About the Book

Title: The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1)
Published: 2016
Series: The Trials of Apollo
Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Cover Story: Shot Through the Art, and Apollo’s to Blame
BFF Charm: Nay
Talky Talk: Rick Riordan Literary Universe
Bonus Factors: Feisty Girl Sidekick, Immortal Learning How to Human, Messy Parent-Child Relationships
Relationship Status: Just When I Thought I Was Out… (JK, I Was Never Out)

Spoiler Alert: While this series could technically be read on its own, it does exist in the Camp Half-Blood universe and refer to both the Percy Jackson & the Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus series. (And I KNOW; this book report is way overdue!)

Cover Story: Shot Through the Art, and Apollo’s to Blame

As always, John Rocco works his illustration magic for a Rick Riordan cover, so this most certainly does not give the book a bad name. Shooting an arrow straight up, however, might call Apollo’s judgement into question, because HELLO, where does he think it’s going to land?!

The Deal:

Everyone makes mistakes, but when you’re a god who gets blamed for an apocalyptic battle, Zeus is going to cast your butt out of Mount Olympus and make you live as a human. An acne-prone teenager named Lester Papadopoulos, in Apollo’s case, until he proves himself worthy of immortality again — be it through serving the every whim of a young demigod, or getting to the bottom of why the Oracle of Delphi has been out of commission. But the world is a dangerous place for a mortal god with ancient enemies…

BFF Charm: Nay

BFF Charm that says "denied"

As endlessly entertaining as Apollo is, I would in no way want to be BFFs with him. (I mean, his god complex obviously isn’t unjustified, but still.) Thankfully, his #brand of ridiculous narcissism is similar to Rogelio de la Vega‘s, i.e., totally lovable from afar. A-very-far.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Apollo’s not romantically interested in anybody right now, but the losses of his two great loves, Daphne and Hyacinthus, still feel fresh several millennia later. The most prominent current relationship actually involves his son, Will Solace, and another familiar face (!!!).

Even though Apollo never identifies himself as such, it seems like he could be pansexual, maybe? He only mentions having had girlfriends and boyfriends, but he also states that “we gods are not hung up about such things” like sexuality. Which definitely feels like a retcon — for the better! — since all parental pairings between gods and humans have been heteronormative before this book came along.

She reminded me of her father […]. I mean her other father. And, yes, of course it’s possible for a demigod child to spring from such a relationship. Why not? Zeus gave birth to Dionysus out of his own thigh. Athena once had a child who was created from a handkerchief. Why should such things surprise you? We gods are capable of infinite marvels.

Talky Talk: Rick Riordan Literary Universe

Switching to a god’s perspective, Riordan finds new territory to develop in his ever-growing world. Not only does he explore the many attributes associated with Apollo’s (esp. poetry, which is well represented with haikus at the start of each chapter), but the reader also becomes better acquainted with the B-Team, i.e., the demigods that have long populated the background of Camp Half-Blood, as well as a few grownup demigods, the likes of which have never been encountered yet. But like a seasoned musician on a concert tour, Riordan knows when to play the hits, so there’s a healthy dose of appearances by beloved characters, too.

Bonus Factor: Feisty Girl Sidekick

Shortly after his (literal) fall from grace, Apollo meets young Meg McCaffrey, an undiscovered demigod who claims his service for working off his debt to Zeus. Resourceful and resilient, Meg can more than hold her own against her companion’s oversized ego. (Also, I kept misreading her name as YA royalty.)

Bonus Factor: Immortal Learning How to Human

A depowered superbeing navigating the mortal condition is one of my favourite varieties of the fish-out-of-water story. Because, let’s face it, we humans are a weird bunch.

Bonus Factor: Messy Parent-Child Relationships

At best, gods make for unconventional parents, and we finally get to see that connection from the other side through Apollo’s relationships with his demigod kids — which includes confronting his own shortcomings as both a father and a god. Then there’s a Dan Scott Award candidate whose parenting can only be described as psychological abuse, and UGH, it’s just so heartbreaking.

Relationship Status: Just When I Thought I Was Out… (JK, I Was Never Out)

I had thought that my time at Camp Half-Blood was over (well, almost), but then I got a brief glimpse of it with a new squeeze. And now we’re FOR REAL back together, in a fun and different way. As long as these books have new stories to tell, I’ll follow them to Hades and back. Again.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Big Honcho Media. I received neither money nor gelato for writing this review (dammit!). The Hidden Oracle is available now.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she’s been overseeing all things FYA Book Club since 2013.