shiiki (shiiki) wrote,
shiiki
shiiki

The Burning Maze reaction post part 1

I'm doing this for my forum group read with some other fans, but why not. It'll be fun to look back on in the future, I'm sure.

Basically just reacting throughout the book as I read it. :)


Chapter 1
Okay so right from the dedication this book is giving me chills. To the muse of tragedy? Seriously? All I can think from reading that is uh oh. What am I getting into.

Okay. *deep breath* Moving on.

It's interesting that they start off right in the Labyrinth. Like okay, let's jump straight in, why not. And they've already been there two days. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they had a five day deadline to the new moon?

Also I'm super stoked to have Grover back again. Except ... didn't he leave off the human disguises in TLO? (Sorry I'm just reading that book SUPER carefully now—I guess you guys can tell where I am in terms of plotting out the later bits of DoW.)

I'm tickled that Grover's scared of Meg—or maybe that's because Apollo is projecting cos he's scared of Meg. Grover has a yard of guts under that skittish exterior. Okay, back to reading before this turns into Ode to Grover.

Huh so it's the daughter of Demeter thing. I wonder what the satyrs' relationships are like with cabin 4 at camp. I mean, you'd think they'd get along, planting stuff and loving nature (and to quote the musical, refusing to participate in the destruction of their arboreal friends).

Anyway, I loved Grover and Meg teaming up with plant and pipes. That was awesome.

But then ... Strix! Ahhhh I had this premonition of what they were going to be just before they turned up, and I think all my fic research is finally paying off. (Also side note now I'm wondering if I have to find a different monster for something I had planned later on in the fic oops.) And what sort of curse are we talking here? Like Apollo doesn't have enough curses to dodge—Styx, the palikoi oath, now Strix?

So clearly there's some mysterious thing about fire and burning that Grover knows, but I can't figure out how or why he has this knowledge. And like Apollo, I'm wondering—who is this mysterious he that owns the part of the maze Grover is hesitant about? The Labyrinth only started to reform just after the giant war, right? So is someone controlling the reformation, and if so how on earth does Grover of all people—satyrs—know this?

I'm curious about what Grover's been up to all this time between TLO and ToA. And why is he suddenly so familiar with the Labyrinth when as far as we know, his experience has basically been that one time in BotL. Though he did kind of navigate it with Tyson, only I always got the sense he was doing it more through following Pan's aura as opposed to actually seeing the way like Rachel did.

Is any of this gonna get answered? Only one way to find out ...

Chapter 2

Yeah, I have my ideas about that third emperor, too. And I guess it's no big surprise that the strixes are in his employ. Love Meg's reasoning though. 'I didn't kill it, it committed suicide against the wall.' Oh dear, I don't think the Fates will see it that way either. But that doesn't really clear up who is responsible for the curse on killing the Strix. I mean, who levies it? How does it work? Why do I just need to know these things?

Arrow of Dodona is as helpful as ever, of course. And can I just say that Grover trying to carry Apollo makes me want to wipe a proud mama tear from my eye? How far has our ickle Groverkins come from PJO? I mean, I knew conceptually he was Lord of the Wild and everything now, but it's one of those things that don't sink in about how much he's grown until you actually see it in action.

And is it just me or is this a super short chapter?

Chapter 3

Ooh the Panic! I kind of don't remember Grover being so wiped out by it the first time round, but it's interesting how Apollo's perspective differs from Percy's, where Percy is pretty much like what, weird, okay everything's been weird from day one so whatever, but Apollo is like, yeah I know this, hm, that's taking a bit outta him huh?

Also why does Grover have memory problems? Is it just Apollo's description or is it actually something messing with him? I think I'm just so keyed up already from the start of this book.

Meg shuffling seed packets made me laugh. I just imagine her shuffling them like cards like Nico and his Mythomagic cards in TC.

And ... Base? WHAT BASE WHY HAVENT WE HEARD ABOUT THIS IN TWELVE BOOKS?

