You’ve been really busy with life lately. Hopefully you’ve been reading/listening to some good books. Me? I read this with trepidation…….with good reason.
Title: The Dark Prophecy
Series: The Trials of Apollo; Book 2
Author: Rick Riordan
ROTS Setting: EU, Modern, Magic, Mythology/Supernatural
Synopsis: Zeus has punished his son Apollo–god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more–by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo/Lester do anything about them without his powers? After experiencing a series of dangerous–and frankly, humiliating–trials at Camp Half-Blood, Lester must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he’s gaining in new friendships–with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride. . . .
Recommendation: Still recommended, but only barely.
It wasn’t as bad as I feared but nowhere as good as I was hoping. The first book had promise however this one didn’t quite live up to it.
Apollo, as a character, is this weird mix of super shallow and the rare surprising depth. Pages and pages of self deprecating remarks and whining with a sudden moment of clarity and meaningfulness. I found the mix a bit jarring and as a result I didn’t like him in this book as much as the first.
Secondary characters were a real let down. Apollo is joined by Leo and Calypso for this book. For me, it was very much, “Look! It’s Apollo. He can’t do it by himself so insert demigods here. If we use Leo and Calypso we can appease the fans too. Score!” They felt like filler. Also neither really contributed to the story beyond Festus getting them there and as a sidekick for the various “quests”.
And let’s not talk about the antagonist/emperor. He wasn’t scary because he was continually undermined and overburdened with cliches. The term “wet noodle” comes to mind.
When it came to plot it was ok. Pretty much the standard Riordan formula. Prophecy/vision tells them go here. A god “gives them a quest”. Do the side quest. Do the main quest. Receive new prophecy/vision. Repeat. However there was this mismatch when it came to tone. The vast majority of the book comes across with a very low maturity level. Potty humor, whining, constant exaggerations, etc. From the first third of the book I would have assumed a target age of 12 or younger. Then BAM! Super dark scene………that ends up having almost no bearing on the plot.
A plague of repetition bogged down the writing. Some of it may have been intentional, but it was at a level that I found demeaning as a reader. Three chapters and the same thing is mentioned over a dozen time? I can be pretty dense but even that is going too far. This contributed to the immature feel of the book.
Lastly, the diversity and virtue signalling were ramped way up compared to the first book but handled infinitely better than Magnus Chase #2. Some of it actually felt natural/organic and there also was less preaching involved. But some of it still felt like tokenism or diversity for it’s own sake and not that of the story, or characters. I don’t want to get spoilery or you’d get specifics.
In summary, it was ok. I enjoyed it on a general level and am still willing to read the next book in the series……eventually. Honestly, I’ve got way too many books I want to read more so I’m shelving this series indefinitely.
Eventually – The Burning Maze; Book 3 >>