Literary Genius: The Sun and the Star

The Sun and The Star / Contributed Photo

Title: The Sun and the Star: A Nico de Angelo Adventure

Authors: Rick Riordan and Mark Oshiro

Release Date: May 2, 2023

The Sun and the Star: A Nico de Angelo Adventure is a standalone follow-up to the 2020 novel The Tower of Nero, which is the fifth book in the Trials of Apollo Series. Co-written by Rick Riordan and Mark Oshiro, this book marks the first time a co-author has been introduced in the Percy Jackson Universe (PJU). Mark Oshiro, a renowned queer author known for Anger is a Gift and their other novels, joins Riordan in this project. Riordan plans to write one more book in the PJU before shifting his focus to writing and producing the new Percy Jackson and the Olympians TV show series for Disney+.

As a fan of the 15-book series, I must disclose my bias towards the Percy Jackson novels, which have been among my favorites since I was 12 years old. Riordan’s ability to bring Greek mythology to life in an accessible and entertaining way has had a profound impact on me. His books have bridged the gap between ancient myths and the modern world, as seen through the eyes of angsty teenagers. Over the past six years, Riordan’s works have inspired me to study the official texts of various ancient civilizations, fueling my curiosity. In fact, this fall, I will be attending Whitman College to pursue studies in Classics and Ancient Civilizations. But enough of that, let’s get to the book review.

The story revolves around the beloved PJU couple, Nico de Angelo and Will Solace. Nico, the son of Hades (the god of the dead), embodies darkness and a gothic persona, while Will, the son of Apollo (the god of the sun and medicine), represents sunlight and healing. The young couple embarks on a mission through the depths of Tartarus to save a Titan with whom they share a complex past. Along the way, they learn to support and accept each other. Will conquers his fear of the dark aspects of life, while Nico opens his heart to light and love. In the end, both characters learn to embrace the darkness and light within themselves.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Sun and the Star and found it to be a fitting conclusion to Nico’s journey of self-acceptance. I appreciated getting to know characters who were previously side characters in the PJU. Moreover, this is the first time in the series that a queer couple takes center stage in the story, and I applaud the addition of Mark Oshiro as a co-author. It is crucial to have a queer author contribute their authenticity to the narrative. However, Oshiro’s voice is distinct from Riordan’s, and I’m still adjusting to it. Although I haven’t read anything by Oshiro prior to this book, I am eagerly looking forward to exploring more of their prolific work. I am also coming to terms with Riordan’s semi-retirement from novel writing and appreciate his decision to involve other authors and share writing credits in his projects. It gives me hope that the PJU can expand with stories featuring diverse side characters, each with their own authentic voices.

I give The Sun and the Star: A Nico de Angelo Adventure a rating of 4.5/5, with a half-star deduction. The slight distinction between the two authors’ voices in the writing occasionally distracted me. However, the plot is captivating, and the characters are complex and endearing. I highly recommend this novel to any fan of the PJU who is up to date with the series. For those new to this universe, I suggest starting with Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.