Friday, May 6, 2016

Book Review: The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1)

Release Date: May 3, 2016
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Length: 384 pages
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

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.



Protagonist: One of the key selling points of this book is that it's told from the Point of View of a god, more specifically of the god, Apollo. Now, I don't know why, but for some reason I didn't think that the idea of a godly narrator would be that special or different, but these are the Greek gods we're talking about. They are all vain, egotistical, and not afraid to let others fight their battles. Not to mention that Apollo embodies these characteristics the most. You'd think reading from the point of view of a character so full of himself and pompous would get annoying eventually, but since we know that Apollo is a good guy at heart and that he will undoubtedly grow and mature over the course of this series, it definitely came off as a lot more humorous than annoying. Plus it's secretly satisfying watching someone learn that the world doesn't revolve around them, even though the world does revolve around the sun of which Apollo is the god.

World-Building: There is so much to cover in this section I can't even tell you. First off let me say that I went into this book very blind. I only knew that this series revolved around a now human Apollo who needs to earn Zeus's favor again, and that he travels to Camp Half-Blood for help. I dond't know who the villain of this book was, I didn't know what the quest for this series is, none of it, and since it's been over a year since I read the last Heroes of Olympus book, I didn't remember all that much about where this world left off. Luckily there's a lot of checking in done in this book. We check in with a bunch of the Camp Half-Blood crew including but not limited to Percy, Will, Nico, Chiron, and a certain fan favorite demigod. Then of course we have a whole cast of new demigods to learn about. Don't worry though it doesn't look like all these new characters will be permanent fixtures for the series, just a few. Now one thing I was really interested to see is that in a lot of ways this feels like the beginning of the end of Camp Half-Blood books, which if I'm being honest I'm fine with. I love this world and there will always be a part of me that won't want to see it go, but I think fifteen Camp Half-Blood books is plenty.

Predictability: I love how Riordan foreshadows his books. I have to say out of everything he does right, foreshadowing is near the top. There are quite a few twists in this book and it's weird saying that as an adult I was caught off guard by a Middle-Grade novel, but I totally was, it wasn't the first time and it hopefully won't be the last. There were a few of the twists where just before the big reveal, something gives it away, just enough so that my mind goes haywire and then when it's confirmed I freak out for a bit. Honestly, I'm trying to think if I caught on to any of the twists in this book, but I have to say that I don't think I did. I mean there were things that I expected to happen, or not happen, as it would completely ruin the entire book if it did, but there wasn't really a moment where I was annoyed about a twist the I called forever ago, or got frustrated about the author hitting me over the head with a twist they tried to pass off as surprising.

Ending: That was quite an ending. Since this is the first book is this new series, the ending of this book doesn't have a Mark of Athena-esque cliffhanger and it doesn't leave our heroes in a dark and hopeless place. There's quite a bit revealed toward the end of this adventure. There are actually two very climactic moments in the end that sort of make for one very large final climax, or well at least that's how I chose to interpret it. Old friends return and as this installment comes to a close there's a bit of information about where the next installment is going. I have to say I'm really excited for what's teased here at the end. There's still a lot to do and more trials for Apollo to pass, but hey at least there's no cliffhanger.


So, some people may want to flay me alive for this, but I think this may be my new favorite Riordan series. Look I love all his other series, and the Magnus Chase series is still ongoing, but there's something about this series that I just love so much. Some of it's the fan service, which is there but it's not abundant, and some of it's the plot and direction for this series, which I'm going to be mum on because I think it's best to go into this series as blind as possible. I don't know if I can wait another year for The Dark Prophecy.


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