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Rick Riordan – The Hidden Oracle

July 11, 2017

36. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan (2016)
The Trials of Apollo, Book 1

Length: 376 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Started: 04 July 2017
Finished: 08 July 2017

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? When I got the second Magnus Chase book it mentioned this one in the back and I couldn’t believe I’d missed one! (This book does sneak in some little references to the Magnus Chase series – a mention of Annabeth going to Boston, Apollo reminiscing about meeting a god in a Stockholm tavern who had a sword that would not shut up, etc.)

Being human is
hard, but it’s worse when you’re used
to being a god.

Summary: Apollo has been made mortal and kicked out of Olympus before, but this time, it really stings. To start out with, he landed in garbage. He’s stuck in the body of a pudgy, acne-ridden 16-year-old named Lester Papadopoulos. He’s lost his godly powers of music, archery, and healing. Most of his memory of the six months since Gaea’s battle with the gods is missing. He’s bound to serve Meg McCaffrey, an annoying demigod street urchin with a penchant for throwing fruit. And when he finally makes his way to Camp Half-Blood in search of answers (and as much as he hates to admit it, help), he finds that things there are pretty dire as well. Campers have been mysteriously disappearing, the Oracle isn’t working, so they have no prophecies to guide them, communication is down, and Apollo can hear strange whisperings in the trees. Even though he’s only mortal, can Apollo and the demigods figure out what’s going on in time to stop it from destroying everything, including Apollo’s chances of reclaiming his godhood?

Review: Rick Riordan’s books are somewhat hard to review, as a) there’s a lot of them, and b) they’re pretty consistently good. This book, the start of a new series (but also a continuation of the larger Percy Jackson / Heroes of Olympus series), was just as exciting and fast-paced and clever about the blending of mythology with the modern world as Riordan’s books always are. But I didn’t like it quite as much as normal, since Apollo is not nearly as appealing a main character as Percy Jackson or Jason or Annabeth or Leo or Nico or any of the other demigods, and this book is entirely from his first-person point-of-view. Apollo, even in mortal form, is arrogant, demanding, and blithely unaware of his own faults, and while I get that that is both the joke and part of his character arc, the joke got old pretty quickly. The fish-out-of-water storyline was pretty standard, although it was interesting seeing Apollo interact with his demigod children, given that he is now their same age (and powerless, as well.) There was some impressive ret-conning involved in the plot of this series’s Big Bad (or at least I suspect it was ret-conning; maybe Riordan planned it in advance, but if not, it’s done pretty seamlessly.) I also quite liked Meg (and her “pet” demon, Peaches), and am interested to see where Riordan takes her character in future books. And since Apollo has gotten over himself to some extent by the end of this volume, hopefully I’ll find him a little less annoying in the next book in the series (which of course I will be reading.) 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Although it’s technically the first book in new series, it really doesn’t do a lot of explanation about demigods / Camp Half-Blood / what happened in previous books / who any of these characters are, so I think it’s best read after the two preceding series (which are good fun anyways). It’s starting a new storyline six months later, so you don’t need the details of the previous books fresh in your mind, but I do think you need some of the background that this one doesn’t provide.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: The Immortal Readers, In Bed With Books, Small Review, and more at the Book Blogs Search Engine.
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: My name is Apollo. I used to be a god.

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