Friday, June 24, 2016

Book Review: Trials of Apollo

On the DZA Review Scale, I give it a solid fantastic bordering on spectacular (it lost a few points for having a stereotypical damsel in distress).

Read it here!

"Hey, wait a minute! On your 'Sneak Peak' page, you said you were reading a book called Dangerous Women. What's with this?" 

Dangerous Women is over 1000 pages long, that's what. So I took a break from that and decided to crack open Rick Riordan's new one. I only meant to read the first few chapters, but before I knew it, it was after midnight and the entire book was done. Oops!

Despite the fact that it reads "book one" on the cover, this is actually book 11 of the Percy Jackson Series. Well, technically it's book 12, since it takes place during the Magnus Chase book, so I guess it's book 11.5. So if you don't want any spoilers for the first ten and a half books, read no further!

At the end of The Blood of Olympus, we saw that Zeus was pissed at Apollo because the Oracle started failing on his watch, and we find out it was because Apollo got careless and let an enemy reclaim the Oracle (specifically, Python, who is the big bad in Apollo's world). So as punishment, Zeus turns Apollo into a mortal and throws him into a dumpster in NYC. The Trials of Apollo is basically Apollo complaining about this while going through the hell that is his quest to regain his immortality (which will likely take another 2-4 books to finish). 

Apollo is the perfect anti-hero. He's narcissistic, careless, selfish, arrogant, and alternates between Holier Than Thou speech and modern teenager speech, leaning more on the latter the longer he remains mortal. But he does have a heart buried under all of that, and a protective streak, and a conscience (which gets pretty loud the more he realizes how much he's screwed up the last 4000 years). 

There's also some really cute Will/Nico scenes (they're dating!!!) and we find out what happened to Leo after he picked up Calypso. We get a kickass daughter of Demeter named Meg (now we just need a BAMF kid of Dionysus and a kid of Hermes who won't spend three and a half books as the bad guy and we'll have every Olympian who can have kids with awesome kids). And like the majority of the Heroes of Olympus books, Percy makes a few appearances, but doesn't take up the whole story. In fact, he's right on the fringes of this one, barely more than a minor character. It's weird. 

Of course, in true Rick Riordan fashion, there's a deep theme of family. Or rather, the consequences of dysfunctional families. In this case, we're looking at full-blown domestic violence. But I shan't say any more. :)

The only flaw I could find was toward the end where Meg, the main female character, needs to be dramatically rescued by Apollo, serving at the catalyst for his major personality change from narcissistic ass to compassionate hero (who's still a bit narcissistic; you can't expect miracles, people). She has to be saved by these massive bug-monsters, and the cliffhanger ending leaves Apollo with the task of saving her again from a much more complicated issue. 

However, Meg does have some badass moments (she carries a pair of mean sickles, has a deadly karpoi ally named Peaches, and does a bunch of other cool stuff with plants), and Rick is very good at leveling the playing field between male and female characters (just look at Annabeth and Percy for crying out loud), so I'm not that worried.

It gets bonus points for non-stereotypical LGBT characters (Nico and Will, and Apollo himself). 

Anyway, I highly recommend it, and I'm really looking forward to book 2 (er, 12.5). 

Also, no spoilers today because Rick Riordan's books are always funny and snarky and there's no possible way I can add onto it. See y'all on Wednesday! 


Buy The Trials of Apollo: Book One here!

Thanks for reading! :)

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