Rick Riordan: The Trials of Apollo – Review

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The_Hidden_Oracle

The Hidden Oracle, The Trials of Apollo, Rick Riordan. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

“Zeus needed someone to blame, so of course he’d picked the handsomest, most talented, most popular god in the pantheon: me.”

– Apollo 

This might be my favourite Riordan book.

I was actually disappointed with his last one – The Sword of Summer – and I began to question in my review if it was finally time for Mr. R. to take a step back from these books about Greek, Roman and Egyptian gods. The conflicts were similar and the teen “voices” had begun to blend into one.

Magnus Chase could just as easily have been Percy Jackson.

But then RR had to throw Apollo into the mix who stands out because he is not a teenage boy. Well… technically, he is in this book. But he’s actually an age-old immortal who has been cast out of Olympus by Zeus and turned into a regular human teenager. His voice, however, not to mention his snark and humour, are that of a selfish, narcissistic, hilarious asshole.

Truly, this book is so refreshing! Apollo doesn’t even pretend he’s a do-gooder; in fact, it’s clear from the beginning that he’s out for himself and views humans as “meat sacks”. Imagine his horror when he discovers that not only is he human, but he also has acne and flab.

“Is anything sadder than the sound of a god hitting a pile of garbage bags?”

– Apollo

Of course, there’s a whole lot of godly drama going on too. You don’t get to be an old god like Apollo without making a LOT of enemies. But this mostly stood out to me as being the funniest book Riordan has written and that’s really saying something, given that all his books are defined by his trademark snarky humour. Pure entertainment.

Apollo is the Gilderoy Lockhart of this world and it is hilarious. There’s a nice bit of schadenfreude to be had when this self-obsessed god finally gets what he deserves and has to rely on Percy Jackson for help. And yet, there is something undeniably lovable about him too.

On that note, many familiar characters come in and out of this book. You don’t have to have read the other books to understand and enjoy this one, but it does contain spoilers for the main series and the characters.

This, for me, stood out amid a sea of similar stories and characters. I’m still not 100% sure I would want to read any more books that focus on teenage demigods (we’ve kind of been there and done that, in my opinion), but I will definitely see Apollo’s story through to the end.

“It warmed my heart that my children had the right priorities: their skills, their images, their views on YouTube.”

– Apollo

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