August 25, 2023

REVIEW The Sun and the Star by Rick Riordan and Mark Oshiro

The Sun and the Star 
by Rick Riordan and Mark Oshiro
Rating: 5 Stars
Release Date: May 2, 2023
Format: Audiobook ( and Hardcover (Personal Library)
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion 

Readers were first introduced to Nico Angelo in 2007 with the release of Rick Riordan’s third installment to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Titan’s Curse, and have witnessed a lot of character growth in the years since. Sixteen years later, Nico has his own story in The Sun and the Star as he and his ‘glow-in-the-dark’ boyfriend Will Solace must journey to the depths of the Underworld and Tartarus itself to save a friend that was left behind and now needs their help. 

Given that this is the first book that Rick Riordan has ever co-written, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was quite pleased to see that Rick Riordan’s trademark humor and action pacing are still present in the book. But there’s also an emotional weight and an authentic feel of lived experiences that I think Mark Oshiro brought to the story. In particular, I loved seeing how Nico and Will’s relationship developed throughout the story. And I also loved seeing all the different monsters and immortal beings they ran into along the way.

Compared to other locations within the Percy Jackson universe, readers have not spent all that much time within the Underworld. Even the journey through Tartarus was basically covered by one book. The worldbuilding for this part was really cool, as we get to learn a lot of the ‘rules’ of the Underworld and Tartarus through Will’s eyes. There are so many different things that come up, like the different locations, the different types of spirits (manias were interesting in particular), and even the different gods and goddesses that call that realm home. Both new and old characters make an appearance in the story, and this just felt like a love letter to the series as a whole. 

In addition to all the interesting mythology bits that pop up in this book, there’s also a lot of emotional ‘oomph’ to the story. It’s very dark with a lot of heavy stuff being dealt with, but there’s also a ray of hope shining through. You have characters dealing with heavy amounts of past trauma, yet there are also tender moments of love and affection present (and not just from Nico and Will). Our main characters are the embodiment of the grumpy/sunshine trope; despite what I might have expected, it's a very equal relationship, and there are multiple moments where they end up supporting each other. And the scene toward the end of the book where the couple is talking with Piper will probably go down as one of my favorites in the entire series, as it made me cry happy tears. 

Overall, this was another fantastic story and a great addition to the larger Percy Jackson literary universe. Rick Riordan has always been one of my favorite authors, and I’m going to check out Mark Oshiro’s backlist of releases as soon as I have some free time. Narrator AJ Beckles also did a great job with his performance in the audiobook.  I think the book will appeal to both new readers and lifelong fans (though it is obviously best geared toward those who are familiar with previous installments to the series). This book has me excited for another return to the world of Percy Jackson in September 2023, when the next Percy Jackson-focused book (Percy Jackson and the Chalice of the Gods) comes out!

About the Book
As the son of Hades, Nico di Angelo has been through so much, from the premature deaths of his mother and sister, to being outed against his will, to losing his friend Jason during the trials of Apollo. But there is a ray of sunshine in his life–literally: his boyfriend, Will Solace, the son of Apollo. Together the two demigods can overcome any obstacle or foe. At least, that’s been the case so far . . .

Now Nico is being plagued by a voice calling out to him from Tartarus, the lowest part of the Underworld. He thinks he knows who it is: a reformed Titan named Bob whom Percy and Annabeth had to leave behind when they escaped Hades’s realm. Nico’s dreams and Rachel Dare’s latest prophecy leave little doubt in Nico’s mind that Bob is in some kind of trouble. Nico has to go on this quest, whether Mr. D and Chiron like it or not. And of course Will insists on coming with. But can a being made of light survive in the darkest part of the world? and what does the prophecy mean that Nico will have to “leave something of equal value behind?”

Nico will have to face demons both internal and external as his relationship with Will is tested to the core in this standalone adventure featuring two of the most popular characters in the Percy Jackson saga.

About the Authors

About the Author

Rick Riordan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over twenty novels for young readers, including the Percy Jackson series, the Kane Chronicles, the Magnus Chase series and the Trials of Apollo. He is also the author of the multi-award-winning Tres Navarre mystery series for adults.

For fifteen years, Rick taught English and history at public and private middle schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Texas. While teaching in San Antonio, Saint Mary’s Hall honored him with the school’s first Master Teacher Award.

While teaching full time, Riordan began writing mystery novels for grownups. His Tres Navarre series went on to win the top three national awards in the mystery genre – the Edgar, the Anthony and the Shamus. Riordan turned to children’s fiction when he started The Lightning Thief as a bedtime story for his oldest son.

Today, over one hundred million copies of his books are in print in the United States alone, and rights have been sold into more than 37 countries.

Rick Riordan now writes full-time. He lives in Boston with his wife and two sons.

Check out my other reviews of books by Rick Riordan

Mark Oshiro (they/them) is the author of the young adult books Anger Is a Gift, winner of the 2019 Schneider Family Book Award, and Each of Us A Desert, an NPR Best Book of 2020. Their middle grade books include The Insiders, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year; and You Only Live Once, David Bravo. Mark also contributed a short story to the Star Wars anthology Empire Strikes Back: From a Certain Point of View. Mark is based in Atlanta, Georgia and can be found on Twitter @MarkDoesStuff.

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