The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan
“It always disappointed me when mortals put themselves first and failed to see the big picture—the importance of putting me first” The Hidden Oracle
I was going to wait until after the fifth book came out to do this, but that isn’t happening until October. (I swear it was August when I started listening to these) I didn’t want to wait until then to tell you all about these books. It has been such fun being back in this world again.
“I hear much talk about us and them. I am always wary when people speak this way, as if people can be so easily divided into friend and enemy.” The Dark Prophecy
Apollo, aka Lester Papadopoulos, is being punished by his father, Zeus. He is now mortal and having to serve 13 year old Meg who is a demigod. Apollo starts off not being very likable in the first book. He is arrogant and rude and, you know, a typical god. But he does change over the course of the four books, and becomes likable by the end. You end up rooting for him whenever he is in a tight jam, which is often. Along the way he reminisces about his life. We get lots of stories about the Greeks and Romans he was involved with. As is usual with the myths, Apollo does not always come across good in many of these. But he is learning from his mistakes.
“The people who deserved to die took forever to do so. Those who deserved to live always went too soon.” The Burning Maze
Meg McCaffrey is Apollo’s companion in these adventures. She is also his master, and can make him do things, which to her credit, she doesn’t do very often. I like Meg, she is brave and determined to do what is right most of the time. She really shines in the third book, The Burning Maze. But I felt like she was a little left out in the fourth book. We don’t see as much growth in her character as I would like. Hopefully the last book will do her character justice.
“May the gods defend me from heroes with duct tape. And heroes always seem to have duct tape.” The Burning Maze
The thing that I like the most is that each book has a rotating cast of favorite characters from the Percy Jackson universe. Except for Annabeth, Apollo and Meg have encountered everyone from the first 10 books. It has been so much fun visiting with these characters again and seeing what they have been up to since the last time we saw them. We also get to visit Camp Half Blood and Camp Jupiter. If you have not read the other books, you can still enjoy these, you just might not get some of the references or the backgrounds of the characters that Apollo and Meg encounter.
“Promise me one thing. Whatever happens, when you get back to Olympus, when you’re a god again, remember. Remember what it’s like to be human.” The Burning Maze
There is also a whole new range of monsters in these books, many I have never heard of, and they come from many different mythologies, not just Greek and Roman The Blemmyae sound really weird and kind of scary. They show up mostly in the second book, but occasionally in the others as well. The giants ants, myrmekes, and Strix, are some creatures I would not like to encounter any time soon.
“Never underestimate the power of thousands of human minds all believing the same thing. They can remake reality. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not.” The Tyrant’s Tomb
The plot and pacing of all of these books is pretty fast and furious. They are all hard to put down. There are prophecies that Apollo must figure out and then complete the quests that go with them. In the end he is trying to save the Oracles that have been lost or taken over by the Roman Emperors that have become lesser gods. The writing is wonderful and also relevant to the current times. Lots of conversations around what it means to be human and caring for the environment. Plus all of the humor and sarcastic wit that are a trademark of this author. There were times that I was giggling or smiling to myself as I listened.
“I decided I couldn’t live in a world where cruelty like that went unchallenged.” The Tyrant’s Tomb
I do highly recommend the audio books. The reader, Robbie Daymond, does an excellent job. He uses just the right tone for Apollo, and captures his personality perfectly. But he also has the ability to use different voices and accents for other characters. Robbie Daymond has narrated a lot of audio books and he is someone I always look for when I am considering listening to a book.
“Have you completely made up for all the bad things you’ve done? No. But you keep adding to the good things column. That’s all any of us can do.” The Tyrant’s Tomb
If you have never read a book by Rick Riordan I suggest that you make time to do so. Even though they are considered middle-grade books, adults can enjoy them too. They are always full of adventure, mythology and characters that you care about and fall in love with.