Book 5 The Dark Prophesy, Trials of Apollo

Book 5 The Dark Prophesy, The Trials of Apollo Book 2 by Rick Riordan
This book fulfills the Book with an Imaginary or Excinct creature category on the PopSugar 2019 Reading Challenge.
So, I’m seeing the error of my ways in reviewing the second book in a series of four or more. (Rick Riordan hasn’t finished the series yet.) How much will I spoil Book 1 if I talk about Book 2? And honestly, for me, Mr. Riordan’s stories all run into one long tale once I’ve read the series. (And yes, I read Book 3.) How much of Book 1’s story can I sum up and add Book 2 and not have a ten-paragraph review?
It’s anyone’s guess. Here goes…
I love a Rick Riordan book. Yes, I’m over 40 reading teen fiction, but seriously, that guy can spin a tale. He is a master of pacing and story, characters and humor. I know every time I grab one of his novels, I’m in for a good ride. The Dark Prophesy was no exception.
Except, I didn’t love it as much as the first book in the series. Yes, we went on a wild, riotous ride with a non-godlike Apollo (Zeus punishes him for things that happened in an earlier Riordan book and removes all his powers, turning him into a teenage boy). But… even though Apollo is a hysterical, comical blundering fool, I don’t love him. There’s something about the character of Apollo that doesn’t sit as well with me.
Riordan is a genius, throwing a popular trope on its ear. Here the Chosen One trope (like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson) becomes the Unchosen One and we get a redemption story. I do enjoy a redemption tale, but I don’t know that I want Apollo redeemed! Uh, oh, that’s a problem. He’s such a dick half the time. He tries, but he continues to fall back on the arrogance and self-importance. And that rubs me the wrong way.
It’s not that the character isn’t set up to suffer trials and undergo hardships, to change his world perspective, to become humble and actually make friends. He does all that and more. He learns about others and self, power and abuse. But he’s still Apollo, in the end, an arrogant son of a gun who belittles those around him.
The book is funny, damn funny. The characters are amazing. (I have a huge soft spot for Leo.) And the action is well-written, nail-biting, and fast paced. I mean, who doesn’t love a sports-themed battle (the Naming Ceremony rehearsal) with combat ostriches and a pissed-off elephant. But, sadly, Apollo will never be the hero of my heart.
I rate the book 4 Combat Ostriches.

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