The Trials of Apollo

Hooray hooray hooray, ANOTHER new series from Rick Riordan! I thought I’d have to wait until October for another Magnus Chase book, which I do, but little did I know one of my favorite authors was busy at work creating another Greek god-based series with Percy, Chiron and (most of) the whole gang. This time it’s not a god, though, not even a demigod. It’s a 16-year-old mortal boy named Lester Papadopoulos.

Book 1: The Hidden Oracle

Just kidding, it is a god, kind of: Apollo has been punished by Zeus for the umpteenth time, and his punishment is living life as mortal, acne-ridden Lester Papadopoulos. He has absolutely none of his godly powers whatsoever, and he must rely on a confusing demigod named Meg McCaffrey, daughter of Demeter, to get him through this ordeal.

Acne is the least of Apollo’s/Lester’s problems, though — there’s a new enemy in town, except he’s not so new. Without giving away too too much, this old enemy and all his friends have been gathering forces and gaining power behind the scenes for centuries, and after everything that happened in the most recent Titan war they are ready for the final stage of their plan. This final stage involves Apollo/Lester because it involves all the ancient Oracles, of which Apollo used to have control and must gain control again in order to save the world…Again.

Having this story come from the point of view of Apollo/Lester rather than a demigod is interesting and amusing, if not a bit more juvenile than Riordan’s already light and easy style. Also, Apollo/Lester tends to regain some subset of his godly powers every now and then without explanation, but he seems just as confused by it as the reader so I suppose it’s ok.

Book 2: The Dark Prophecy

So after Apollo/Lester and team (sort of) save the first Oracle it’s onto the next, and the next happens to be in beautiful Indianapolis. There they discover a safe haven created and protected by former Artemis Hunters, but they also discover another enemy who’s working with the first enemy and with whom Apollo has a sordid past. Ok, it’s time to give away who these villains are. ***SPOILER ALERT*** They’re the ancient Roman emperors! Nero was the main one in the first book, taking over the East Coast, and in the middle of the country is good old Commodus (yes, the evil one from Gladiator).

There’s a lot going on with Commodus in Indianapolis — he’s kidnapped the 7-year-old daughter of the two owners of the Waystation (the safe haven mentioned above), he’s planned a big gladiator-type spectacle in the Colts football stadium during which he kills everyone and everything in sight, and he wants nothing more than revenge on his ex-lover Apollo (each Riordan book gets more and more politically correct). Once again the team succeeds in part of their mission, but seeing as how there’s no rest for the weary they immediately need to focus on the next prophecy/quest leading to the third emperor — who is currently tearing sh!t up on the West Coast and about to attack Camp Jupiter — and the big, final fight.

Holy moly, I love these books so much.

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