These days, I spend most of my free time reading Doctor Who fanfiction on a nearly daily basis. However, there are still published authors that I am following - one of them being Rick Riordan, who churns out 2 books a year in an irritatingly reliable fashion. Like clockwork. How he does it, I have no idea. I sometimes have trouble writing a mere 1,000 words a day.
The Hidden Oracle is the first book of the new Trials of Apollo series, which takes place in the same universe as the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series. I once pointed out that Rick Riordan appears to have trouble letting go entirely of his beloved Percy Jackson character - and I still stand by it. Even though Percy is no longer the main character of Riordan's books, he appears frequently enough that one stands in no danger of forgetting his name.
The absolute best thing of Riordan's books - and the reason why I'm still keeping on track with his published works - is his sense of humour, as I will prove to you below.
The Hidden Oracle features the god Apollo made mortal as punishment for his role in aiding the bad guys in the previous series, and exiled to earth.
Thus you get golden lines such as these:
Is anything sadder than the sound of a god hitting a pile of garbage bags?
The only thing I knew for certain: my punishment was unfair. Zeus needed someone to blame, so of course he'd picked the handsomest, most talented, most popular god in the pantheon: me.
Riordan pokes fun at main character's arrogance and conceit while showing us the entitled moron that Apollo is, but at the same time, there is character development. Apollo went from this at the beginning of the book:
“It always disappointed me when mortals put themselves first and failed to see the big picture—the importance of putting me first”
To this at the end:
"[...] it feels wrong for me to ask you to risk your lives. You have been through so much just to get here."
I dig it when authors bother to develop their characters. I get that it is the premise of this story, that Apollo should learn the wrong of his ways in order the regain his godly powers; but character development is sadly missing in many of the novels published these days (one reason why I went into fanfiction)
Dual-wielding daughter of Demeter, Meg, who snarks at Apollo at every opportunity.
"Well, according to my extensive research-"
"Some books he flipped through last night," Meg clarified.
And her peach karpoi that only ever says one word (peaches!) that Riordan apparently stole from Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy). Riordan incorporates a lot of ideas from mainstream into his novels; which will either annoy you or make you go, "Hah! I know where this is from."
The best thing, I think, is the return of Leo Valdez and Calpso to join Apollo's team in the sequel The Dark Prophecy (published earlier this year, which I've also already read)
Leo was one of my favourite characters, and the reunion scene between him and Calypso in one of the previous books was a personal favourite of mine.
Of course, a race against time to prevent world annihilation. The usual.