‘Chalice of the Gods’ by Rick Riordan: Percy Jackson returns in a new adventure where the stakes are low and the nostalgia is high

This Chalice of the Gods book review will remain spoiler-free as we discuss the latest novel from Rick Riordan, officially being hailed as Percy Jackson and the Olympians #6 and kicking off a new trilogy following the titular character in his senior year of high school.

Percy Jackson fans are eating well these days, between the recent The Sun and the Star: A Nico DiAngelo Adventure, the forthcoming Percy Jackson and the Olympians Disney+ series, and now Chalice of the Gods.

If you can believe it, it’s been 14 years since Rick Riordan wrote a book strictly from Percy Jackson’s point of view. The last time we got this kind of first-person narrative was with The Last Olympian, the final book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

If you’ve been following along since the announcement of Chalice of the Gods, you’ll know that the author planned on writing this book as an incentive for Disney to greenlight the series. Turns out, he needn’t have worried, but the story kept churning in his mind anyway. And, well, here we are!

Chalice of the Gods takes place after the events of Heroes of Olympus and before The Trials of Apollo, during Percy Jackson’s senior year at Alternative High School. It’s an interesting time for Percy, Annabeth, and Grover because they’re still coming to terms with what happened in HoO and they have no idea what’s coming next—but, for better or worse, we do!

Percy lost an entire year due to the events of Heroes of Olympus, which means he’s got a lot of homework to make up. Even more terrifying, however, is the fact that he has to get into college.

Luckily, he knows exactly where he wants to go—New Rome University with his girlfriend Annabeth Chase. The problem? Percy needs three recommendation letters from three different gods in order to finalize his acceptance. As if high school wasn’t hard enough, now he has to go on more quests? Such is the life of a demigod.

If you’re wondering whether Chalice of the Gods feels like the original Percy Jackson series, I’m here to tell you not to worry. Having just re-read Percy Jackson and the Olympians on my podcast Prophecy Radio, I can assure you that Percy’s voice is loud and clear in this new installment.

chalice of the gods book review

But not all is the same. Sure, Percy is as sarcastic, witty, and resourceful as always, but he’s also much more introspective, nostalgic, and wistful in this book. Rick said the stakes in Chalice of the Gods were a lot less world-destroying and much more personal, and you can sense that in the pacing of the story. We get to see Percy at school, hanging out for family dinners, and even at a swim meet. This book reads like a slice-of-life novel, and as a result, we get to see Percy reflecting on where he’s been and where he’s going. It makes for a much more mature narration, and I, for one, loved seeing this side of Percy Jackson.

For anyone who found this Chalice of the Gods book review from Prophecy Radio or my personal social media accounts, you’ll know that I’ve been a long-time fan of Percy Jackson. I haven’t met a book written by Rick Riordan that I haven’t fallen in love with, and this one is no exception. Truly, if you’re a fan of this character and this universe, there’s a lot to love within these pages.

Like so many of the other books, we get to meet new gods and visit with familiar friends. Unique monsters cause mayhem for the trio, and we even get to visit some new places around New York City that are certainly much more than they appear. If you haven’t read the original books in a while (or, in my case, Heroes of Olympus), you won’t find yourself lost trying to remember all the details from the ten previous books. If you do remember them? Well, the subtle references to the past and future will prove even more gratifying.

As much as I love the fact that this is a return to form for Percy Jackson, I was also thrilled that Rick went back to his roots by having the trio team up once again. Annabeth Chase is attending the School of Design, New York City and matches Percy quip for quip at every turn. Grover Underwood is still Lord of the Wild and doing his best to care for the wilderness along with his fellow satyrs and dryads.

These three together just feels right, and I especially loved seeing Grover’s continued growth and courage after everything they’d been through. He’s come a long way since The Lightning Thief, and it’s nice seeing him take on an important role with the Council of Cloven Elders as Percy and Annabeth plan to move across the country for college.

I also can’t write a Chalice of the Gods book review without mentioning the Percabeth of it all. Percy’s got it bad for Annabeth, and I loved every second of it. Their relationship still feels young and full of energy, but it also has a deep maturity that promises a long and healthy future.

While the stakes may be lower in this book, they’re just as important to Percy, who can’t imagine a life without Annabeth in it. He’ll do anything to get into New Rome University, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be happy about all these new quests! Though I certainly was. The mystery of who stole the Chalice of the Gods kept me guessing until the end, and I love the way it was eventually resolved. Knowing that we have Wrath of the Triple Goddess coming up next makes me all the more excited to continue existing in the Percy Jackson universe.

‘Chalice of the Gods’ by Rick Riordan published on September 26, 2023

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