”The only thing I knew for certain: my punishment was unfair. Zeus needed someone to blame, so of course he’d picked the handsomest, most talented, most popular god in the pantheon: me.”
I can’t believe how we got from this Apollo at the beginning to the Apollo at the end of the book. But then again, there was always good in him. It was just buried underneath his huge ego. *lol* I guess in some way I’m very thankful Zeus decided to kick Apollo out of Olympus, because it didn’t just give us an entirely new series that plays in the Percy Jackson universe but also helps us to understand how Apollo (and most of the gods) think about demi-gods and humankind in general. It’s nice to have a gods POV for a change and it definitely made for good entertainment. The interesting thing about Apollo is that he’s a really witty and hilarious character but at the same time there is some depth to him we didn’t get with a lot of the other heroes in the PJ universe. Sure, they all have their troubled pasts, some more than others, but at the end of the day they are all teenagers that learn to find themselves and to pave their own way.
”I wanted to say: You remind me of someone. But I didn’t dare open that line of conversation. Only two mortals ever had broken my heart. Even after so many centuries, I couldn’t think of her, couldn’t say her name without falling into despair.”
Apollo is entirely different to the demi-gods because he was around for thousands of years and despite being one of the powerful gods, he has loved and lost already. He’s a grown-up stuck in the body of a powerless teen and for the first time ever since he came into being he’s forced to realize what it truly means to be human and what it entails. Obviously to have no eight-pack abs and to have horrible acne! *lol* I had a good laugh about that one because I’m sure every teenager can relate to those “horrors” Apollo spoke about. ;-P If you take away his narcissism, egoism, good looks and high-handedness all that’s left is his true self, though. And this is exactly what happens in the book. Apollo is forced to accept his new reality and it allows him to shine and to show that underneath it all he’s actually a pretty decent human being.
”Then it occurred to me how many times I had asked for sacrifices, how many heroes I had sent to their deaths. Had they been any less noble and courageous than these [redacted]? Yet I had felt no remorse when I sent them off on deadly tasks. I had used them and discarded them, laid waste to their lives to build my own glory. I was no less of a monster than …”
Yes, I’m trying my best to keep this review spoiler free so you’ll have to live with “redacted” quotes. *lol* Anyway! What I really liked about “The Hidden Oracle” were the interactions between Apollo and all his children. Well, truth be told, not only his children but their friends as well. He’s a very kind soul and some sort of father figure that adopts everyone no matter how much they annoy him and this is extremely wholesome and endearing. I loved that he knew all of his children by name and also remembered their mothers and fathers.
”Thank you,” I managed.
I could not add my children. It didn’t seem right. These demigods were my protectors and my family, but for the present I could not think of myself as their father. A father should do more – a father should give more to his children than he takes. I have to admit that this was a novel idea for me. It made me feel even worse than before.
His developing friendship with Meg was so nice to watch and it always got me when he thought about his children and how he should have done more for them. He’s probably the only god who knows all his children’s names (except of Zeus, Hades and Poseidon, but if you only have one kid that’s not really a challenge. XD) yet he still wanted to do better. Apollo truly cares about his kids and if they get into trouble there’s nothing he wouldn’t do in order to save them. And this even in his powerless human form. And it’s the same for his children. They’d do anything to help their father as well and if that isn’t a good and nourishing foundation for love and trust then I don’t know.
The curse of the River Styx could kill me in its slow cancerous way, or Zeus could strike me down. But my oath to save Meg McCaffrey had to come first.
I turned my face to the sky. “If you want to punish me, Father, be my guest, but have the courage to hurt me directly, not my mortal companion. BE A MAN!”
The defiance!!! *lol* It reminded me of Percy and it’s no wonder those two worked so well together. Seriously their conversations gave me life and some part of me hopes for more cameos of Percy just to see him banter with Apollo. I guess it’s safe to say that all of the demi-gods have a difficult relationship with their godly parents but Apollo is a god (or was until this book) and obviously has a more than just complicated relationship with his father Zeus as well. I wonder if Zeus will learn something from this too and I genuinely hope he does because Apollo deserves to have a father that cares about him too.
