The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo #2)
by Rick Riordan
Once again, we return to Percy Jackson’s world without Percy Jackson of course, because this is Apollo’s story – or Lester as he is now known in his mortal body. I really enjoyed the first Trial of Apollo book, and even though I am still a book behind, I could not wait to sink my teeth into this one.
I love Apollo! He is my current favourite anti-hero, he is everything a hero shouldn’t be and yet manages to keep you routing for him and hoping he is going to be ok anyway.
“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 mean, perhaps if you were labouring away for years writing an opera about the glories of Apollo, I could understand the appeal of being productive. But how can you get a sense of satisfaction and serenity from preparing food? That I did not understand.
I can already see he is going through a huge character arc, and is starting to see the way he has always lived his life might not have been the best way. With everything we know about his character, once he hopefully gets his immortality back, his new found ideas about friendship, Demi-Gods and the world probably won’t make him an entirely new better person, but I do think he has been through enough that he might have pause to think when he finally does return to Mount Olympus, which even though I am only on book two, I can’t imagine he isn’t going to succeed eventually. Not necessarily due to his own talents but the friendships he has made and the lessons he has learnt.
I think he is struggling at the minute to put aside his old beliefs with his new found knowledge of the mortal world. Which is why is internal monologue is so funny to read. He wants to be a selfish, narcissist as he always has been but he can’t help having these feelings for his travelling companions. And although I believe he is growing as a character, it isn’t going to change overnight, and to be honest he can grow to be a better person but probably keep some of his vainer tendencies, as I don’t think he would be Apollo without that quality. Plus he is just funny! Rick Riordan has a way fo always bringing the humour and he surpasses my expectations again, I love Apollo! There is no getting around it! I just do.
“Meg, what I’m about to do – never, ever try this on your own.” I felt a bit silly giving this advice to a girl who regularly fought monsters with golden swords, but I had promised Bill Nye the Science Guy I would always promote safe laboratory practices.”
So, book two starts off with Apollo, Leo and Calypso aboard Festus flying across America on the quest to find the second Oracle. We meet some odd new characters, bump into some old favourites and have a whole lot of adventuring going on too. Artemis and her Hunters seem like a cool bunch of girls, and I love the whole girl power, fighting the good fight kind of appeal, and it made me happy that Artemis is still thinking of her brother but I am a big believer in love and for Artemis to rule it out in any circumstance, just doesn’t appeal to me. So I loved the former Hunters who gave up Immortality for the chance to grow old with the person they loved the most, and as far as we could see they made a huge success of it, and I am sure their daughter will also live a fulfilled whole life full of love.
I wasn’t sure about Meg in the first book but she definitely grew on me in this one, I think it helped that we got so much information about her at the end of the last book. Before we had any information about her, she was just a little bit rude and brash and I codlin figure her out, obviously knowing her backstory and knowing what she has been through, does give her character a little more substance and I love how her friendship is growing with Apollo. She is obviously going to be a huge influence on his character building.
For me, even though this was called The Dark Prophecy and obviously all the Trials of Apollo are obviously meant to be to restore the Oracles to get back in Zeus’s favour, I think this was a novel about the Journey not the Destination. Even though, the journey ended where it was supposed to, it was kind of late in the game and seemed quite an easy task. I imagine Meg wouldn’t be saying the same thing, but for the reader, the conclusion came quite swiftly in preparation for the climatic ending and preparing us for the next book. So for me, the whole stay at the Waystation, getting to know the characters, meeting Griffins and Elelphants, and seeing Apollo having to do menial tasks like chopping carrots, was the meat of the story which, of course lead to the face off with the second member of the Triumvirate and ultimately to getting his prophecy to send him on his next quest, but for someone who likes characters and development, this book was great for fleshing out all the things I love about Ricks books.
As a side note, I love the Classics, Ancient Rome and Greece are a big passion of mine, I love reading anything to do with history and myths of Gods/Goddesses, and I love the art, crafts and architecture too. So, a fictional book set in todays society with so many aspects of Greek/Roman history was going to be a hit for me and Rick Riordan has continued this with his new series and I cannot wait to introduce it to my children.
Overall, I think this was a good solid second book, it perhaps wasn’t the most exciting, exhilarating novel but I don’t think it needed to be, at this point in the series, we should be getting to know the characters more, full in love with them, get to know them and feel like were friends, because then as we go into the next book, and the excitement, fear and adventure continues, we really feel invested in the characters future and this is how you get stories to live on forever. Being invested in a character and living their high and lows, is a sure fire way of making them live in the readers mind well beyond the ending of the story. I think Rick Riordan has always done this well, as I first read my first Percy Jackson book a long time ago, and yet I still keep coming back to them, and I didn’t need to know what this series was about, I knew I was going to read and probably love it. And I do!
Overall rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️★ (four out of five stars)
A really enjoyable, funny read, I will undoubtably read again! And I would recommend to anyone who loves a laugh out loud adventure.
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