Chapter 4
Oh here we go with the dreams. I'm guessing that's the Erythraean Oracle, the one with the word puzzles.

The switch to Hephaestus's Roman name kind of threw me. I don't know if it was on purpose, sort of foreshadowing the stuff about Camp Jupiter that the prophecy hinted at.

I guess mostly this chapter was set up, but I don't know what to pick up on that's going to be important coming up. I guess the third emperor had to be introduced, but I'm kind of more excited to see what this mysterious 'base' Grover keeps mentioning is. And if he knows about the prophecy, why didn't he mention it to them before? (Two days in the Labyrinth, guys. You didn't talk?)

Chapter 5

Okay I'm going to call it here. This place has to do with Meg's dad. Her real dad, I mean.

And yay, Hedge! This book is going to be like a satyr party, isn't it?

Chapter 6

HA I knew it was the Erythraean Oracle. Okay, so fine, the prophecy from the last book kind of gave it away. But hey I'm usually rubbish at guessing this stuff, so I'm going to give myself a pat on the back anyway.

Ohhhh now I get it. Back in THO they mentioned this didn't they—Nico and Will said Grover was dealing with California's heat crises or something? Love it when little plot details get plucked up from before!

Oh boy, Neos Helios. I wish I could pick up on that straight off but all my research on the Roman emperors (okay admittedly brief Wiki searches) did not turn up something along those lines. Then again, it's hard to figure what might actually be made up for the story and what is going to be actual historical detail.

Chapter 7
I really like the little details about mortal weapons and why they don’t work against monsters. Kind of like a bit more of a world-building detail that helps sort out the general logic of it.

Also Coach Hedge curses using sports equipment LOL.

And I was NOT expecting the emperor name reveal so soon in the book. Also why do Roman emperors have to have so many names?

Chapter 8

Hedge action sequences are The Best. Seriously every fight scene needs a Coach Hedge.

Although it is striking me at this point whether I’ve been worrying about the wrong satyr. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that I’ve been scared something Real Bad is going to happen to Grover (because I surmised that from Ship of the Dead) but ... what if that was a decoy all along and ... oh man. I should probably just read.

As for where’s Grover—well I’m so sure he’s gonna pop out to save their asses. Apollo getting saved by a couple of satyrs just makes me super happy. And sure enough he did ... plus with a raft which seems like a nice leaf out of Percy’s book (kind of reminds me of them shooting off the Princess Andromeda in SoM though that wasn’t Grover with them then).

Okay you can bet I perked right up when Grover mentioned Annabeth. It’s little references like that which go so far in laying down their friendship. Stuff like this shows that they had these interactions, they did stuff together, and they were friends beyond what we see overtly on the page.

And I bet Percy had something to do with Annabeth figuring out that the command sequence was good for more than just setting off the statues for defence. I mean, he was the one who pulled the unorthodox flying pigs command.

Yup, so totally loved this chapter. It was an absolute riot.

Chapter 9
You know, when I heard the multitude of names for the Roman emperor last chapter, I was scratching my head wondering if I’d actually guessed right or not. But with the Horse—and I don’t think I read up on enough myths on the emperor’s horse—it just makes me wonder again. Because the horse thing makes it so likely that it will be the one I guessed ...

Ah sod it. I’m googling this guy. But I won’t note here whether I’m right or not until we get a proper reveal in the book.

Is it just me feeling weird about seeing Meg with a crush? Or interpreted as having a crush. I just feel like she’s not the kind to go all swoony even if a guy is cute. I’m going to guess there’s something else about Joshua Tree and it’s something to do with her dad. I know, I keep hammering at this point, but I Need More Meg backstory.

Huh, I kind of assumed the sorceress was the Oracle when they referenced her last chapter, but maybe not? More mysteries, yay. I’m trying to run through all the sorceresses in mythology that we haven’t come across yet, and I’m drawing a blank though.

