“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.” ― Rick Riordan.
I received a digital copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A couple of months ago the first book in a new series by Rick Riordan was published. Like two of his previous series’ (Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus), this series is based around Greek mythology and includes characters from Riordan’s previous books.
Riordan’s new series, The Trials of Apollo, focuses on a new character, Apollo. Now, Apollo isn’t new as a character, but he is new to us as a narrator. In fact, never before in any of Riordan’s books have we read from the perspective of one of the Gods.
In The Hidden Oracle Zeus has punished Apollo after the events in The Heroes of Olympus by sending him to earth as a mortal. He’s given a new face, a new identity and has had his divine powers taken away from him. In his weakened state as a mortal, Apollo decides that his safest bet is Camp Half-Blood. Meanwhile at Camp Half-Blood demigods are going missing, the camp is cut off from outside help and with a lack of prophecies being made, no one knows what to do.
Reading The Hidden Oracle I had a love/hate relationship with Apollo. I often found him funny, but there were also moments where I just couldn’t believe that someone could be that self-centred. I find it really hard to like and sympathise with characters who are egotistical, so there were moments where I’d read and just cringe at the things Apollo would say/think about himself and those around him. However, I also understand that it’s the way the character is, and to be honest it’s difficult to try and see Apollo depicted in another way. As a result, as much as he may have annoyed me, I couldn’t help rooting for him.
Meg… Now Meg is a tricky one. I didn’t really like her character, but you can’t like them all, right? I found her demigod abilities interesting and it was nice having a focus on a daughter of Demeter since she’s one of those goddesses you don’t hear as much about. However, I just found her annoying, although I did love the interactions between her and Apollo as I kind of enjoyed Apollo’s annoyance.
As with all of Riordan’s books, The Hidden Oracle, was full of humour and adventure. It was also really lovely catching up with other characters who I know we all loved from the previous series’. However, I will be honest, I hate how Percy is continuously drawn into everything. It just makes everything feel repetitive and as much as I appreciated seeing him at the beginning of the novel, I didn’t feel it was necessary for him to make another appearance later on.
Saying that, Apollo is a very different character to Percy, so it was refreshing to be reading from a new perspective, even if it is that of a selfish and narcissistic former God in a teenage boy’s body. In a weird way it’s also nice that it is always clear that Apollo’s priority is helping himself. Of course, this doesn’t make him a nice person, but it does make a nice change to what you usually see in books. I suppose because Riordan’s been writing these books for a long time now and has built up a nice following, he can get away with creating more unlikeable characters because there are other well-loved characters in the book and no matter how much we like any character, they are all written well.
Another thing I loved about having Apollo as the main character was that we learnt more about his past. Apollo has been alive for centuries, he has so many stories and memories (even if some of them were fading in his mortal form). It was really enjoyable hearing more about him as well as his interactions with other Gods and heroes we’re aware of and of course learning all about the different oracles. I also liked the references to The Iliad, hehe.
Overall, I really liked this book. I wouldn’t recommend it if you haven’t read any of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians books, or even The Heroes of Olympus. I mean you can read it, but I really do not think you would enjoy the book as much as if you had read the others. However, if you love Riordan’s previous work and all the greek mythology and humour and adventure you’re familiar with in his books (and even some of the characters) then you will most likely love this book. I rate it 4/5.
Have you read The Hidden Oracle? What did you think?
Unfortunately, when I read the original Percy Jackson books I didn’t write reviews back then; however, if you would like to read any of my reviews from the Heroes of Olympus series, they can be found here.