Today I’m reviewing the first book in Rick Riordan’s new Greek mythology series, The Trials of Apollo. And holy shit, this book was great.
The book starts off six months after the ending of The Blood of Olympus, the last book in the Heroes of Olympus series. It follows the god Apollo, who was cast out of Olympus because he angered his father Zeus, and now he has to complete some trials as a mortal teenager to win back his position as a god. (Reading the Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus books before this one is not necessary but highly recommended.)
Apollo wakes up in Manhatten, not sure what even happened, and he immediately meets a young demi-god called Meg, who helps him out. Together, they decide that their best option is finding Percy Jackson and going to Camp Half-Blood.
The last book Rick Riordan published before this one was the first in the Magnus Chase series, and I was a bit disappointed by it. It was still a fantastic read, but just not as captivating as Rick’s other books. So I was scared that maybe this book was gonna let me down as well, but it did the oppposite – it brought back the charm of the original Percy Jackson books. I ADORED it.
The book had Rick’s signature humour, although it took me a while to really appreciate it. The beginning was a bit weak, and the story only really started to take off once Apollo and Meg got to Camp Half-Blood and we met all the new and old campers. I loved the new characters we were introduced to, especially Apollo’s kids – I wasn’t a big fan of Meg though. She annoyed me and I felt like she didn’t really stand out as a memorable character. Apollo on the other hand was great – I really liked him from the start. Every review I read kept saying how much of a jerk he was, but honestly I thought he was surprisingly nice. He was very self-centered, but he was also kind and actually pretty adorable.
Like all of Rick’s books, this one had some very sad moments as well. He’s incredible at writing sadness into a fun story without seeming cheesy or over the top. There are always a few moments in his books that make me tear up.
The book was also action-packed and fast-paced, just like his other novels, which I always enjoy. There are books that benefit from being slower, but Rick’s books work really well with lots of action and stuff going on at all times.
But now onto my favourite thing about this book: SOLANGELO. I’m not gonna explain what Solangelo is in case you haven’t read the Heroes of Olympus series, but HOLY SHIT IT MADE ME SO HAPPY. When I finished The Blood of Olympus and Rick announced The Hidden Oracle I hoped, alongside lots of other fans, that Solangelo would be a part of this series, and YES IT IS. THANK YOU SO MUCH RICK I’M SO HAPPY. I was so overwhelmed by the cuteness I couldn’t even breathe at times. I WANT MORE.
Another small thing I really loved about this book was the instance of emotional manipulation and victim-blaming. I think Rick handled that incredibly well. I’m not gonna go into any details (because spoilers), but reading that scene made me very happy because of how Apollo reacted to it.
Now a few things I didn’t like so much. Firstly, I thought that Apollo’s internal love-is-love monologue was a bit strange. It felt to me like Rick was trying too hard to say that it’s okay to be gay. It’s one of those moments when I think show don’t tell went wrong – more show, less tell, please. But I quickly got over that awkward attempt at showing acceptance; I was scared that Rick was just going to write that monologue down and then ignore it for the rest of the novel, but he actually handled the fact that Apollo is bisexual incredibly well. His sexuality was mentioned here and there (Apollo finds a lot of people very attractive), but it wasn’t overdone. So in the end it felt just right. Good job, Rick. (ALSO SOLANGELO.)
Another thing I didn’t like is the fact that the book was way too short. Seriously, it was over super quickly, and in the end it felt like not much had actually happened. I know that probably sounds a bit harsh, but I just wish the book had been longer. (Technically this is a good thing, because it means I want more – right?)
In conclusion, apart from a few minor things, this was a fantastic book, and I can’t wait for the next one in the series. I think it’s really interesting that this book takes place at the same time as the first Magnus Chase one, and the two series will continue side-by-side. I’m very curious to see how that plays out.
‘Till next time and happy reading!