In light of the recent Dark Prophecy release, I decided to read and review The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle as the series is becoming increasingly popular in the PJO fandom.
The basic premise of the book is that Zeus is mad at Apollo for Octavian’s (a descendant of Apollo who almost destroys the world during the war with Gaea in the Heroes of Olympus series) actions and decided to punish him by striping Apollo if his immortality and dropping him to Earth under the guise of Lester Papadopolous, an awkward, curly-haired, acne-faced fifteen year old who lacks every bit of swagger that Apollo is accustomed to. And by dropping, I literally mean dropping. The first scene of the book is Apollo being dropped into a garbage can in an extremely sketchy alley. He quickly meets a girl named Meg McCaffrey who claims Apollo as her helper in order to help him regain his immortality. The spoiler-free summary is that they go on a massive and slightly humbling mission that involves meeting Apollo’s Camp Halfblood kids, some geyser gods, and a business known as The Triumvirate. And no Uncle Rick book would be complete without some mention of Percy Jackson. Except this time, Percy is on his high school swim team and simply wants to pass the SAT and DSTOMP (Demigod Standard Test of Mad Powers). He doesn’t want to be involved at all and makes that very clear to Apollo, but of course in true Percy Jackson fashion, comes in to assist in saving the day at the very end complete with Riptide, Mrs. O’Leary, and insults thrown at a massive golden statue that’s trying to destroy Camp Halfblood. But then again, when isn’t some massive relic of Greco-Roman culture trying to destroy the camp?
Rick keeps his flawless reputation for enthralling the reader in this book. It was absolutely incredible and had an amazing plot while still weaving perfectly into the Percy Jackson universe. All our favorite characters are brought up as well as introducing us to a few more legends, such as Crotch-Kicker McCaffrey and Peaches, a Karpos with serious anger issues. Also, there is so much Solangelo (Will Solace and Nico Di Angelo) that it’s a shipper’s dream. They get themselves entangled in a fair amount of trouble as well, but don’t worry, Nico has a doctor’s note.
One of the newly introduced characters is Meg McCaffrey. Meg has so much depth as a character and I can’t wait to dig into The Dark Prophecy to get to know her and see what kind of decisions she makes going into the future. There is mention of an abusive past but nothing goes into detail other than the reveal of her stepfather and small hints into her life with him. I hope that book two gives us more insight into her extremely mysterious past and also allows us to watch her mature and choices she is going to be forced to make as the major conflict of the series gets closer and closer.
And last but certainly not least, there is Apollo. His narcissism is funny in the beginning, but soon tagged as his major flaw that could lead to his early demise. He has by far the most interesting character arch that he often calls out himself. A sarcastic comment here and there similar to “oh gods what have I come to” while charging into some selfless task is not out of the ordinary. His shift in character is not very drastic, but it’s incredibly easy to see from the beginning that Apollo’s new set of mortal trials will be nothing like they have been the two other times he was catapulted down to Earth. I think that Apollo is going to be a very interesting character to follow going into the next couple books and I very much look forward to seeing how Riordan handles his arch. The character switch from narcissism to a more selfless persona is extremely easy to make cheesy and unenjoyable but it’s also one we haven’t seen from Uncle Rick yet so I really look forward to seeing how he handles it.
Overall I thought the book was incredible. It’s full of hilarious one-liners and unforgettable quotes that were definitely highlighter worthy, as well as an amazing plot filled to the brim with deep and lovable characters. As a fan of anything with Rick Riordan’s name on it, I had no trouble accepting the book into my PJO collection that is ever growing on my bookshelf.