The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) – Book Review

Trials of Apollo

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

Series: The Trials of Apollo

Genre: MG, Fantasy, Humour

Publisher: Puffin

Pages: 359
Goodreads Summary

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 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 favour.

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.
Book Review

Oh. My. Gods. AMAZING. Okay okay before I start the review I’m gonna give you two warnings. Warning 1 – Beware, there’ll probably be a bunch of spoilers for the Percy Jackson series, Heroes of Olympus series, and Magnus Chase. Warning 2 – This post is going to be full, I repeat FULL, of fangirling. A LOT of fangirling.

I’m going to start off with what I first noticed, right on the first page – and that’s the haikus. Yes, haikus. The story is told in the POV of the God Apollo (as you may already know) – and if you’ve read the rest of Rick Riordan’s Greek mythology books, you’ll know that Apollo has a slight obsession with writing really bad haikus. And guess what each chapter starts off with. Yup, you guessed it. Really bad haikus. AND IT IS JUST SO PERFECT ljnfskejnnsfekjnsfdjknsdfk. I told you there’d be loads of fangirling.

” You’ve got to be kid-
Well, crud, what just happened there?
I ran out of syl-“

I think that was one of my favourite bad haikus in the book. But each haiku is basically a short, humorous summary (and spoiler-free) of the upcoming chapter, which I thought was a pretty awesome and Apollo-y take on a normal, bland chapter title.

Another thing I liked was how Apollo’s character and personality is portrayed through the book. So, we all know how arrogant Apollo is, and how self-centered he is. And that was shown so well throughout the book. When the demigods are facing a true problem, Apollo gets frustrated because they aren’t focussing on HIM, and his petty little problems. I’ll admit, I found Apollo super annoying, especially seeing as the whole story is told through his eyes, but that’s good – Apollo is MEANT to be seen as annoying.

Going back on the point on the book’s POV, I really enjoyed the way the story was told through a God’s eyes. The whole Percy Jackson series was told through Percy’s eyes, and in Heroes of Olympus widened out a little and was told through the Seven and some other characters’ eyes. But we’ve never, ever had a God’s point of view. And it was really interesting. I liked how they showed how insignificant the demigods were to a God like Apollo, yet he had to rely on the demigods to fight the monsters. I liked how he realised that he should probably pay more attention to his children, and how he seemed to be thinking about getting other Gods to do that too.

I’m gonna move onto a certain ship now, before I explode from excitement and feels. This is pretty much the fangirl central of this post, it’s gonna be crammed with feels. Okay, so Solangelo. Solangelo is, apart from Percabeth, one of the most loved ships in the FanDam. And I don’t know about you, but before I started The Hidden Oracle, I read a couple of posts and book reviews on people who’d already (amazingly) finished the book, on the day it came out (one of my friends did that too, wow). And I discovered that Solangelo was canon. Yes. CANON. I couldn’t breathe, I was so excited, I was crying. Don’t judge, but Solangelo is SO PERFECT. asdfGhjlKL.

“Will put his hand on Nico’s shoulder. ‘Nico, we need to have another talk about your people skills.’
‘Hey, I’m just stating the obvious. If this IS Apollo, and he dies, we’re all in trouble.’
Will turned to me. ‘I apologize for my boyfriend.’
Nico rolled his eyes. ‘Could you not-‘
‘Would you prefer SPECIAL GUY?’ Will asked. ‘Or significant other?’
‘Significant ANNOYANCE, in your case,’ Nico grumbled.”

*jumps of cliff*. Such. Perfection.
Okay I’d better forcefully move myself away from the amazingness that is Solangelo, and onto the new character introduced – Meg McCaffrey. I’m not sure about Meg. She’s one of those characters you either hate or love, and I think I hate her. Sure, she has her good bits – she’s funny, sassy and sarcastic; she’s brave and determined – but I just found her annoying! I’m not too sure WHY I found her annoying, I just did. Every time she appeared in the book, I kinda got really frustrated and willed her to leave, go away. Yes, she’s very funny, and I guess I can bear her presence in the rest of the series, but I’m kinda hoping Rick Riordan will kill her off. *hold hands up in surrender* I’m sorry, really, but it’s true!

‘Nuh-uh,’ She showed me her rings, ‘I always use two swords. Plus, I need a free hand for slapping when you act stupid.’

I had the uncomfortable sense she was serious.”
Wait I just remembered something. Quick mention before I continue the review but – Percy is in a SWIM TEAM!! *squeals* How awesome is that!!

Okayyy moving on, Percabeth – there was no Percabeth in the book *sobs*. Sure, there were mentions, but we didn’t ever get to see them together! I think the book was set during Magnus Chase time, as Percy mentioned that Annabeth was over in Boston, as she was during Magnus Chase. So I guess that both the plots are sort of, occuring together. Since both Magnus Chase and Trials of Apollo are ongoing at the same time, how awesome would it be if the stories merged some point further on? Think Norse mythology meeting Roman and Greek mythology – it’ll be awesome and action-packed.

