I have a NetGalley account, although I don’t use it as much as I probably should. This particular book is one I would have picked up anyway, so when I saw it on NetGalley, of course I submitted a request for it, and was delighted when it was granted.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve read all of Riordan’s Greek Heroes series, with the most recent being The Blood of Olympus. I’ve really enjoyed all of them, although sometimes the heroes all blend into the same voice – this was my issue with Magnus Chase earlier this year, although I don’t think I actually posted a review of that.
Nonetheless, the new Greek demigods series, The Trials of Apollo, begins with its first offering, The Hidden Oracle, and I was more than interested enough to begin.
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.
I really like Rick Riordan’s books. I’ve definitely mentioned that before. They’re snarky, witty, and refreshingly entertaining. I love Greek mythology, and I love modern retellings of Greek mythology. Basically, Riordan ticks all the boxes for me, in theory.
This book was no exception. I enjoyed it a lot. I liked the storyline, and I liked the new characters. I liked the old characters, and the nods to the stars of the previous series. I liked that Solangelo was thrown in as no big deal, and that Apollo was a canon bisexual character, with two great past loves, one male, one female. All good things.
Apollo as a narrator is incredibly self-absorbed, irritating, clueless, arrogant, and often intensely frustrating. These aren’t complaints, though. This is how he’s been presented throughout the ten books prior to this, and one can’t expect any change from him. However, you can see that over the course of this book (and throughout the next four, I would hazard a guess), being mortal is having something of an effect on what an obnoxious git Apollo can be. He’s intensely frustrating to read, especially when you’re inside his head, but this is clearly presented as being an extremely negative quality, and Apollo’s insistence on his godly superiority will, I would hope, be seriously crushed by the end of the series.
I had a few little complaints about the book – mostly involving things like a short story being included at the end so that I thought I had twenty more minutes of plot left and ended up suddenly bereft, and the fact that Apollo has, for some reason, an extra name (Lester Papadopolous) which is mentioned, scoffed at, and then instantly forgotten. I also didn’t really understand how or why Apollo’s godly powers seem to zone in and out at crucial or tense moments, but for the most part, this was a cracking start to a new Greek myths series, and I am excited to see the next few books.
Favourite new character, incidentally? Peaches, a karpoi, who has an incredible amount of personality for a spirit which can only say one word. Looking forward to seeing more of that guy!