Huh, so Piper's totally embraced her charmspeaking theft skills after all. That's evolved a bit since we saw her at the beginning. Or even throughout HoO where she seemed to struggle with that issue of whether it was ethical to talk people into doing stuff they wouldn't otherwise want to. I'm not sure how I feel about this. But I guess she is still changing and developing as a character, and it does fit with the character relationships. People change. Values evolve. And sometimes that just throws others off.
Funnily enough, this twist in Jason and Piper's relationship is kind of the first time I'm actually finding the pair of them interesting.
Side note—Oh, Apollo, I think I need to introduce you to the concept of fried ice cream. Not that I like it much myself, but ... it exists.
I always wonder with these city descriptions whether RR has actually been to all these places. Is it possible to capture the essence of a city without having traversed its streets? I can definitely picture the landscape and I love the detail that comes through, so it's just something I wonder about. (Especially when he had Magnus and co. in York in Ship of the Dead. Not that I've been to York. Yet.)
Badass blowdart Piper is awesome. Just sayin'. And ... black and white fur? What are they, some sort of panda/skunk weirdness? No don't answer that. It's got to be another Greek creature I still haven't come across despite feeling, like Percy, that I must have dredged up pretty much all of them by now in fic research!
Oh Big Ears. That makes sense. I find it interesting how Piper seems to take it as a matter of course that because she and Jason have fought plenty of monsters already, they should be able to take most monsters easily. It just kind of contrasts with Percy’s attitude, where though he is super good at the monster stuff by now, he just never assumes that he can take them on without too much trouble. Like he’s always expecting the big one, that he won’t be able to handle, but he won’t run anyway.
Have I mentioned I love all the plant personifications? I just think their descriptions are so cool. Of course, their circumstances, not so much.
Is it just me, or am I getting a sense that Jason is in the maze? I know Piper said he was in school, but when do demigods ever stay where they’re supposed to be? And I’m changing my predictions. Instead of losing Grover or Hedge, I say it’s gonna be either Piper or Jason who falls ...
Though I also feel sure that Grover will come back, so ... hm. Okay we’ll see. I can still revise my opinion before we get to the end, right?
I’m a bit confused. What the break-up before or after they went into the Labyrinth? I think after, right? Because there was two weeks since their exploration. I know whatever Jason found is obviously going to be important, and I guess he was the one who initiated the break-up, and I’m also going to guess that it was for some stupid noble reason. But that’s also a bit overdone so I wonder if it will actually be because he’s got into something lots more messy and complicated. Ah Jason, I would very much like to see you in a less perfect but more 3D light!
Medea! Man, I can’t remember what Aphrodite said about her (which means I’m going to need to check on TLH after I finish reading this) but did I mention I love picking up on little details from previous books?
Okay totally did not see Medea coming. I mean, it makes sense with the fire stuff, but wow. Nice touch with Helios and the Titans. I like the logic behind it and how the magic works. But ... now I need to go read TLH. Didn't they kill her? How'd she get back with the Doors of Death closed?
Oh bless Meg. ‘Apollo’s my dumb servant.’ This girl rocks.
She lost Katoptris? SHE LOST KATOPTRIS? I don’t know why it matters so much but—gah. It’s like when Annabeth lost her dagger in MoA/HoH. (I still can’t get over the fact that she no longer has it.)
Meg with flowers stopping up her ears is priceless. And now we get more Meg backstory? I am really liking this book more and more.
Oh wait Piper gets the dagger back. Okay, I jumped the (blow)gun there. ;)
All these hints about Jason, though ... what on earth did they tell him? More of that prophecy-driven madness no doubt. But seriously, he already dealt with his mom and those issues in BoO, so ... I don’t know, I feel like we’re not going to reprise that. Could it be something to do with Thalia? I know she’s still out there after the Teumessian Fox, though I’d guess that’s not going to come back until at least the next book.
I like the discussion of the fading and transfer of power from Titans to gods. I think because that’s one of the underlying themes that threads the three series together. How the whole worship thing works. It kind of touches on this idea of when does one fade into obscurity—when all memory of you vanished from the world? (Incidentally I watched Coco recently and this was a strong theme in that movie and it really called out to me.)
Is it hot in here in Shakespearean English, oh gods I laughed so hard.
Every time Nero’s mind games get mentioned I get this boiling rage flaring up. That’s possibly one of the most horrible atrocities this series has come up with so far. And with all the betrayals and messed up relationships and blood sacrifices and crap (in a kid’s book series, I might remind you—amazing how it still manages to keep the light tone through it all) ... this is one subject matter that just can’t be toned down. And I guess it probably shouldn’t. The level of emotional abuse to Meg here ... it is utterly devastating.
Um okay, back to the fight.
Wait, what? I feel like I missed something. Between running from deadly fire and bursting out of the Labyrinth, I kind of expected something ... else. I don’t know.
Moving right along.
Yay, Grover’s back. And I’ll bet Aloe is the best at treating burns.
I’m not sure what to make of Apollo’s emperor dream. I guess it’s to give us context about Caligula as opposed to dropping plot clues, but it’s interesting to see how each of these emperors are characterised, with their determination to take over one particular new title. There was Commodus with his New Hercules slogan and now Caligula and New Helios. I forget what Nero was after though. And I’m even more worried about him; I would imagine he’s set up to be the worst of the three. Commodus was easy enough to manage, but Caligula is one creepy dude.