I realised I haven’t yet spoken about the actual plot and storyline itself – and I’ll admit, it wasn’t the best plot Rick Riordan has ever conjured up. I think Rick Riordan is really beginning milk the cow – he’s trying to keep the Percy Jackson universe going (not that I’m complaining 🙂 ), when maybe he’s starting to run out of ideas. I love his books, and I’m not saying he should stop writing them – but maybe Uncle Rick should say goodbye to Percy Jackson and it’s characters. I noticed that in Magnus Chase as well – Magnus Chase could’ve been a really amazing individual novel on Norse Mythology, but then he had to drag the Percy Jackson references and characters in, and it just didn’t work for me. What do you think about this whole situation? And don’t punish me for being a traitorous fangirl 😂! I  love Percy Jackson, really!

All in all, I really liked The Hidden Oracle. I’ll read the rest of the series, but only because I want to see if the the characters and how they’re getting on – not because of the plot. I’m sorry to say that, because Rick Riordan is really amazing, but it’s true. 

I’d recommend the book to anyone who loves reading MGs, YAs, fantasies, and anybody interested in reading about Greek Mythology. I’m gonna rate the book 4/5 – but like I said before, the majority of the rating is probably based on my biased and overexcited fangirl’s mind.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– V

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (The Dark Artifices #1)

Blurb

In a kingdom by the sea….

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word. A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other – but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter. She lives for battle. Alongside her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries – the most powerful of supernatural creatures – teeter on the edge of war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries are found murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge, and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held by the faerie courts. All they have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents – and can she bear to know the truth?

Review
I absolutely loved this new addition to the Shadowhunter chronicles! The book mainly focuses on Emma and the Blackthorns, but there are tiny mentions of the characters from the TMI series – and some surprising bits and pieces that tells us on what they’re up to five years after the Dark War. The Infernal Devices was definitely my favourite of the Shadowhunter chronicles so of course I fangirled over Jem and Tessa’s mentions in the book!

Emma and Julian are parabatai – both of them orphans who lost their family during the Dark War. Julian is the oldest of the Blackthorns, so he has to look after Dru, Tavvy and the twins Ty and Livvy. Helen and Mark, their half-faerie siblings, were exiled from the Institute after the Dark War’s nasty turn of events. Now however Emma finds these bodies that resemble that of her parents’, so she gets to work, find out who murdered them.
It’s full of plot twists and surprising bits, I could not put it down! With every single chapter something new happens, you uncover another secret, it’s absolutely impossible to stop reading!

I would definitely recommend reading it! If you haven’t read Cassandra Clare’s other series, you may find it slightly more difficult to understand everything, but she does try to explain what’s happening, so I guess you could read Lady Midnight without reading the other books. I did find that some bits droned on a little, but it only SOME bits, so don’t let that stop you from reading it!
Definitely go and read Lady Midnight, and if you haven’t already, read The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices and The Bane Chronicles – amazing, amazing books – GO READ THEM!!!

*spoiler ahead*

Was it just me, or did Emma remind you of Will Herondale? The way she tried not to break the Parabatai Law at the end to protect Julian, reminded me of Will protecting Tessa from his fake curse…?
– V

Carry On Book Review

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On, though a sequel to Fangirl, can just be read without you reading Fangirl. Also, if you didn’t like Fangirl for some bizarre reason, that by no way means you will dislike Carry On. If you have read Fangirl, you will remember that Cath enjoys writing fanfiction about Simon and Baz. Her most popular fanfiction, the one that she spends all her time writing, is called Carry On. This book is that fanfiction. Set in the world of mages (magicians), this book is brilliant, and is a must read for everyone, fan of Fangirl or not.

Simon Snow just wants to relax and enjoy his last year at Watford with his friend Penny. But things aren’t going to plan. For a start, his roommate Baz hasn’t come back to school. And Simon can’t even enjoy this break from his longtime nemesis because he can’t stop worrying about where he is. And then there’s the problem with Agatha, Simon’s girlfriend, which all started at the end of last year when Simon caught her and Baz holding hands. And then there’s the Old Families, who want to overthrow the Mage (the leader of magician world and headmaster of Watford). Oh, and you musn’t forget the Humdrum, an evil monster who sucks magic out of areas. It doesn’t help that Simon is the Chosen One, the one prophesied to defeat the Humdrum; Simon is the strongest magician in the world of mages, yet he can’t se his powers. Things aren’t looking good for his chances of enjoying his last year at Watford.

This book is inspired by Harry Potter, and is a must read for all potterheads (and TMI fans) as well as anyone else who enjoys that genre. It is a brilliant romance with comedy, adventure and mystery. The plot twists are incredible, the mystery is amazing, and this book is one of my favourites (I actually got it for free in Waterstones as they had a preview that they didn’t want (thanks Waterstones) and it was one of the best days of my life). When I got it, I instantly had three friends pestering me to lend it to them. Everyone who’s borrowed it (as well as me) has finished it in under two days, because you just cannot put it down. It’s one of the best books ever. I cannot express how amazing this book is, everyone should read it right now.

