The Sun and the Star by Rick Riordan and Mark Oshiro is a heartfelt and exhilarating standalone companion to the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series featuring Nico di Angelo, the brooding and melancholic son of Hades.
Nico and his boyfriend, Will Solace, son of Apollo, have stayed behind at Camp Half-Blood to relax in the quiet serenity of the campgrounds. Nico, however, is troubled by nightmares: visions of his deceased mother and sister, evil titans and corrupt gods, and uncanny imitations of past crushes, all of whom implore him to "listen." Unsettled Nico is woken up by Will, and finds the Oracle of Delphi has arrived at Camp Half-Blood to speak with him: Nico must enter Tartarus, the deepest level of the Underworld, to save Bob the Titan, who was left behind after aiding Nico in an earlier quest. To save Bob, Nico and Will travel to the deepest, darkest reaches of the Underworld, fighting a score of frightening monsters, primordial entities, and personal demons along the way.
The Sun and the Star is both a bracing work of middle-grade urban fantasy and a beautiful LGBTQ+ love story. Riordan and Oshiro (Anger Is a Gift;Into the Light) are sincere, thoughtful, and honest when illustrating real-life problems such as relationship conflicts and traumatic life experiences. At the same time, the book is characterized by the same easygoing attitude and dry humor that readers have come to love and expect from Riordan's suite of novels. The Sun and the Star is a wonderful addition to a widely beloved mythico-fantastic universe. --Cade Williams, freelance book reviewer