The Hidden Oracle is the first book in Rick Riordan’s upcoming Trials of Apollo series. The series is a spin-off series to his previous series Heroes of Olympus based on Greek Mythology. The Hidden Oracle specifically follows the god Apollo who has been cast down to earth and been turned mortal by his father Zeus. Throughout the book we follow his adventures of trying to get used to his new mortal life and attempting to survive the wrath of his numerous enemies.
Obviously, I really enjoyed this book and had such fun reading it! I never realised how much I missed the Percy Jackson world until I started reading this book. The book was so fast paced and I continuously struggled to put it down and kept making the ‘one more chapter’ excuse. The characters and dialogue were hilarious as per usual and it was amazing to be able to catch up with some the characters I had fallen in love with throughout Rick’s other series. In short, I would 100% recommend checking out this book if you loved the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series! I would say though, that if you weren’t the biggest fan of these series you may not like this book series since it is essentially more of the same. But personally, I really enjoyed it and I’m sure anyone could find enjoyment in this book or Rick Riordan’s books in general if they gave it a chance.
Just as a quick disclaimer, this review won’t have any spoilers for The Hidden Oracle though may feature a few mild spoilers for the Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus series. There aren’t any major spoilers but if you don’t want to know anything about the plot of those series maybe avoid reading this review until you read those!
Let’s start by talking about the narration of this book. Obviously, this is told from the first person POV of Apollo and to be totally honest I was a little hesitant as to how this would turn out. We all know that the gods in the Percy Jackson world are self-obsessed, vein and just annoying in general and I felt like reading a whole series from a POV like that would be insufferable. As it turned out, I really should have put more faith in Rick Riordan. Right from the start, the writing style was very self-aware and Apollo’s thoughts were very much ironic. For example, he would complain about how self-centred demigods were and that they should instead direct their power to helping him return to being a god. I found this super hilarious and really added to the story as a whole. Also I just have to applaud Rick Riordan for beginning every chapter with a Haiku in true Apollo style. I absolutely loved this small detail and found it absolutely amazing!
One other thing that I absolutely loved about this book was the character development. This was something I never expected would happen for some reason and it completely shocked me. Because Apollo is now mortal, his though process starts to change and he starts regretting certain actions in his past and starts to experience weakness. He then brings up so many interesting themes as to what makes humans, human and shared thoughts that plenty of human beings have such as what is their purpose on earth or if they really have any to start with. Which now that I think about, are pretty massive themes for a middle grade book to be handling but really intrigued and interested me. It also made me start to really appreciate Apollo’s character and sympathise for him, something I never realised I would do judging by his attitude at the start of the novel.
Another part of the book that I really appreciated was the ever present diversity that feature in all of Rick Riordan’s books. While the book doesn’t feature too many characters, we still see a range of characters of different nationalities, ethnicities and sexualities. Apollo himself is bisexual, one demigod spoke Portuguese and there were a range of examples you could find if you were specifically looking. One minor detail that I liked was the fact that Meg, the second main character, wore glasses. As a person who has worn glasses for most of my life I just really like reading about other fictional character who have to wear glasses too. I don’t really know why but I really like it, okay!
I really enjoyed all the relationships between the characters in the book, especially Apollo and Meg’s friendship. I found it super cute and enjoyable to read about. I will admit though that their friendship did seem to develop kind of fast with one minute Apollo not being able to stand Meg and then the next, acting as if Meg was the centre of his universe. I found this kind of confusing but it could definitely be explained as part of Apollo’s character development and his realisation of how much he actually cared about Meg. I also really liked the relationships between Apollo and his children. It was quite touching and interesting to read about from a god’s point of view rather than from the demigod’s, as we’ve experienced in the last books.
Another critique I have about the book was the fact that it seemed to be quite short and very little seemed to happen at all. I think this really comes down to the book being the first in a series so had to really set up the events that would occur throughout the rest of the series. Nevertheless, it does get me very excited for the rest of the series and I know I’m going to have a hard time waiting for the next book to come out. I am especially excited to see a lot more cameos from previous Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus characters. While I did absolutely love the cameos in this book (which totally had me fangirling each time they appeared), I’m even more excited to see them play a bigger part in the rest of the series.
Also, just a quick note to all those Heroes of Olympus fans out there who were disappointed by the ending of Blood of Olympus. So if you were like me and didn’t really like how Blood of Olympus tied up so quickly I would definitely, without a doubt recommend you check out The Hidden Oracle! This book really addressed why Blood of Olympus ended the way it did in order to set up the story for this series. Like seriously, I’m sure you’ll all be shocked by the number of loose ends that were left untied at the end of Heroes of Olympus and the role they play in this series.
In summary, I had such fun reading this book but I wouldn’t quite call it my favourite Rick Riordan book (House of Hades definitely still holds that title). I think I would give The Hidden Oracle 4 out of 5 starts along with a massive recommendation for all Percy Jackson fans. Book 2, The Dark Prophecy, cannot come soon enough!
So thank you to everyone for checking out my review! Let me know what you thought of The Hidden Oracle or if you are planning on picking it up. I’ll chat with you all later! =D
Gabby The Dauntless Warlock xx