How do you punish an immortal?
By making him human.
After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour.
But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go… an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.
Description taken from Goodreads.
Somewhere between reading and posting the review for The Sword of Summer and finding out about The Trials of Apollo, I decided that my Rick Riordan days were over.
Sad, but true. Riordan’s gotten to the point where he’s rinsing and repeating his plot, characters, and world. With the Magnus Chase books, I felt that Magnus was a watered-down version of Percy, just in the Norse setting. The setup was a little bit different, but everything was fundamentally the same.
However, when I heard about Apollo’s books, I got sucked back into the world again, and it wasn’t bad. Riordan’s repetition is very thinly veiled (to the point where you have to pointedly ignore it), but Apollo’s story stands on its own and is well worth the read.
First of all, I think everyone who read the book would agree that Apollo is the star of the show. He’s arrogant and irritating and self-centered and can’t understand why people are treating him like just another person. But he also has existential issues. He’s also hilarious (most of the time) and endearing and he comes to truly care about the people around him, especially Megan and his children.
In short, he’s a great teenager. Well, not the part about his children. But his personality shined throughout the story, and Riordan did a fantastic job of writing from his POV.
Second of all, it wouldn’t be a part of Riordan’s universe if there weren’t cameos. There are plenty of characters who drift in and out of the story. One that’s not a spoiler is Percy, who was definitely my favorite cameo from this story. Seeing him was almost completely different from seeing him within other stories.
He’s no longer the clueless kid who wandered into Camp Half Blood years ago. He has legitimate promises to keep to his parents and to his girlfriend, and he’s just about ready to give up the life-or-death-all-out-war style. Again, it’s sad. My favorite version of Percy is still The Last Olympian Percy. But it’s inevitable, and I’m glad that Riordan’s recognizing that.
THAT DOESN’T MEAN OLD PERCY’S GONE. It just means that he’s maturing, and it’s great to see that within Riordan’s stories. In fact, he shows growth in many of his original characters, and it was pleasantly surprising.
No matter what, I still love Riordan’s writing. Everything is tight, well-researched, and clever. The plot twists still surprise me, and the characters still take up space in my heart. I went into The Hidden Oracle not wanting to fall for Meg or Apollo, and I came out caring about whether they live or die.
And as a side note, I can completely foresee Apollo saying goodbye to Meg in the final book aka a big green sign saying “Welcome to the Land of Heartbreak.” ;-;
Most of The Hidden Oracle was pretty surprising to me, but in the end, it’s too… Riordan. Yes, the plot surprised me in some places. Yes, it was clever in places. Despite that, it’s his classic formula, and I’d like to see something new. He’s perfectly capable of coming up with something stunning, and I have high hopes for the next books within the series.
Now, how much I enjoyed the book has nothing to do with my opinion of Riordan. I’m still coming to terms with the fact that he’s now in the same boat as Cassandra Clare, and The Hidden Oracle can’t change that. Riordan pushes far too hard for humor and diversity within his stories, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it wasn’t so overwhelming. I prefer not to choke on good intentions and agenda within my novels, and unfortunately, that’s what it’s come to.
The fact of the matter remains that writers shouldn’t call characters diverse and then completely ignore that character’s culture and perspectives and background. I’ve thoroughly covered that issue in other posts, so I won’t go over it here, but I will say that I wish I could enjoy Riordan’s work the way I used to.
All of that aside, would I recommend this book? Yes. Will I continuing the series, feeling the way I do now about The Hidden Oracle and the rest of his series? Perhaps regrettably, yes. Sophie and several others have predicted that there’ll be an overlap between The Gods of Asgard, The Trials of Apollo, The Kane Chronicles, and the Heroes of Olympus, and I want to be around to see that. Moreover, The Hidden Oracle has captured my attention for Riordan’s stories once again.