Top critical review
3.0 out of 5 stars“Where are my eight-pack abs? I always have eight-pack abs.”
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 6, 2016
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.
DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED!
The book opens with Apollo falling from the skies, disoriented and confused, ending up in a garbage container. He hardly gets to crawl out of it before attacked by two teenage boys the same age as his mortal body. Despite being captured in a not-so-attractive body (how dare Zeus?!), Apollo stands his ground, completely convinced he can fight the two with no issues at all. After all, he is a perfect, flawless, immortal god who should be worshipped by puny humans, such as these teens. However, he gets beaten up, and were it not for an unlikely saviour — 12-year-old Meg — he might have gotten a lot more hurt than he did, because horror behold, he cannot fight as well as he thought. But his ego is intact (sort of). Apollo explains himself to the girl who appears to be a demigod with control over fruits. He explains to her he can be bound by contract and she proceeds to claim his service, which is where he gets stuck. They go to find Percy Jackson, Apollo convinced Percy will be thrilled to see him again, however, that is not exactly the case. Despite not wanting to be involved with quests any more, after last year, and due to promising Annabeth he will get good enough grades to attend college with her, Percy agrees to drive Apollo and Meg to Camp Half-Blood and that’s it (how dare he?!).
Things don’t go as well as planned, and Apollo and Meg have to part with Percy earlier than expected, finding the camp through a thick confusing forest. They learn campers have gone missing lately, and it’s so bad there is a buddy-system in effect. Despite not wanting to sacrifice his own beautiful self, Apollo realises he must find out why the demigods are disappearing, which leads to a disturbing discovery. A group of idolised “gods” are trying to overtake all of the oracles, led by “The Beast”. It is not easy for Apollo to fight his own battles, but he does it despite his (innitial) distaste for it, and grows over the course. However, it is not completely without sacrifices and people turning against him.
Apollo is an extremely entertaining character to follow. His ego is definitely intact, borderline narcissistic. When Percy helps him overcome some plague spirits (catching the cold doing so), Apollo has to actually think hard to understand he needs to thank people for helping him. How does he come to this conclusion? By thinking something along the lines of “Oh, if Percy were a god he’d probably want me to thank him, or burn a sacrifice in his honour”. He is upset he has flab and acne, and keeps referring to himself as awesome, and the most important, and the most handsome god. Oh, if he had his divine powers, he would be so awe-inspiring people would bow before him, and how dare the camp make his table look like everybody else’s? No, surely it should be singing and shining gold. Throughout the course of the book, Apollo has to learn to be more humble, and he has quite a hard time with it, because he is very occupied with how amazing he is about 80% of the time.
This book is very LGBT+ inclusive, Apollo reminiscing about girlfriends and boyfriends. It also features Meg as a new major character, adopted by the guy who killed her father when she was very young, and then manipulating her, emotionally damaging her. So there is definitely some emotional abuse mentioning as well, and Apollo sympathising with her, because he can relate since Zeus did something similar to him, as Meg’s tormentor is doing towards her. This does however also make him realise his errors in tossing heroes to sacrifice themselves for his sake without thinking about it, and not really thanking them, which makes him question if he is much better than the tormentors.
Also, Will Solace + Nico di Angelo. They are sprinkled here and there, and are complete lovable dorks. I especially love the scene where Nico sits at the Apollo table when eating, and Apollo goes “Shouldn’t you be at the Hades table?” and Nico just casually tells about a mood disorder that causes the ground to crackle, and zombies to roam around, if he sits alone, so his doctor (Will) gave him a note saying he had to sit with others. Never mind he probably abused his powers to get there, even though both him and Will joke he would neeever do such a thing to get what he wants. Their chemistry is very relaxed and I enjoyed them as a couple.
All in all I had a fun time reading this book, with a nice battle scene and the return of our favourite jokester. It is an entertaining read, and I do think it could be finished in one go, mostly because of the humour and Apollo’s ego-centric nature. He is just incredibly entertaining and I can’t wait for the next book to drop.