The Sun and The Star: A White Dwarf That Could Have Been A Red Supergiant


Warning: Minor spoilers 

At long last, fan favorite Percy Jackson character Nico Di Angelo is getting his own book. Released on May 2nd, The Sun and The Star by Rick Riordan and Mark Oshiro follows Nico Di Angelo and Will Solace on their quest to rescue former titan Bob from the depths of Tartarus. This book will be an exciting read for any Percy Jackson fan. You’ll definitely want to have read all the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus books prior to starting The Sun and The Star. It’s not necessary to have read all of Trials of Apollo, but I’d recommend looking up a summary online to provide context. 

First, the good stuff. I really liked Nico and Will’s dynamic, and it was nice to see both of them in a more prominent role then they’ve previously been given. It was fun to get cameos from Sally, Piper, Persephone, and a few other characters who we haven’t seen in a while. I also loved learning more about Nico and Mr. D’s relationship, which is honestly adorable. There were some fun new side characters (like Hiss-Majesty the troglodyte and Menoetes the farmer) who were pretty hysterical. Nico and Will both had very strong character arcs that connected very well to the plot. Nico’s focuses on learning to live with his past while still being able to enjoy his life in the present; whereas Will’s is more about him slowly realizing that not everything should nor can be fixed. The two arcs complement each other and both felt very thoroughly explored and challenged. Oshiro and Riordan’s writing styles blended very well together. The Sun and The Star has all the Riordan humor of its predecessors (although, thankfully, not the overwhelming amount present in Trials of Apollo) while also being a bit more emotionally aware. This book also has a ton of casual queer rep, which is always nice. 

The main antagonist of the book is Nyx, the goddess of night. I thought the idea of her as someone who hasn’t changed in so long that she can no longer stand change in others was really interesting, and frankly terrifying (in a good way). Nyx is a very good counter to Nico, and I actually wish she’d gotten more time in the book. 

The first half of the book contains short flash forwards every few chapters. These were a nice break from the current plot, most of them give more backstory to Nico and Will’s relationship, which was fun to learn more about. They also helped to keep the story moving forward. 

One of the main issues I had with the book was the lack of continuity. There were a lot of points towards the beginning of the book that seemed like they were going to be very important later on, but about halfway through the book just stopped being an issue. Then, towards the end, Nico and Will suddenly develop the ability to enhance each other’s powers. There is no explanation provided for this, and no build up towards it, so this development just left me feeling very confused. In the last hundred pages, many of Nyx’s children make some very impactful decisions that felt very out of the blue. Most of these characters were only in the story for a very short amount of time, leading up to when they make this choice. I really wish these characters had gotten a chance to spend more time with Nico and Will so we could see more of their character arc which would help their later choices make more sense. 

I feel like the authors were scared to let this book live up to its full potential. One of the main themes of The Sun and The Star is learning to embrace your darkness, yet Riordan and Oshiro really didn’t embrace the darkness of the story itself. Minimal time is spent in Tartarus, which felt very odd for a book where the main plot revolves around Tartarus. Instead, the majority of the book is spent in the Underworld where Nico and Will go on various side quests to make their way to Tartarus. The flash forwards in the first half of the book strongly hint that Will has been seriously injured, yet we later find that in actuality he just… rolled down a hill? Then, when they finally do make it to Tartarus it’s just not the Tartarus we all know and love. In the House of Hades, Percy and Annabeth spend almost the entire book in Tartarus. It’s disturbing and dangerous and they almost die multiple times. Almost everyone they meet in Tartarus is creepy and terrifying and is described as being so. Yet for some reason, that’s just not true in The Sun and The Star. Nico and Will only really encounter one group of hostile monsters prior to the climax of the story, and even then they’re defeated pretty easily. In addition to this, it’s been previously mentioned that Nico, being a son of Hades, can see Tartarus for what it truly is. However, in The Sun and The Star Nico’s descriptions of Tartarus sounds exactly like those of everyone else. He also doesn’t seem particularly disturbed by anything he’s seeing, even though it was made clear in prior books that being in Tartarus was a really traumatic experience for Nico. Eventually, when they make it to Nyx’s realm, there is a very graphic and disturbing depiction of Nyx’s mansion. This was the only moment in the story where I felt like the mood was right, and I really wish the rest of the story was like this. 

There were some very odd typos in the copy I read, which hopefully will be fixed in later editions. There were a few sentences that were worded very strangely or weren’t grammatically correct, which stood out to me as someone who wasn’t looking for typos. This was very irritating, as it pulled me out of the story and made it difficult to remain immersed in the world. At one point, Nico declares that his mother is ‘Bianca Di Angelo’ which is incorrect, Bianca is his sister, his mother’s name is Maria. Nico says this at a very emotional part of the story, which is unfortunate as it kind of ruined the moment. 

To summarize, The Sun and The Star  could have probably used another three months in production, and would have strongly benefited from simply being written instead of being written for a targeted age group. It’s definitely worth reading, but don’t go in with high expectations. Overall, I would give it a solid 3 out of 5 stars.