”Nosoi?” Percy planted his feet in a fighting stance. “You know, I keep thinking, I have now killed every single thing in Greek mythology. But the list never seems to end.”
“You haven’t killed me yet,” I noted.
“Don’t tempt me.”
Moreover he has loved and lost and his pride cost him dearly in the past. According to Apollo there were only two people he truly loved and they are a constant in the entire book. He still thinks about them and they are always on his mind, their ghosts accompanying him wherever he goes. His grief is deep and I felt really sorry for him whenever he was reminded of them. Also because I just need to say it: Apollo is a bisexual disaster and I LOVE him for it! The way he handles sexuality and how it’s no big deal for him. A true icon! I wish everyone’s parents would be as accepting and open-minded as Apollo and I loved that he kinda shipped his own son with his boyfriend. XD That’s such a rare thing to witness, but if anyone would do it, it would be Apollo, of course. 😉
Will changed his surgical gloves and glared at the woods. “We will find them. We have to.”
Nico di Angelo gave him a flask. “Drink. Right now, this is where you need to be.”
Which brings me right to one of the most important things about “The Hidden Oracle” and technically it’s no spoiler because if you read the book it’s already mentioned about 25-30% into it. My Solangelo ship finally sailed and I’m not mad about it!! <333 What I’m MAD about though, is that it happened so fast and that we never found out what exactly happened! Like the last time I checked Will and Nico weren’t a thing at the end of “The Blood of Olympus” and now they are together?!! AHHHHH!!! My shipper heart is happy and not happy at the same time! Like: How dare you Uncle Rick? How dare you to throw this ship at us without any explanation of how it all happened?!! We didn’t even get a first time of holding hands or their first kiss. Like NO! Can we please at least hear about their story and how they became a couple?! T_T It feels like I missed out on 30 minutes of a fast-paced movie! *lol*
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.
“Oh, I’ll get you for that.”
Still, I loved those two and their gentle gestures. They care about each other so much and the way they watch out for each other and take care of each other was so beautiful I melted. They are the epitome of the “Grump and Sunshine” trope and had me smiling whenever they were on page. Despite Nico’s grumpy attitude it’s more than just obvious that he loves to be Will’s boyfriend and adores him. I can’t wait to see more of their interactions and I hope they’ll be a big part of the next book too. I mean Will is Apollo’s son and the healer of the camp, it would make sense if he and Nico would go on a quest with Apollo, right?! Nico is still one of my favourite PJ characters ever and I’m absolutely in love with Will Solace. His slightly bossy and no-nonsense personality gets me every single time. <333
”You guys go,” Will told me. “The chariot is only designed for three, and after that shadow-travel Nico is going to pass out any second.”
“No, I’m not,” Nico complained, then passed out.
Will caught him in a fireman’s lift and took him away. “Good luck! I’m going to get the Lord of Darkness here some Gatorade!”
Ahh you just gotta love Will. XD He’ll become one of the best healers ever and Apollo is already very proud of him. =) This said I absolutely loved “The Hidden Oracle” and had an amazing time. I read this book in a couple of days and for me this is actually pretty fast. It usually takes me weeks to finish a story but this time around I just couldn’t put it down. Apollo as a character is extremely intriguing and I love the more serious vibe of this series. Don’t get me wrong, Apollo is one of the most hilarious characters ever, but he also has a very earnest side and the mixture of both of his sides worked more than just well for me. Plus his character growth after the first book is already palpable and I can’t wait to see how much more he’s going to change throughout the series.
”Apollo,” Chiron said, “you must do this. You are the lord of archery and illness.”
“I’m not lord of anything!” I wailed. “I’m a stupid ugly mortal teenager! I’m nobody!”
All told “The Hidden Oracle” was exactly the kind of book I wanted to read and had everything I hoped for and even more. Apollo’s development and character arc is done so well and Meg is a more than just interesting and complex side-kick. Fingers crossed we’ll see more of her and Peaches in the next book. I’m ready to pick up “The Dark Prophecy”! Let’s hope I’ll get hold of a library copy soon! ;-P