Medea obviously survived the fire with sunscreen! Medea’s SPF 50 000+ has been going round since SoM after all ...
And hello new plot detail. Big Ears is going to come back round for sure.
Ohhh. The dryads (by the way, I don't think I mentioned what an inventive concept cacti dryads strikes me as. I always thought of them in relation to leafy trees, but this is super cool) considering turning on Apollo. Nice twist there.
And now I want to cry. The dryads welcoming Meg home? Demeter's daughter finds her roots indeed. Ahhhh just wring out my heart, why don't you?
Also, it's interesting how the threat to this place is what tips the scales for Meg in terms of being able to say, okay, the emperor needs to die. I seem to recall her being a lot less comfortable with killing people before. (Which I think Apollo pointed out a couple of chapters ago, the stuff she mentioned last book about things needing a chance to grow.)
Good job, Grover, you learnt your lesson well. Never argue with Annabeth. :P
And huh, I guess Jason isn't kidnapped and shoved in the maze after all? But we haven't found him yet, so who knows ...
I'm intrigued by Python and Nero's conversation. It sounds like Python is the one in control, with the power, yet I had this idea so far that Nero was pulling the strings. But this now brings up the fascinating possibility that there's another twist to all this; the emperors are not the end game.
And correct me if I'm wrong, but have they now only got one day left to the new moon?
Ooh, Apollo soul-searching. That's a nice little comparison there.
And oh, Meg, asking the desperate question of every demigod. Where is my mother/father? Why did they let that happen? It's kind of a theme no matter what religion you practice. Why do bad things happen if there's a god? To be honest I actually think the ancient mythologies tackle the issue better than the modern religions. When you believe the gods are flighty and unconcerned, its a lot easier to accept dreadful things happen than when you believe in a loving, benevolent god.
And okay, all my doomsday predictions about Jason were wrong. I don't know why, but it's kind of weird to see him in a normal situation. I mean, has he EVER gone to school in the outside world before?
Also, what happened to his vow to travel back and forth between camps until all the gods got their shrines? Hmmm. This next chapter has a lot of questions to tackle.
I totally snickered when Apollo realised he'd been considering incest with Thalia back in TC. Like, hello, you realise your dad is married to his sister?
And okay, good, so Jason is still working on that shrine to the minor gods project.
And of course, big noble protective reason for keeping secrets. I think it's a bit of a thin excuse, though. It wasn't even really about Piper. It's kind of a stretch to jump to oh Piper will jump right in so let's not tell her about this so we can both stay out of the fight. Also ... why would Jason be against going in to fight. And why does he trust the Oracle's words so blindly? Has it got anything to do with his Roman upbringing vs. the more Greek side of charging right in? But ... he also chose Greek, so how does this now conflict with everything? I guess we can sort of see how we're building up to a possible new identity crisis here.
I don't really like him saying he messed up, though. If you thought it was the right thing, stick with it. Have a fight about it.
And I was going to say more except I got to the end of the chapter and aha. That's why the excuse fell flat.
But Piper didn't pick up on it at all? Ah man. I seriously need to know where this is going now.
Okay THAT'S more like it. And now I think we're getting to the unspeakable event of this book and the source of Percy and Annabeth's tears in Ship of the Dead. (Is it horrible that my heart is going, okay, so not Grover? Not Grover? Pleeeeease let this be true ...)
Why am I so okay with the idea that Jason or Piper might die? I mean it sucks, and I do like them, but ... sorry. They're my least favourites of the lot.
Um right, so back to Jason and the Oracle. It makes more sense now why he kept mum. The question now is how it unfolded into their break-up. I suppose I can guess, but ... I should just keep reading.
Aww, Jason and Apollo brother-bonding. Now I have this scary premonition that this might at last be the book where RR finally makes me care about Jason ... only to take him away. Uh oh.
Oh. So Piper initiated the break-up. The relationship stuff is kind of setting my head spinning, but that's fine. I always did tend to skim this ship anyway. Wait, though, so it was months ago, and before the Burning Maze, which means ... they went in together as ex-es? And Piper still has Jason's schedule and stuff memorised ... Okay, is this just going to turn into a whole thing where RR picks them apart so that they can have the relationship set up that he didn't get to do in TLH because Memory Loss?
Okay, throwing my guess in here for the shipping. The real reason Piper broke up with Jason was because she got scared about loss after losing Leo.
Heh, Meg competing with Jason for powers is hilarious. Also, I think that settles the question (that absolutely no one ever asked, right?) of who's more charismatic, Jason or Percy. Contrast Meg meeting Percy and Meg meeting Jason? Not even a contest.
I love when RR sneaks little educational details in like the impromptu physics lecture. Also it's such an Annabeth thing to do. I miss her. Actually pretend I didn't say that. I'm not sure my heart could take it if she and Percy got shoved into a situation like this yet again. I need them to have their happy ending at last, pretty please.
I'm glad Apollo picked up on Meg's uncharacteristic anger and harshness! I'm not the only one wondering about that then.
Wasn't the first time Apollo made mortal thanks to the revolt against Zeus? Or am I messing up my mythological timelines?
Huh, pandai. And what. Indian mythology? Ahhh you guys know my love of mixing up mythical creatures. How can I not love this?
Also, I am so tickled that I started out calling these things pandas.