Lester (Apollo) still human; thanks for asking, gods I hate my life: “The Trials of Apollo Book 2: The Dark Prophecy” review

The Trials of Apollo Book 2: The Dark Prophecy

Rick Riordan

Disney Hyperion, 2017

Rating: Hermes worthy (2 out of 5 stars)

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Eisenberg Rating: 412 out of 2,000 stars

Okay so let’s do something new for this review of Rick Riordan’s second Apollo series. Here’s the review of the second book of The Trials of Apollo series because Mr. Riordan we need to talk). Like the one we did in our Magnus Chase review, we start by dividing the book into its junior plots and ranking those plots by this rating system: (this will be the rating system of geek god review from this day on, as decreed by lord Zeus.

Geek God Review RateSo let’s start.

Landing to Indianapolis

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Headless guys ang gals

Not Loving the Midwest vibe

Oh, look–a cheese ghost

The opening chapter has a Percy Jackson vibe in it, and we know that this is not a Percy Jackson book but the reason why we keep on reading Riordan’s book is the hope that we would be having that little bit of Percy magic dust in it whether it maybe Magnus or Kane Chronicles. The first Apollo book did not disappoint, with or without the usual Percy characters popping out in every chapters, Lester’s character is reminiscent of why we love Riordan’s story, there’s a fun guy off for an adventure in a modern Greek mythology world. On the opening two chapters we felt that we still was in Riordan’s world. It opened with a fight scene grander for an opening chapter but with the blemmyae and Leo and Lester’s lines, the chapters were a thrill to read.

The Waystation

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No building should be

A Secret from Apollo

Or drop bricks on him

The Waystation is a refuge for demigods, monsters and anything Riordan-created, located above the Union Station in Indianapolis. To be honest, we’re not as much as impressed about this choice of a building and that of the state of Indiana, no offense. Compared to other locations, this one seemed to be lacking of the Greek magic that we crave for, despite the fact that the Waystation is alive or something. That might be because of the absence of legit Greek gods popping every now and then, no offense to the goddess of the nets. But the story is speeding up, presenting the problems to us via the two residents of the building and Lester’s dreams about what’s in store in the book, especially the story of his two sons fueled the fire for readers to move on to the next chapters. The thing that made this part special, something that you will not read in any Percy books, is that we realize that Lester is a god (or was a god), I know that we just realized that but his story will forever be packed with surprises and stories, and that is saying something.

The Indianapolis Zoo

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Fast-food restaurant

My life goal is realized

Any fries with that?

The Calypso-Lester tandem was amazing, sorry Leo, and the zoo battle was epic, simple but familiar: demigods (former gods in this case) battling monsters and other demigods thru their wit and occasional burst of power. The Arrow of Dodona is still our favorite weapon (this is hoping that Magnu’s Jack will not read this article), opening his/her line in the second book with his usual Shakespearean voice: “THE MORTAL DOTH FINALLY SHOW SENSE” and (the best of all) “Hittest me with thy best shot.” The lack of Lester’s power was frustrating (but needed, sorry Lord Apollo) because we really want to see some power vs power here but we’ll get to that, hopefully in the last book. As for Meg, we still don’t like her, because, again, she reminds us of that little girl from Wreck-It-Ralph who was very, very annoying.

The Stadium

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Big birds of evil 

They charged me with razor legs

I die and it hurts

The stadium battle was messy and noisy and really unnecessary. Okay so let’s go back a little to the canal scenes where Lester and Meg and Leo battled this serpent which we were not impressed. At this point we’re seeing how Riordan wants to play this: Lester and Meg would be accompanied by different demigods along the way to complete the required three demigods (or god) for a quest. The palace of Commodus was also unimpressive, and the rescue of the prisoners? Whatever. The throne of memory was not highlighted here which was a pity. So back to the stadium, a race car battle? Really? The lines between Lester and Commodus was good but we’re not sure why we should include this battle scene unless Riordan really wanted to save this big elephant. But it was necessary for Commodus to have this battle because apparently it was his favorite past time of his but instead of having it as a grand ending, Riordan can’t do that because there’s the fact that Lester needed to go to this cave to receive the dark prophecy and the Waystation battle would be way more cool, maybe Riordan was thinking about a Hogwarts battle style, with the defending the building kind of stuff. So in doing so, Riordan messed with the stadium scene and the entire sequence there after as we would point later so carry on reading.

The Dark Prophecy

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Man, I hate my son

A real arrogant jerkwad

Nothing like his dad

When you have difficulty finding a good Haiku in these chapters then we have a problem. Thankfully the chapters concerning Lester and Meg’s quest to the dark cave was full of depth and frankly a surprise for a Riordan story. In here we saw Trophonius’ anguish and for a moment we forgot that we’re reading a YA book as the emotions flood us with his every word. Meg’s ordeal inside the cave, though not surprising, was very well written alongside Lester who had spilled up his “human” side in this encounter. The problem here (okay we know) is that it includes the scenes with the blemmyae which turned the scene into comedy again, right when the story is getting more serious and fun to read. Serious and fun should not come together, we agree but the blemmyae scene broke the awe we felt inside the cave and that was so disappointing. The peaches did not help either because, come on we hate plants.

The Waystation Battle

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 Waystation damaged

Commodus will pay for this

And I don’t take cash

Remember the feeling when you read that final Twilight book (we’re guilty, we know) and you’re expecting a Hogwarts Battle level of excitement or that of Sozin’s Comet, instead you’re given a lengthy Theresa May-like speech? That’s the exact description of the Waystation Battle. Lester plunged on to the building describing the damages he saw with no battle in site, then he saw this stand-off between Commodus and Lester and the gang, that was just a waste of pages for a book. Admittedly, his burst of godly powers was insane, did not saw that coming, but come on Riordan you’re better than that. The Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter prophecy was not dramatic enough to make your hair stand, unlike those of the past prophecies which was a pity since  we’re talking about the Apollo here.

The Final Verdict

The second book of the The Trials of Apollo is disappointing like out that finding Leo has no sense of humor or Percy is not a true son of Poseidon but a water bender. It seems that The Dark Propechy was just a story, a preparation to what lies ahead, bigger and much better quests. This is to hoping that what we think it is true, that the other Apollo books would be much bigger and better.

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