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Tuesday, 28 June 2016
Review: The Hidden Oracle
The Hidden Oracle
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Puffin!
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.
Okay, I'm going to be straight up with all of you first before I get started on the review! So, I have all the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus books chilling on my shelves and the plan was to read them all before I read this book...but I just didn't have the time. So I went in to this book having not read them and with only basic knowledge of what happens in PJ! Now some people may complain about being spoiled, but I looked at it a little bit differently. Sure there was a spoiler or two for the other books, but I didn't think it was actually that bad and rather than spoiling the books for me, it's actually made me want to read them even more to find out how the characters got to the places they're at in the book, what went on between all of them and so on! Like Nico for instance! I actually didn't think it was a problem at all.
From what I could tell, The Hidden Oracle intersects with the other books perfectly, catching up with old characters, finding out what they're doing and so on. It wraps things up with events and characters and answers questions from the other series that may have been left, as well as showing us more of other characters and so on. There's mentions of Annabeth and what she's doing that allude to The Sword of Summer so I'm assuming this is set at the same time as Sword of Summer and now I'm really intrigued to see if the two books are going to cross over or overlap or something!
As soon as I started to read the book, I fell in to the world and became completely engrossed in the book. There where hilarious Haikus at the top of each chapter..it's an Apollo thing okay!? Apollo himself was completely hilarious and there where so many lines I had to mark down because they cracked me up, and he was even quite insightful and deep at one point! There's definitely more going on behind his arrogant/narcissistic self, you just don't see it much. He's kind of a drama queen, which made for such an entertaining narrative, he was hilariously self involved and self obsessed, but it was rewarding to see him start to develop friendships with the other camp members and with Meg, and to develop relationships with his kids...weird as that was! Seeing him inflicted with 'mortal emotions' and his struggle with all that and the transition between God to mortal, was also interesting to watch. I just loved his narrative, you had to laugh at his ego at points! But then you'd see parts of him, like when he'd think about his two loves and he'd be perhaps the most serious of all and you end up feeling for him, and all the pain he's been through. At some points, I have to admit, I couldn't decide if he was being really, really sarcastic or really, really dumb or a bit of both!
Meg was an interesting character. I loved her interactions with Apollo, she didn't take any of his crap, and they kind of grew on each other, they made the perfect team. She develops just as much as Apollo over the course of the book. She's plenty mysterious for most of the book, she's clearly had training and she's kinda badass and she's really powerful but at the same time she's kind of shady. I was like 'what are you hiding?' at some points and I didn't fully trust her. She surprised me towards the end of the book, and I felt for Apollo even more because Meg is kind of his first friend, and I'm not sure how I feel about her any more now. I feel for her, and I understand her motivations and actions but at the same time it's like...but still.
There's plenty of other fantastic characters in the book, Percy pops up as do a couple of other characters from the books. I loved Apollo's son Will and his boyfriend Nico. Individually they're brilliant characters, and I was intrigued by Nico and the allusions to his past. Will I liked because he kind of takes care of everyone he cares about, and I loved watching his relationship with Apollo develop. Together, I loved Will and Nico to another level, they where hilarious and adorable and Nico is so snarky and I really want some more Will and Nico, not gonna lie! They made me laugh a hell of a lot.
I also completely loved Kayla and Austin, Apollos other kids, they where brilliant and while it was weird with the whole 'Apollo being their dad but looking like a teenager' thing, it was nice to see them interact with him and get a feel for their characters, and see their relationship with Apollo grow and change as he did. I'd love to see more of them. Each of his kids has different strengths that they've gotten from him, and I loved Kayla trying to help Apollo when he was struggling and ugh it was just perfect. I also really loved Harley, Leo, the other campers and so on, and I'm hoping to see more of them and I'm curious about Leo who we definitely will see more of! I'm also super curious about Rachel!
OH I have to mention Peaches. Peaches the Karpos. He's like a cupid, fruit baby thing, and he's Meg's new sidekick and he was just hilarious. I mean....he managed to be slightly menacing while only saying peaches and looking like a giant winged baby.
I fell in love with all the characters, and Apollo's development was beautiful to watch, I can't wait to see more of him and his interactions and relationships with his kids and other campers. The book is brilliantly written, Riordan never once breaks character, and keeps up the entertaining narrative the entire way through the book. Riordan gives us an incredibly narcissistic and arrogant character who makes it clear he's out for himself and not at all inclined to be a do-gooder, who we should dislike and be unable to read about, but he's made his arrogance funny, and he's given Apollo a side that everyone can relate to...loss. He's given Apollo the odd moment when you see behind the arrogance and can feel sympathy for him. You end up wanting him to succeed and root for him, and as you watch him change you end up feeling kind of proud of him for adapting and changing and making friends. He has none of his powers so he kind of has to start over again, and when it comes to fighting he isn't what he was before and he struggles with that in a very relatable way, and he doesn't really believe in himself all that much at one point so it's really rewarding to see him save the day despite being limited from what he was before and thinking he can't do it and needs a camper to do it for him. It was incredibly interesting to read about this teenager who is actually a thousands of years old God, it made for an interesting voice.
There where plot twists and surprises all over the place and a flawless set up for the next book. I'm excited to see what's going to happen next to Apollo. I'm intrigued to see if he'll change more, and to see how things will play out. I love Greek mythology and I love what Riordan does with it, and I love the twist about the bad guys, the Triumvirate, and the Romans, it's something I've not seen before and I'm intrigued by it. The Hidden Oracle is bursting with action and humour, honestly it's completely hilarious, and it's a generally fun read with plenty of originality to it, and enough surprises and plot twists to keep you on your toes! Apollo is a character you should dislike, but you end up loving him anyway, he really, really reminded me of Lockhart from what he was saying about Percy....repeatedly. Apollo was an asshole, but he was a loveable asshole and this book was hugely entertaining from beginning to end.