Acne, Myrmekes, and Oracles REVIEWING The Hidden Oracle

Welcome back to The Real World According To Sam! We're continuing our countdown to the Tower of Nero! We have finally gotten to the series it belongs to! Today we are talking about the first book in The Trials of Apollo series. We are still continuing with our Countdown to Nero!

We are 3 weeks and 6 days away from the release of The Tower of Nero (October 6, 2020)!

This is a The Heroes of Olympus SPOILER LAND, because this is a sequel series.

This review of The Hidden Oracle is completely spoiler free for this installment.

The Hidden Oracle

Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: YA Fantasy
Year: 2016

The Hidden Oracle


How do you punish an immortal? By making him human. 

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly power, 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.


So when we last left our main heroes, Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter had avoided civil war, stopped Gaea, and oh yeah, Leo died...maybe. Naturally, Zeus was upset, as he usually is, and had to find someone to blame and punish. This person ended up being his son, Apollo. The guy who rides in a flaming chariot, causes the sun to rise, and loves music and poetry. Yeah, that guy. Apollo is used to being hot, popular, and immortal. Zeus knows that to punish a god, you have to hit them where it hurts. For Apollo, life is about to get seriously turned around. 

Apollo's immortality is taken away and he gets to inhabit a new body. An unfit, acne-ridden, weak mortal body. He also gets a new name...Lester Papadopoulos. He wakes up in a New York City, and his very first action as a mortal is to get beat to a pulp by a couple street punks. These guys came ready to kick Apollo --sorry, Lester-- while he's down, literally. While being beat up, a twelve-year-old girl suddenly shows up to help him. This girl, Meg, claims Apollo as a kind of servant for the timeframe that he has to complete a series of trials. These trials, Apollo hopes, will allow him to redeem himself and reclaim his immortal state. So begins Apollo's journey through teenage adolescence. 

As with every other book leading up to this one, there are lots of threats and opportunities for death. This is particularly true since Apollo is in an extremely weakened state. He has retained none of his godly powers and abilities, so he is basically starting from scratch. Thankfully, he has a little guidance  from familiar faces. Apollo has to go to Camp Half-Blood and manages to catch a ride from one of our favorite demigods, before meeting with Chiron and figuring out what he needs to do. He finds out Rachel Dare has been having some problems, so naturally the problem is with oracles and prophecies...which are one of the big things Apollo has been in charge of...and has been neglecting. Why? Because he's a stereotypical god that is mainly hung up on himself. That's nothing new to the world of this series. 

This book is a lot of fun. It's humorous and it provides a whole new challenge than we have ever seen before. The protagonist angle is also very different from the previous books that have led to this series. We have never seen a god forced to be mortal and having to atone for mistakes. Usually the gods and goddesses just force some unwilling demigod to take care of all their business and clean up their messes. You're not getting off the hook that easy this time, Lester! I really enjoyed seeing how pitiful Apollo ends up being once he has his powers stripped away. He is such a whiner, but in a fun way. We also get a completely new threat that really ties in some new historical and mythological aspects than we have seen before. One of the best things about this new series, though, is the haikus that open every chapter. That's right, we no longer have semi-sarcastic chapter titles, or Roman numerals for chapter headings...we have haikus, made up by none other than Apollo/Lester Papadopoulos himself! Additionally, there is a lot of reference to music and musicians, since that is kind of Apollo's forte, and I thought it was a really cool narration touch to match the character. 

Since this is a setup novel for this series, I don't want to give too much of the adventure away. It should be noted though, that this first book is not as much of a road trip or cruise like each previous book set in this world. Apollo doesn't go cross country in this one and he doesn't cross any oceans. Trust me when I say that there's still plenty of adventure to be found, despite a relatively low mileage count. 

Overall, The Hidden Oracle is a fun book, with lots of new enjoyment to be had. I really like Apollo's narration, because it is filled with a fresh and very funny perspective. For once we get to actually see what is normally going through a god's head, but better since he is so limited and generally has so much to complain about. Apollo has a lot of learning to do and I'm excited to see what his time as a mortal does to him. I give this book a Lone Star rating of ✯✯✯✯. 

This concludes another review here at The Real World According To Sam where I bring the books right to your screen, and even throw in my own two cents about them!