Publisher's Note:  

How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disoriented, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus's favor.

But Apollo has many enemies-gods, monsters, and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

The Trials of Apollo, Book One: The Hidden Oracle

by Rick Riordan

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Overall Review:  

The Trials of Apollo, Book One: The Hidden Oracle is written from the first person point of view of Apollo.  Being unhappy in his current status, he does a lot of reminiscing of past times.  Trying to be witty, he is really quite self-centered.  However, he has a few promising moments where he seems to change his way of thinking and learns to care about others.  The book moves along fairly well but drags in a few parts.  There are some great moments of suspense though and sometimes it's just good to see the bad guys get caught. 

The main characters are well defined and several other characters from Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books are mentioned and pop up throughout the story.  It's good to keep up with old "friends"; however, it would not be essential to read the other books first as this one stands on its own well, filling in the blanks when necessary.  The author has done a respectable job of making the mortals good role models for young people.  They still have their ups and downs, petty differences and sometimes struggle with what's required of them, but overall, they are teens who are learning to be men and women of integrity and persistence.  In the end, they are there for each other, ready to swing a sword or cheer for their fellow demigod.

Rick Riordan does a good job of using the storyline to introduce the reader to many of the Greek gods.  However, be aware that Greek mythology is full of some dark characters with skeptical morals.  They tend to live lives without thought of mortals and their actions push past the limits of acceptable because they are done without accountability.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  Man fell from a very high place, only minor injuries mentioned; teen boy beaten-up by 2 men, multiple pages, small amount of blood mentioned; evil spirits intent on killing 3 teens, multiple pages, creepy; mythical spirit appears and defends pre-teen girl, eats evil spirits, beats up 2 teen boys, willing to kill to protect pre-teen girl, no blood, spirit pops up throughout book; brief mention of Greek god whose invention destroys cities; multiple page mini-battle, swords used in defense but don't draw blood; mention of Greek goddess who destroys mankind through pestilence & famine; mention of Greek goddess who destroys cities because of arguments; mention of supposed false rumors of a Greek god who flayed a mythical animal alive, no descriptions and no blood; mention of a human sacrifice in the Aztec days, no details; deadly race through an area intent on killing characters, multiple pages with broken bones, leg cut off, shrapnel and blood but no gory details, multiple pages long; mention of Greek god slaying the sons of another god, no bloody details; an evil man who talks of burning past enemies; a fictional creepy evil beast with breath that kills; 5 teens go missing in the woods; a dad got killed because he wouldn't work for an evil man; mention of a Greek god who attempted poisoning by feeding his chopped-up son in a stew; mention of Romans massacred by Greek gods; mention of a husband who was killed by his Greek god wife because he did a human sacrifice; teen places explosives around his home to protect it; pre-teen is armed with weapons and uses them to protect herself; mention of a fictional giant who spit acid and attacked an army; giant bugs the size of bears attack with intent to kill even when unprovoked, mentioned multiple times; multiple battles with giant bugs, brief details of battles, death by arrows & swords, & legs chopped off, no blood but some gore; pre-teen girl carried off by giant bugs with intent to be killed, brief details that are gross; bug boiled in geyser, mention of smell; mention of Greek god who swallowed his children alive; a giant bug is pregnant, mention of swirling larvae visible through bug's skin; mention of Christians burned alive centuries ago; mention that a historical figure fed Christians to the lions and burned them as human torches at a lawn party, mention of screams but no other details; mention by historical figure that is fictionally still alive that Christians are terrorists; mention of a Greek god who was killed by a head injury inflicted by another Greek god because of jealousy, blood and emotion mentioned; mention of a Greek god who caused an earthquake that destroyed a historical nation; 5 teens & 1 fictional man held captive, drugged and prepared to burn to death, multiple pages, some details; teen slips on a pile of human bones; mention of a fictional Greek cannibal king; teen battles and beats up 2 men, no death or blood; attempted murder of several people & fictional spirits by fire; fictional spirits sacrifice themselves to save others, brief details of burned bodies, no mention of blood; battle with giant, several pages long, details of weapons to the body and head being blown off, no blood or gory details; teen girl's hand is cut, mention of dripping blood; menacing fictional beast get s a pointy thing stuck in his forehead, no blood or gory details; teen boy forced but willing takes punches to his upper arm, no permanent or emotional damage, multiple pages.

Sex/Nudity:  Homosexual romance, hand holding, no other details, mentioned multiple times; brief mention by a man of seeing a man naked, no details, non-sexual; character talks at length of lost love, both male and female; a teen boy is seen without his pants but with boxers on, non-sexual; mention of a fully naked statue, no details of body parts.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Greek & Roman gods, evil spirits, population control by disease, death of populations by fictional angry gods, death of a parent, oracles, tarot cards, demi-gods, fictional gods with loose morals, homosexuality, human sacrifices, historical Christian death and persecution, terrorism (Christians), murder, evil, missing persons, parental abandonment of children.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Characters drugged.

Reviewed By Beth
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