Title: The Hidden Oracle
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Mythology, Young Adult
Series: The Trials of Apollo
Setting: New York, Present time
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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.
The Hidden Oracle brings us back to the world of Greek mythology surviving in modern times, but this time through the eyes of Lester Papadopoulos, a.k.a, the Greek god Apollo. I must confess that I love all of Rick Riordan’s mythological series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, The Kane Chronicles and Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard. When the book came out, I was slightly apprehensive. Although I’d be very happy to read about Percy again, I was afraid the narrative tone would be pretty much the same too. For all those who have shied away because of this reason or feel that Rick Riordan is doing this just for the money, just turn the final page and tell me if you still feel the same. I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained.
It seems as if Uncle Rick’s humour is getting better with age. The ease with which he writes about a four-thousand-year-old God trapped in the body of a sixteen-year-old mortal (with acne) is amazing. The haikus at the beginning of each chapter is a great touch. There were many instances in the book where I laughed out loud and I’m one of those people who only manages a smile at best when reading humour. Even some of the action scenes cracked me up, all without taking away the urgency and confusion.
One of the book’s biggest strengths is that Apollo doesn’t sound anything like Percy (or Magnus or Carter). He’s exactly as you would expect a powerful immortal to sound like. At first, he’s extremely arrogant and self-centred. Slowly, he develops a touch of human qualities such as loyalty and perseverance. He begins to see the faults of his godly nature. I am in love with Apollo’s character and the subtle transformation just makes him even more endearing. He’s also a great father, much better than he was when on Mount Olympus (this is the point where you stop reading this review and pick up the book to understand what I mean).
Coming to the next major character, Meg is definitely not your typical hero. A powerful daughter of an Olympian (this is a spoiler-free review, I swear on the Styx), she’s surprisingly well-trained for a demigod outside of Camp and excellent at keeping her secrets. She has had a difficult past yet manages to be carefree and happy most of time. Despite the way she’s raised, she makes the right choice when it really matters. I definitely want to see more of her in the coming books.
The plot is mostly predictable, but the writing and characters more than make up for it. The adventures and the battles are just as exciting. The cameos by Percy, Chiron and Rachel provide just the right hint of familiarity and connection to the older series. Apollo still has a long way to go before Zeus reinstates him, but I plan to thoroughly enjoy every moment of the journey. Sorry, Apollo, but mortality becomes you.
I would recommend this book to everyone interested in mythology, teenagers, adults who enjoy young adult fiction and to all those who would love to have a good laugh.
About the Author:
Rick Riordan, , dubbed “storyteller of the gods” by Publishers Weekly, is the author of four New York Times #1 best-selling series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus, based on Greek and Roman mythology; the Kane Chronicles, based on Egyptian mythology; and Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, based on Norse mythology. Rick lives in Boston, Massachusetts, with his wife and two sons. To learn more about him, visit his website: http://www.rickriordan.com/
Special thanks to the Muse Calliope for inspiring this blog post. Please continue to aid me in all my writing endeavours.
Have you read the book? What did you make of it? Is it on your TBR list already or are you likely to add it? Have you read other books by the author? Let me know in the comments section.