Monday, May 9, 2016

Book Review 40. The Hidden Oracle

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1)
Book: The Hidden Oracle
Series: The Trials of Apollo (#1)
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Pages: 384
Published: May 3rd, 2016

Summary: 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.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

"Things can turn out differently, Apollo. That's the nice thing about being human. We only have one life, but we can choose what kind of story it's going to be."

Hey, remember how when I wrote a review for the last book in The Heroes of Olympus series I said how sad I was that this was the last time I'd ever see these characters? I think I used the phrase "This is the final hurrah," and used this gif:

Funny story about that!

Every time I think I've seen the last of Percy Jackson, Riordan announces a new series. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, because I love Percy's world and all the characters in it with all my heart, but I am 100% convinced Riordan will just keep writing about Percy until he dies. Don't get me wrong, I squeal just like everyone else when I see people from his old books reappear in new stories, but I feel like Rick turning into a one-trick pony. This doesn't mean I won't buy any book he writes that's even vaguely related to Percy though. He's got me there.

Speaking of which, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK UNTIL YOU READ ALL OF THE PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS SERIES AND ALL OF THE HEROES OF OLYMPUS SERIES. For real. It has so many spoilers for those two series, and you'll miss so much vital worldbuilding and be spoiled if you ever go back.

Right. Now onto the real review.

This wasn't Riordan's best book in the universe by a long shot, but that doesn't mean I didn't love it. Apollo has a very distinct voice, and is narcissistic and self-centered but yet over the course of the story learns to be pretty selfless in his still mostly self-obsessed way. I am so ready to see him grow and develop in the following books.

He is also blatantly and shamelessly bisexual, and we see two other characters in the book who are gay as hell and in love, and it is beautiful. All the LGBT-ness in Riordan's previous books has been either subtext or kind of a thing happening to the side, but to have it front and center is AWESOME and adorable. Yet, even though Apollo is pansexual, he doesn't really have a love interest in the book. This does make sense, since the only people he forms real relationships with are his children and a twelve-year-old girl named Meg. I'm not sure how to feel about it. It's almost better like this, since it would have felt fake for Apollo to immediately find love after falling to Earth, especially since the book all takes place in about a week.

To be frank, he doesn't need to be in love. His relationships with his children (some of whom are technically older than him, mythology is weird) and Meg (the relationship building is mostly with Meg) are what drive the story, and they are what I want to be further developed. But that being said, the main relationship there was between those two gay boys (trying not to give spoilers) *SWOON*.

Still, I did not like this one as much because I feel like not a lot happened in this book. It is shorter than many of Riordan's books, but all of the other ones just felt jam packed with events and battle scenes and character development, while this one did have some, but not the level of quality or quantity that I had seen before. I wanted Apollo to face just a few more challenges. This may have been due to the fact that the whole plot takes place at Camp Half-Blood or the woods or Camp Half-Blood or the area surrounding Camp Half-Blood. With stories with the same characters that spanned oceans and continents, maybe what I wanted was something more extensive.

And on a final note, each chapter started with a haiku. Some of my favorites:
"They have gone missing?
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
No, et cetera"

"Check your spam folder
The prophecies might be there
No? Well, I'm stumped. Bye"

"You've got to be kid-
Well, crud, what just happened there?
I ran out of syl-"

"Practice makes perfect
Ha, ha, ha, I don't think so
Ignore my sobbing"
Pure gold.

Even if this one wasn't my favorite Riordan books, I still enjoyed it and would suggest it to anyone who had already read Riordan's other books (read them in the order they were published, NO SKIPPING AROUND!).


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