The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan

Via Goodreads

Rated it: 4 stars

Read: October of 2016

SPOILERS IF YOU HAVENT READ THE OTHER PJO BOOKS.

We’ve met the glorious Apollo in the first Percy Jackson books, with his good-natured arrogance (if that’s a thing), and is basically full of himself and selfish but benevolent about it. After the fiasco in Blood of Olympus, Zeus had to find someone to blame and Apollo happened to be the perfect scapegoat, brought him down to earth. Literally, the dude landed in a dumpster in New York.

There he met a ferocious garbage wielding twelve-year-old demigoddess Meg. If you recall towards the end of the last series the Oracle of Delphi was silenced, therefore prophecy was cut off, meaning no quests.

Somehow connected to it all an ancient power that is slipping out of the shadows from which they’d lurked during the Second Titan War and the waking of Gaia. It is up to Apollo and Meg to reclaim the Oracle, of course with the help of our favourite demigods!

The most satisfying part of it all was Apollo’s character progression. I’d known it was unlikely Apollo was that oblivious after four thousand years. He had had his share of pain and regrets that still weighed on him, it was much easier to live beneath this mask of perfection, good cheer and narcism and some willful ignorance.

However his unwelcomed mortality opened his eyes to all those he took for granted, it made space for true fear, more searing remorse and … appreciation for the sacrifices of others. If anything, being humiliated, being made to get his hands dirty since after a long time, he was brought even more down earth. Not to mention, the unforeseen betrayal sobered him up some as well.

I’ll say it again, his character growth from beginning to end took the cake for me. The latter half of the book is the most enjoyable, so stick through it even if you find him incredibly petty and self-absorbed in the first half.

I was doubtful about this one after the disappointment that was BoO, but I was not let down. With Rick’s trademark humour and “lol” inducing moments, he made me happy, made loads of us outrageously happy I think. Can’t wait to dive into the next one.

***

Edit: I wanted to include a couple of my responses on Amazon to two separate reviewers who both gave this a one-star rating because it expanded on my own review above. I won’t say their usernames but will put the brief reviews for context.

Do not go on Amazon to harass these people, I’ll be in deep shist if this gets out of hand. Please.

R1 : well the book didnt include grover or much action like the sea of monsters or the lightning thief and all the book is about is he getting back up to zeus . Apollo doesn’t really do much and it sucks

Me : Hmm, I don’t think it’s so much about getting back in Zeus’ favor though for all it would seem to be. To me, it’s about Apollo’s growth from a whiny little shit, who chose to bury his failures and insecurities beneath a mask of smiles, good cheer, and narcism.

This all became possible when his dad kicked his ass out of the house, and here on the way to getting back up in Olympus he meets demigods who did the dirty work, he gets humiliated and humbled. In the process, he is forced to face his past. Notice how he was sent as a sixteen-year-old (I could be mistaken) which fits the “bratty teenager” thing he had going on all the time, and by the end of the book, he sounds way more mature than in the beginning.

Also, this wasn’t meant to be another “Percy, Annabeth and Grover” at all, though Percy makes a couple appearances and the other two are mentioned. And I agree, the action factor isn’t as big in this one since they were confined mostly to Camp Half-Blood, things are going to get crazy in “The Dark Prophecy” since they say they’re going cross country and they be meeting some familiar faces. What I’m trying to say? Don’t knock it just yet

***

R2 : The new gay theme ruined the story. The original series was good but the new theme is annoying and takes away from the story. Rick Riordan needs to foucus on the story telling rather than to ruin it with the gay theme.

Me : Are you serious? The “gay theme” is actually subtle. Nico and Will’s relationship is clearly stated in some of their interactions, sure, and Apollo briefly mentions that this not uncommon among gods. But by no means was this a major aspect of the story nor did it take from the mystery and thrill of the quest, in my opinion. That said, can you please elaborate on how this affected your reading experience? 

Cross-posted from Goodreads

Have you given a piece of your soul to Rick Riordan yet? If not, I sincerely advise you to give that a go, you’ll fangirl like you’ve never before. If you have and read this, what do you think? Disappointed? Relieved? Dying of the feels? Did the gay take all the fun away? Let me know in the comments below.

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