Title: The Trials of Apollo: The Dark Prophecy
Author: Rick Riordan
ISBN No: 978-0-141-36397-4
Publisher: Penguin Random House
The Haiku-spouting, mostly sarcastic, Greek god-turned-pimply human is back for another adventure. Since The Hidden Oracle, his last adventure-quest in 2016, Apollo has travelled to the American Midwest with two new companions and a tin dragon.
In The Dark Prophecy, Book Two of The Trials of Apollo, the god-turned-mortal Lester Papadopoulos, and his dysfunctional crew is once again looking for an Oracle turned dark. It takes the readers on a quest with the disgruntled Apollo, who is still quite ungracious about his form, lack of powers, and especially, humans.
We meet several characters from the first book, including Meg McCaffrey; her spirit friend and pet, Peaches; and the “god-emperor” Nero. Some familiar ones from that mythical world also make appearance: demi-god Leo Vazquez, the now-human Titan temptress Calypso, Zeus’s daughter Thalia Grace, some Hunters of Artemis. They are all, in some way or the other, aiding Apollo in his ‘quest’ to regain his godliness.
Riordan has, once again, managed to transport the readers to the world where Greek gods are alive and frolicking, and have been procreating with humans for centuries. As the cover of Riordan’s latest fictional creation reads, the book does “return to Percy Jackson’s world” — which first came into existence with the introduction of Riordan’s eponymous demi-god hero in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. That five-books series was an immense succes — in February 2010, all five titles featured on the USA Today Top 10 Bestsellers List and the total number of prints of the books were at 12 million — that paved way for spin-offs. Trials of Apollo trilogy comes after the pentalogy Heroes of Olympus, which is also based in the same fictional universe and anothe spin-off series.
The Trials of Apollo utilizes Riordan’s already established fanbase to further another cycle of adventures with an ensemble, albeit fictitious, cast. This series uses characters that have already been introduced and fleshes them out a bit to make the reader feel part of that world.
As usual, Riordan is a master storyteller; his storytelling, however, will be mostly enjoyed by a younger age group, perhaps eight- to 20-year-olds. The plot is engaging enough; but adult readers might find the writing tad too teen-drama for their liking as the book is peppered with, what can only term as, young adult ‘lingo’ and exaggerated theatrics.
That is not to say that adults shouldn’t pick up The Dark Prophecy. A well-written story should be enjoyed by all, despite their age and preferences. And The Dark Prophecy has all the ingredients for a potboiler. There is intrigue, humour, ominous prophecies, and a loophole to get everything back to normal.
Even though to a large extent, the book does read as a standalone, its true glory is enjoyed if you have read the first in the series, The Hidden Oracle. So, suggestion: if you have read the first book, go ahead and pick your copy of The Dark Prophecy. If not, take some time out to read Book One, before starting on Book Two.