Thursday, 4 August 2016

Return to Camp Half-Blood - The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
'After all I had done for Percy Jackson, I expected delight upon my arrival. A tearful welcome, a few burnt offerings and a small festival in my honour would not have been inappropriate.
Instead, the young man swung open the apartment door and said, "Why?"' - Rick Riordan, The Hidden Oracle, pages 25-26 

Camp Half-Blood finally gets a chance to be the major setting! 

(And it only took eleven books.)

Upon falling to earth, Apollo flees there with a disgruntled Percy Jackson, and Meg McCaffrey, a new demigod with a suitably mysterious past. Apollo knows that there is something he must do if he ever wants to return to being his usual divine self, but he doesn't know what that something is. With the oracles still out of commission, he might be stuck as Lester of the ridiculous surname forever. This book had some excellent plot points. The three-legged race, for example. I was a bit bored in the final chapters leading up to the climax, but the climax itself was brilliant and had a hilarious conclusion.

Apollo's narration was really well done. He was narcissistic, as you would expect a god to be, and he made a large number of references to chords and music. He was joined early in the story by Meg, a hyperactive demigod several years younger than the heroes from the last series. The Apollo campers have a larger role too, with Kayla and Austin humanising Apollo, and Will Solace maintaining the strong supporting role he gained in the climax of The Blood of Olympus. But it's the minor campers who really shine this time round. Many of the campers from the Percy Jackson series have left for higher education, leaving us with a camp full of new faces. My personal favourites were Chiara and Damien, the bickering children of Tyche and Nemesis, and Harley, the tiny son of Hephastus.

Overall, whilst I didn't enjoy this as much as The Lightning Thief or The Lost Hero, I still thought it was a great continuation of the series. Given the rather unusual trio preparing to set off on the new quest, I don't think the sequel can come out fast enough.