Published May 3rd 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
Format read: Finished copy via publisher (thank you!)
By making him human.
After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disoriented, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favor.
But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters, and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.
(I actually purchased books one and two from Target on a lark, and then frantically drove around to a couple of stores a day later, so I could purchase the rest of the series.)
I've loved everything he's written since then, and was TOTALLY stoked when The Hidden Oracle was announced. Riordan brings us back to Camp Half-Blood via Apollo, who has been punished for his involvement with the events of the Heroes of Olympus. He's been (temporarily) turned into a human, and cast out into the mortal world.
With the help of an unexpected crew, Apollo finds his way to Camp Half-Blood. However, he soon finds himself involved in an unfolding situation that will take a lot of human ingenuity...
While Riordan sets up the book in a fairly Riordan-esque format: hero finds himself in tough situation; hero goes to Camp Half-Blood to regroup and move forward; The Hidden Oracle distinguishes itself by having one of the most sarcastic and delightfully pompous narrators in the series, thus far.
Most readers are already familiar with Apollo from the previous books, including his penchant for bad poetry and pompous behavior. We get a detailed look into his brain in Oracle, as he grapples with the idea that he just isn't a god anymore. He snarks at everything he sees, and Riordan does a nice job of showing just how strange and confusing the mortal world can be, to someone who is used to having unlimited powers and being universally adored.
However, like most of the other teens who stumble into the calming influence of Camp Half-Blood, Apollo's subsequent journey there with a demigod named Meg, helps him come to terms with the realities of the real world. Thanks in part to the influence of his offspring and familiar faces like Chiron the Centaur, Apollo realizes that he can help influence the course of events for the Greek and Roman camps, even without his pantheon of powers.
The hero quest is classic Riordan, with an increasingly delightful cast of characters, including both new and old faces, and one face that will make readers squee. Readers will definitely appreciate Riordan's careful throwback to events of old - seriously, I have no idea how he keeps everything straight - and how those events have influenced and continue to influence events to this very day.
(At one point, I was totally envisioning this scene from Spectre, when readers learned that there was a very specific group behind the chaotic events of the original books, all the way till now.)
Though the book concludes with the door open for the quest, Riordan also manages to conclude with a nice nod toward Apollo fully fitting into at camp.
Of special note: With all of the talk of diversity in literature recently, I think it's worth pointing out that Riordan has always made it a point of incorporating diverse characters into his books, and it's no different here. There's a number of diverse new campers, and without giving spoilers away - I loved the fact that they melded seamlessly into the fabric of Camp Half-Blood, as both comrades and adversaries in battle.
(Unrelated: Frank Zhang, I miss you!)
After years of wondering just what the gods would do if they were to find themselves in situation similar to what that our beloved Camp Half-Blood/Camp Jupiter often get themselves into, we get to find out through Apollo's snarky, hilarious eyes. It's a well-rounded journey, full of insight into
Bottom line: Riordan proves time and again, why he's a leader in his field. Don't miss this one; The Hidden Oracle is sure to set us up for something spectacular.
About the author:
Rick Riordan, dubbed “Storyteller of the Gods” by Publishers Weekly, is the author of three #1 New York Times best-selling middle grade series with millions of copies sold throughout the world: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, based on Greek mythology; the Kane Chronicles, based on Ancient Egyptian mythology; and the Heroes of Olympus, based on Greek and Roman mythology.
Rick collaborated with illustrator John Rocco on two best-selling collections of Greek myths for the whole family: Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods and Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes. The first book in his Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard trilogy based on Norse mythology, The Sword of Summer, also debuted at #1 on the New York Times list. Rick lives in Boston, Massachusetts with his wife and two sons.