence, but the same cannot be said when he’s mortal. When he’s Lester, Apollo experiences, for the first time, how his actions affect others and feels shame and remorse for what he has done. The last leg of Apollo’s development in The Tower of Nero really shows readers how nuanced human behaviour is and how much people can change when in the right environment. Apollo’s character arc paired with the themes made this book a fulfilling read and less like a book for middle schoolers. 

The ending of The Tower of Nero really cemented how it’s the end of The Camp Half-Blood Chronicles. We saw mentions of The Kane Chronicles and Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, his Egyptian and Norse series, respectively. We saw where our favorite demigods have ended up: Percy and Annabeth in college, Meg back in Palm Springs, Piper rebuilding in Oklahoma, et cetera. Lester became Apollo and has a new perspective on godhood. Nero is gone, and Python returned to Tartarus. Everything has returned to normal. 

I’m giving The Tower of Nero 5/5 stars. Not only did it satisfy me as a Percy Jackson fan, it also satisfied my personal tastes as a reader. I finished the book crying tears because the ending was fantastic but also because a world of my childhood had come to an end. Rick Riordan did a phenomenal job, and I would recommend this universe, and in turn this book, to everyone who would be willing to give it a shot.