Yessssss Incitatus the horse. Totally called it—and I can’t believe I got it right! I actually guessed the emperor woohoo! Um. Okay sorry back to reading.

Chapter 10
Ah Grover, I love your determination. No one is unbeatable. It’s such a grown attitude from his time with Percy and Annabeth, I just know it.

Wait WHAT Jason and Piper went exploring the Maze? And ... argh this mystery is getting even more complex. The stakes are ratcheting even higher. And ... omg what did Jason DO to piss Mellie off? Don’t tell me ... something’s hurt Piper.

I KNEW IT. Meg’s dad. YESSSSSS.

Chapter 11
I don’t know if there’s something wrong with me but when Apollo mentioned the thing about Grover and suddenly cravings for blueberry pancakes thanks to his empathy link, I was thinking oh boy, does that mean he feels a whole bunch of other emotions, too, whenever Percy, um ... well, it’s like being a permanent third wheel if you get my meaning, right?

Sorry I get percabeth withdrawals sometimes.

I’m really hoping all this weird Meg power stuff gets cleared up at the end. I don’t like having out of the blue powers unexplained. Like her ability to find satyrs and now initiate flashbacks. I’m okay to bear with not knowing for now, but this better get a big reveal by the end of the series!

But hey, Meg backstory. The tone of it is strange though. Like, the memory takes a shift in narrative style that isn’t quite Apollo’s, but it’s soft and sweet and innocent and I guess it’s just young Meg’s perspective but it’s so at odds with the demeanour she presents to the world now, I have a hard time reconciling her young self with her current one. And I guess that’s a product of all the things she’s suffered, poor girl. I did like getting to finally meet Patrick McCaffrey though!

Chapter 12
Okay so satyrs know how to drive. But when did Grover get his license? Especially since he’s only 16 in human years? Wait—that’s probably like asking when Zoë got her license. And I guess 16 is driving age in America (which still kind of baffles me).

I always like the little instances of Apollo getting twinges of guilt and starting to take on some responsibility for his actions, even if he keeps shoving them aside. I’d like to see it coming on more as we move through the series and maybe at the end him not pushing the voice away ... but we’re only in book 3. I guess there’s still a long way to go.

Wait ... how can Grover not have met Jason and Piper? They were all there at the battle with Gaia ... though I guess they were kind of busy fighting, but after? I thought they both stayed at camp. Hmmm. More mystery. More backstory. And gah, enough hinting at poor Piper, this is driving me crazy!

Oh, the Percy and Annabeth references. I just realised that Annabeth HASN’T yet appeared in this series.

But this triumvirate thing is seriously heating up. What on earth happened to Tristan? I guess it has something to do with that evil megalocorporation (yes I intended to spell it that way. They are so megalomaniacal after all!)

Oh gosh. Here we go.

Chapter 13
I like Piper sitting on the terrace fence. It is so like her climbing the roof. Little daredevil stunts that seem such an intrinsic part of her nature that she doesn’t even think about it. Love little bits of characterisation like this!

I can identify with Apollo’s reluctance. I thought that was a pretty apt description. I’m sort of afraid of heights? I don’t know because I can climb a rock wall no problem, but when it comes to coming down, I’m like eep. Because I trust my own strength climbing me up. I don’t trust the leap down.

Anyway sorry. Back to story.

Ooh. I think I just heard a bunch of Jasiper ships get sucked down Charybdis. But I guess we’re not at the end game yet, so who knows. It’s an interesting twist though, and another sign that RR is approaching his story relationships in a fairly real-world manner. (The first being the arguments between Leo and Calypso last book.) It may be hypocritical for me to say this because I would hit the roof if he split up Percy and Annabeth, but I think this works for Jason and Piper. They didn’t have that firm foundation that Percy and Annabeth had. It was a cute ship, but I could never get that invested in it. And ... I think I’ll need to create a new thread just for the ships because this could be a really long discussion.

And who knows where he’ll go with this line by the end of the book anyway?
Tags: book reviews, pjo, pjo discussion, reading
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