The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2)

the-dark-prophecy-rick-riordan

Zeus has punished his son Apollo—god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more—by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo do anything about them without his powers?

After experiencing a series of dangerous—and frankly, humiliating—trials at Camp Half-Blood, Apollo must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he’s gaining in new friendships—with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride…. 

Author: Rick Riordan

Goodreads | Amazon

Rating: 4/5

I adore this series so far. Of course I have loved every book out of the Percy Jackson universe, but The Trials of Apollo is proving especially delightful. It has the same energetic, youthful adventure as the others, and it always manages to teach me something new about mythology. But it is also absolutely hilarious.

Apollo begins the series as the perfect caricature of a god fallen to the mortal world. He is overly confident, positive that everyone around him knows and loves him without restraint, and takes it for granted that others will put his interests above their own without even a shadow of a thought that he should ever do something for someone else.  He also has absolutely no concept of emotions—not how to deal with them, and usually not even that they exist. But he is not cruel, and so the effect is entirely comedic. It also sets him up nicely for some drastic character development.

“Being productive. Ugh. It’s such a human concept. It implies you have limited time (LOL) and have to work hard to make something happen (double LOL).”

I also have a good friend in real life who actually thinks and acts like Apollo much of the time (somehow without being a completely terrible person), so that makes me enjoy Apollo that much more. For example, I sent him this message:

“‘Come on!’ Meg yelled to me. Rather than fighting the birds, she grabbed one’s neck and swung onto its back, somehow without dying. She charged away, swinging her blades at monsters and gladiators.

Mildly impressive, but how was I supposed to follow her? Also, she’d just rendered useless my plan of hiding behind her. Such an inconsiderate girl.”

His response? ” I will try to act surprised that I remind my friends of a literal God. ” Haha!

Yes, this book is hilarious, but it is also a fantastic story with excellent themes and lessons. Homosexuality is treated like the natural, no-big-deal, unsurprising thing that it should be, which makes me want to hug Rick Riordan for doing such a thing in a children’s book. Plus, considering that The Dark Prophecy is the second book out of what is to become five, I’m impressed with the speed of Apollo’s transformation into a more human-like character who loves and fears for others, performs selfless acts, and does the right thing. I had assumed he’d make this change more gradually, completing it by the end of the series. Instead, it seems like he is going to spend the second half or so as a good person. I’m very eager to see how it goes.

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