-M

Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent is a book based in a city where the society is divided into 5 factions. Abnegation, for the selfless. Dauntless, for the brave. Erudite, for the clever. Candor, for the honest. Amity, for the kind. 

Tris Prior has been in Abnegation since she was born, as that is the faction her parents are in. But now, she’s the age of someone who can choose which faction they go to, and Tris is faced with a hard decision. Should she stay in her faction to accompany her parents, or should she choose another faction which she finds more interesting? 

Tris makes her decision. After she has decided which faction she goes to, it turns out that it’s going to be a lot tougher than she thought it would be. What makes it even more dangerous is that she is something special but not in a good way.

I loved this book, it was written very well with a great storyline, idea, and characters. The book had some romance in as well, and quite a lot of action, making it a very exciting read. It’s the type of book which you just cannot put down, as there’s always so much more you want to know! Divergent is in a trilogy, made up of itself, Insurgent and Allegiant. There’s also an extra called Four. I highly recommend this trilogy!

– L

The Rest Of Us Just Live Here

The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Mikey, Mel, Jared and Henna are in their last year of high school. They’re going to graduate soon, but they want to graduate without any soul-eating ghosts or Gods destroying their school. Why? Because in their small town that nobody’s ever heard of, weird things attack the poor, heroic Indie kids with strange names and private friendships. It’s been happening for years – it happened to the previous generation and the generation before that.

The Rest Of Us Just Live Here is a really unique novel, that focusses on a town where strange fantastical creatures such as vampires attack. The Indie kids have to fight these beasts. 

Every book focusses on a main character, the character that saves the world from evil and restores the good and peace. However, The Rest Of Us Live Here isn’t like that. This novel focusses on those apart from the main characters, those who are in the background. Have you ever wondered how (sorry about this upcoming Harry Potter reference… 🙂 ) the normal Hufflepuffs, who weren’t tangled in Harry’s life, how they lead their lives? It wouldn’t have been as dramatic as Harry and his friends’. They would have still been affected by the changes of the world around them, but not as badly. This is what The Rest Of Us Just Live Here looks at. Those normal people, whose lives aren’t caught up in the mad things going on around them, how they lead their lives.

I absolutely loved this novel. It’s so rare, to see an author turn the spotlight away from the heroes of every situation, and onto the normal people. The book kind of mocks stories about zombie apocalypses, and is a really interesting read.
The author of the book is Patrick Ness – he wrote the bestselling book The Knife of Never Letting Go. This book is full of romance, humour and amazing ideas – it’s a book for everyone. 
-V

 

City of Halves

City of Halves by Lucy Inglis

Lily is a coder. She’s trying to help her dad, a barrister, to solve a case, by hacking into some CCTV footage in the area the suspect is believed to be hiding out in. And then she sees the suspect, running into a gated area. Lily sprints towards the area, hoping she doesn’t miss him – and she is then attacked by a two headed dog and saved by a boy called Regan. Regan is the Guardian of the Gates. He protects London from the other half of the city, a half full of demons and violent creatures threatening to attack London any time.

If you liked The Mortal Instruments, you’ll definitely enjoy City of Halves. It’s a great book, very fast-paced, keeping you hooked on as you want to find out whether Lily and Regan will survive. It’s full of fantastical creatures, conspiracies, romance and shocking discoveries, and I really enjoyed it. Although I felt that the beginning was quite slow, it’s definitely worth it, as the book gets much better further in. I really loved it, and I strongly recommend it, especially for those who enjoy reading YA books.

– V

Cinder Book Review

Cinder (Book 1 Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

Androids, hovers, cyborgs – New Beijing is full of them…along with a deadly pandemic sweeping its lands. Amongst all this chaos is Cinder, a cyborg, who was reluctantly adopted by her controlling stepmother Adri. She is treated like a slave in a house where Adri’s two daughters get it all. Her life is bleak and monotonous – she spends her days working as a mechanic with only the android Iko for company. But one day, the handsome Prince Kai, every girl in the Commonwealth’s dream, arrives at her stall, and her whole life is turned upside down.

Set in a dystopian world, Cinder is an thrilling, dark take on the classic tale Cinderella. This YA dystopian romance is packed with unpredictable plot twists, and is a book for everyone.

This book is the first book of the Lunar Chronicles, a four book series containing (in order) Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter. Each book adds another character to the story, but it follows on from the other ones and keeps the characters it already had. And each character’s story roughly follows one of the fairy tales, with Scarlet following Little Red Riding Hood, Cress following Rapunzel and Winter following Snow White.

We love this book, as it takes a classical fairy tale and turns it into a page-turning adventure, with twists and turns every chapter. This gripping book keeps you hooked, and is definitely one to head to Waterstones for!

-M and V