Review: The Dark Prophecy (Book #2: The Trials of Apollo Trilogy) by Rick Riordan

Dark ProphecyZeus 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. . . .

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Overdrive Audio/Public Library          My Rating: 5/5 stars

Lester/Apollo isn’t having the best of weeks!  Ever since his father, Zeus took away his immortality, his life has been threatened at every turn, he’s had more than a few prophecies (oh, the irony!) to sort out, and one crazy quest to complete.  Did I mention, at the end of that first quest came yet another tangled prophecy and quest?  Yeah, Lester/Apollo isn’t having the best of weeks 😊

Lester/Apollo’s latest adventure finds he, Leo, and Calypso in the middle of Indianapolis trying to track down the next and darkest of the oracles!  Walking into a trap doesn’t even begin to describe the situation, but as the kids have discovered, help often arrives in the nick of time and from the most surprising of sources.  In this instance, Indianapolis happens to be home to a most wonderful refuge for the creatures, demigods, and deities of the world.  Run and defended by two of Artemis’s former hunters, the station house is a unique, ever-changing site meant to provide shelter, healing, and, if needed, a home. 

It takes just about a hot minute for things to really heat up in Indianapolis, for the second of the triumvirate to reveal himself, and for the kids to be knee-deep in sorting out one catastrophe after another.  There’s a young girl who needs to be rescued and wiped of her madness, there’s Meg to find and do something with 😊, there’s the defeating of the second emperor, there’s the securing of the oracle, and there’s the ongoing defense of the refuge and its inhabitants.  At every turn, there is true danger, life threatening events, the strangest of allies made, and the saddest of events unfolding.  There is also Apollo’s wonderful sense of sarcasm, narcissism, humor, and reminiscing about the past. 

As events unfold, Lester/Apollo is forced to face his past, his actions, the consequences of his actions/words, and his own current mortality.  What he discovers is an ability to be truly saddened and shamed by some of his past exploits, a desire to right the wrongs of his past, and a sincere willingness (with some internal whining!) to make the present a far more acceptable place to be.  Lester/Apollo digs deep to find what’s important to him and discovers he is interested in helping his friends/allies, old and new alike, finding creative if crazy solutions to problems, and helping those who are unable to help themselves.  For a once-god only interested in his own happiness, glory, and benefit, this change of attitude is surprising to everyone, but especially Apollo. 

The Bottom Line: Yet again, I was sucked into this saga and didn’t want to give up on the listening until the very end!  For as much as I adore the act of physically reading a book, I think I have enjoyed this series more as an audio read.  Once again, all the characters and their respective personalities simply shine through with the help of a wonderful narrator.  In particular is Apollo’s voice; every bit of sarcasm, narcissism, and humor is amplified in the audio version of this book.  As to the plot, everything deepened and became more complicated in this middle book of the trilogy and I enjoyed it all.  Historically, the emperor in this book is one of my favorites because of his level of crazy, the big reveals and backstory are fantastic, the retrieval of Meg and Peaches is crazy awesome, and the scene in the cave of the oracle is as funny as it is sad.  In all, I still wish I had read all the Percy Jackson books first (I’m working on it!) but am still able to follow along and thoroughly enjoy this trilogy.  Book three is already on hold with library and I can’t wait to see or hear how this one ends!

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