Spoilers for all the previous Rick Riordan books from here on out, y’all.
It’s been years since I looked forward to a book as much as I looked forward to the new Rick Riordan book The Hidden Oracle. It’s the debut novel of a new series in Riordan’s mythology-themed universe called The Trials of Apollo, and as soon as it was announced I was immediately hyped. This wasn’t just because a new book in my favorite ongoing universe was out, although that played a part. It was because the most notable son of Apollo at Camp Half-Blood, Will Solace, is gay, and I was certain he would be the protagonist. Apollo was cast out of Olympus at the end of the last series, and I figured the Trials in question would be Will and his boyfriend and their friends going on a quest to redeem him.
I was totally wrong on that count, but I quickly overcame the disappointment of not having Will and my all-time favorite character Nico front and center. You see, it turns out that after Apollo was thrown out from Olympus and godhood, he’s stuck, sans powers and most of his memories, into the form of a mortal sixteen-year-old boy, and he is the protagonist of this book. And since Riordan followed mythology’s lead and kept Apollo interested in men and women, that meant that The Hidden Oracle, a book aimed at upper middle grade readers, has a bisexual protagonist.
Ever since I finished my reread of the Percy Jackson books, I’ve been thinking about the way modern fantasy writers pull World War II into their magical settings. There’s an ongoing cultural fascination with this particular war, possibly because it’s the last major world conflict that we can paint as having obvious good and bad guys, but the way it’s utilized in fiction doesn’t always work or make sense.
Writers like to add some sort of magical twist into the real historical war, whether it’s giving hitherto unknown powers to actual historical figures, or running a parallel magical conflict alongside the non-magical one. Some of them do so in a meaningful way that does justice to the actual history they’re using; others, not as much.
I’ve been writing about Rick Riordan a lot recently, if you haven’t noticed, but I promise this is the last post for… a while. After all, Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer doesn’t come out until October. Anyway, I just finished The Kane Chronicles, Riordan’s Egyptian mythology-based trilogy, last weekend, and while I have high expectations from his books to begin with, I was still pleasantly surprised by this series.
It’s been years since I first read the first quintet of Percy Jackson books. (I still haven’t read the second.) I’ve been meaning to reread them for ages, though, and since I had a long weekend off work with no actual plans for the first time in… forever last weekend, I decided it was the perfect time to get cozy with a book or five.
Can you believe The Lightning Thief turned ten years old this year?
A while ago Stinekey wrote a post about people who call themselves spiritual, but not religious. What people generally mean by this is that they do believe in a “something more”, but they’re not attached to a specific religious belief system. While pondering a topic for my own post I considered that the opposite, things that are religious but not spiritual, are also a common feature in media.
What do I mean by that? Well, I mean that different forms of media often use religious figures in their stories without showing any spiritual aspect of said religion. And while I think this happens across faiths, a lot of pagan pantheons get this short shrift more often, probably because the general public doesn’t usually think of Greek or Egyptian or Norse deities as being worshiped in the modern day.