In 2020, Marshmallow reviewed several books by Rick Riordan. First she reviewed three books from his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series: check out her reviews of The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, and The Titan’s Curse. Then she reviewed all five books of his Heroes of Olympus series: The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, The Mark of Athena, The House of Hades, and The Blood of Olympus. She also reviewed Riordan’s books on Greek gods (Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods) and on Greek heroes (Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes). In her last review for 2020, she wanted to talk about the first book of Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo series, his third on Greek and Roman mythology: The Hidden Oracle. Sprinkles, who has not yet started this third series, wanted to know more and so is asking questions and taking notes for this post.
Sprinkles: So Marshmallow, you finally got your paws on Rick Riordan’s third series on Greek and Roman mythology. How did you like this one?
Marshmallow: Well, I have only read the first two books so far, but I think that they are really successful. The previous series were written by demigods, but this one is narrated by Apollo, the sun god. Except that he is no longer a god: he has become mortal because Zeus got mad at him for something he did in the Heroes of Olympus series and turned him into a mortal as a punishment.
S: That sounds like an interesting premise for a new story line.
M: Yes! Apparently he had been made mortal before and he knows what he is supposed to do to become a god again. He has to find a demigod who will claim him and he has to serve this demigod as they together attempt a quest.
S: So there is again a quest in this series? Or a series of quests, one per book?
M: Sort of. There is one big quest, involving oracles, but there are smaller things Apollo has to do in each of the books.
S: So you said this book is narrated by Apollo, or—what is his mortal name?
M: His name is now Lester Papadopoulos. And yes, he is narrating the story.
S: How do you like that?
M: He is a fun narrator to read. He is funny and likes to glorify himself. As the god of sun and poetry and such, Apollo is a bit full of himself. When he becomes mortal, he is still full of himself. Listen:
“The only thing I knew for certain: my punishment was unfair. Zeus needed someone to blame, so of course he’d picked the handsomest, most talented, most popular god in the pantheon: me.”pages 2-3
S: That does sound hilarious! I thought that in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Riordan really seemed to enjoy narrating through Percy’s perspective. And in the Heroes of Olympus series, I had the sense that he most enjoyed being Leo, even though the narration was in the third person, listening to him go on and on as Leo, I felt that he was at his best. So here we now read through Apollo / Lester’s voice, and it sounds like it is once again pretty good.
M: I think Riordan likes humorous narrators. Making them goofy and making us laugh with and at the narrator. Apollo is really fun to read. He puts haikus at the beginning of each chapter.
S: It sounds really like I might have to read this book Marshmallow! So tell me a bit more about this first book. This is when Apollo is coming to terms with being mortal and figuring out how to get back, right?
M: Yeah. We see him try and find a demigod to serve. And it seems like he wanted Percy Jackson to be the one but he was claimed first by a girl named Meg.
S: Ooo, so we meet a new demigod! Meg.
M: Yes. Meg is yet undetermined. We do not know her godly parent at the beginning. There are some clues already in the first few chapters, and we figure things out by the end of this first volume.
S: That is intriguing. Hmm, so Percy is still around in this book, too?
M: Yes. And later on in the other books, some of the other demigods we know from the earlier series begin to show up too.
S: So who is your favorite character in this book then?
M: There is a peach spirit, named Peaches. I think that he is my favorite character because he is really loyal. He is kind of a demon baby, but he is nice to the good people in the story. But back to Percy and Apollo and Meg. Here is a dialog Apollo has with Meg about Percy that can give you more of a sense of what Lester / Apollo is like:
“Meg,” I said, “I realize some demigods are not good. I could tell you stories of all the ones I’ve had to kill or transform into herbs–” “Herbs?” “But Percy Jackson has always been reliable. You have nothing to fear. Besides, he likes me. I taught him everything he knows.” She frowned. “You did?” I found her innocence somewhat charming. So many obvious things she did not know.pages 24-25
S: That sounds like a book I want to read! So let us wrap this up so you can give me the book! How do you want to rate The Hidden Oracle?
M: I rate it 95% only because one has to have read the earlier books to get all the jokes and really appreciate this book. (You might also benefit from knowing some things about the Beatles…)
S: That is perfect Marshmallow! Let us now wrap up your last review of the year. Do you want to say something to our readers?
M: Yes. Happy holidays and happy new year to everyone! I will have more book reviews for you in February 2021!