“The Hidden Oracle” by Rick Riordan

trialsofapollo

asteriaiconThe Hidden Oracle follows the God Apollo, who has been punished by his father Zeus. One minute he is an immortal Greek god, the next he is human. And not just any gorgeous, chiselled human, but a sixteen year old, flabby, acne cursed human named Lester Papadopoulos. He falls from Olympus into a garbage bin in New York, and while struggling to figure out what has happened, he is accosted by a few street thugs. Here, he is saved by our lead female character, Meg McCaffrey, a ragamuffin street kid dressed in rainbow colours, and seems incredibly strong.

Apollo has been turned human before by his father, and he knows that in order to become immortal again, he must accomplish some form of trial to prove his worthiness of being a god again. But how does he figure out what that trial may be? He decides he needs to go to Camp Half Blood, along with Meg, and ask Chiron for some help.  But once they arrives he finds out that things are a lot worse than he thought, and there are bigger problems than just him being human.

Camp Half Blood is losing campers. A few have been seen wandering off into the forest and no one knows why they disappeared. All forms of communication at camp have stopped working, from cell phones to Iris messages. To make things worse, the Oracle of Delphi has stopped producing prophecies. This puts Apollo in a pickle: in order for him to find out what sort of trial/quest he needs to go on to get his immortality back he needs a prophecy from the Oracle, but the Oracle is not giving out any prophecies so he has no quest.  Apollo must figure out how to save the Oracle and get a quest in order to become a god again.

When I found out that there were a few more books by Rick Riordan since The Heroes of Olympus series, I got really excited. I loved his Percy Jackson series, and while I enjoyed the Heroes series, I admittedly still have to finish it. But, I picked this book up and felt immediately among friends. I didn’t have to finish the Heroes series to understand what was going on, Riordan has built into his story a bit of back history so that the reader can still follow along seamlessly.

I also loved that the fact that while Percy Jackson makes a guest appearance, he isn’t the focal point of the novel. While I love the character, it gives Apollo his day in the sun (get it…Sun God…sorry I had to!). Seriously though, I loved that Apollo is as arrogant and narcissistic as always at the start, yet still a very likable character (which is hard to pull off), and he seems to grow over the course of the book. Being human seems to humble him a bit, and make him see what people really think of him, where he went wrong in the past, and face some pretty tough truths in his forever history.

There were other aspects of Riordan’s books I have come to look forward to. I love that he adds in ridiculous kids humour and antics…his books after all are really written for kids. But even the big finale of the book is rather ridiculous and kiddish, and I loved that about it! I know that I may be a 30-odd-something woman reading a kids book, but I enjoyed the hell out of it. I also loved the fact that he has a few gay characters and he approaches it in a very tasteful and simple way.

I remember being in grade 10 English class, and having a thoroughly boring teacher who couldn’t make Greek mythology interesting to save her soul. It was so dull and factual and had no flow or reason to it. If Riordan’s series’ had been out when I was a kid, maybe I would have paid more attention in class. I love the mythology, and I LOVE that it gets kids interested in history and reading and wanting to learn more! To me, that is the ultimate compliment I can give an author! I loved hand selling these series to kids at the book store, and loved seeing how much they enjoyed them.  Little did I know just how much I would enjoy his work too! I can’t wait to read the next installment!

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