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After his role in the events in the Heroes of Olympus, Apollo has been turned in a 16-year-old human boy by Zeus and must serve the first demigod that enlists his service until his father has deemed him worthy to re-join Olympus.
After all the flaws that abounded in the previous series, The Hidden Oracle is somewhat refreshing. As mentioned in past reviews, a lot of the characters in the last series kind of blended together. Pretty much all of the female characters were indistinguishable from one another and the same issue held with Percy and Jason. Apollo is a unique and humorous character that made the experience of reading this book different than past books.
Apollo is convinced that he is the best thing to happen since sliced bread and constantly takes the chance to remind the reader and those around him of it. To some, constantly listening to Apollo’s ego can get tiresome but it was humorous and refreshing enough to still be enjoyable. The fact that it is not a very long book so you don’t have to deal with it much all at once also helps the reader not get too tired of him.
Honestly, Apollo’s humorously egotistical voice is what makes this book.
That said, this book is filled with plot devices.
For example, part of Apollo being human means that he can’t remember every little thing that happened to him as a god. He knows who he is of course but there are gaps in his memory so he conveniently forgets thing relevant to the plot only to conveniently remember them later on. An argument for this is that the brain of a 16 year old human can’t contain all the information that the brain of a god that has been around for 4000 years can. That kind of makes sense but it just seemed like a way to make more problems for the protagonist of a story. As if a god losing his powers wasn’t enough of a problem!
Some of the plot devices get spoiler-y but suffice to say that part of the conflict in this story is that Rachel Dare can’t give prophecies anymore. So no one can go on a quest to do anything…like fix the reason she can’t give prophecies.
The story is modeled after those from ancient times and a lot of those stories did start out with a prophecy and a quest and, yes, a lot of the point of this book is translating those ancient stories into a modern setting so on one hand it is understandable. But really though, it was just a huge plot hole in here. What is to stop the characters from just leaving Camp Half Blood and taking care of business? Well, they haven’t received a prophecy. None of the prophecies in previous book have actually helped anyone so why is this a big deal?
It’s not but, again, we needed more plot devices to make artificial problems.
The last note that we have on this is that Apollo brought up several times during the story the fact that he has had numerous lovers, both male and female. The amount of times that he brought it up began to feel like the reader was getting beaten over the head with how super-progressive Riordan is.
However, after the reveal in the last series that one major character is gay, there was some blowback that Riordan received from people saying that they loved the book but will never read any of his work again because of it. With this in mind, Apollo’s constant reminder that he has had male lovers seemed like he was giving a giant middle finger to those people and, we have to admit, that made us laugh.
Not much more to say about this one. I did enjoy this book better than the last series, largely in part to Apollo’s character, but I still can’t really say that I am a huge fan of Riordan. The plot devices that may go unnoticed by the younger audience this was intended for bothered me too much.
The reveal of who the bad guys for this series is going to be toward the end of the book was interesting and I do look forward to seeing how that develops.
I am so happy about this series. After some of the problems of the last series, Heroes of Olympus, Apollo and his fresh new character brought some much needed (for lack of a better term) newness to the series. Too many characters and those characters being very similar brought down HoO. This time Apollo is funny, he has some new knowledge, and it’s fun to see the world through his eyes.
The new bad guys are, in my opinion, very interesting. Unfortunately without getting into spoilers, I can’t talk about the bad guys. In our spoiler review we do go into it and bring up some of the questions about them.
I loved this book as it brought back the feelings I got from reading the first Percy Jackson books again.