Review – The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle

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The book The Hidden Oracle, by Rick Riordan, takes the reader on a ride through classical mythology (about which you can tell from the picture that I am quite a nerd). This book is from the viewpoint of Apollo, the first (to my knowledge) of Riordan’s books that follows a god and not a demigod. However, in this book, Apollo has been forced to live a live of a full human – shocking – and he must go through certain trials to regain his admittance to Mount Olympus (P.S. I saw a funny fact/joke the other day concerning Mt. Olympus, which is that the mountain was totally climbable and yet as far as we know, no one tried to climb it to see if their gods were real. That is all).

This book was really funny as all of Riordan’s stories are, due to his ingenious usage of colorful metaphors and similes that are beyond relatable. The characters and plot is about as complicated and deep as any other of his books, which is to say that they tend to have somewhat surface level interactions and thoughts. This may be somewhat forgivable because of the target audience, as it is middle fiction… maybe I’m naive to believe that books for all ages can show complexity in a less obvious manner than Riordan does, but I do. Not only that, but his plots are similar from book to book, and sometimes they drag on. Generally speaking, he brings all the different aspects into play, but these aspects could be introduced in a less repetitive manner.

On a more positive note (because I do like his books, I promise), at this point in Riordan’s writing, the world has been more expanded than ever, encompassing the four mythological cultures about which Riordan writes: Norse, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology. SO, in this book,  you see snippets about Camp Jupiter and Camp Half-blood, and you deal with several characters from that series, including the man (or demigod) himself, Percy Jackson. These books are no longer just a series, but a whole universe like marvel or dc.

All that to say, the story is fun and that’s great, but Riordan’s real accomplishment here is the amount of mythology he has managed to portray. I’ve read two of his other books (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer and The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid), and both of those are obviously based on mythology, but for some reason, it feels like Riordan was able to include more facts about mythology in this book that can be distinguished with ease from the fictional aspects of the story.

Apollo himself is hilarious and snarky and I hope to God that his character is actually completely like that in real mythology. I could look it up… Hm…

The last notable aspect of the book is that LGBT is handled in an interesting way. In the world of the ancient Greeks, being gay was normal and accepted, and as Apollo is an ancient Greek god, this viewpoint is reflected in his small comments, and (I think) Riordan even relates it back historically. This isn’t to say that Riordan’s other characters are not accepting of the LGBT community, but that it was made a point in this book.

All in all, I give this book a 3.3/5 stars.

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