“Riordan’s characters continue to be an impressively diverse group. . . . This latest has Riordan’s signature wry narration, nonstop action, and mythology brought to life. A must-buy. . .”

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

Lester Papadopoulos aka Apollo flies into Indianapolis on a winged dragon – mechanical – with Leo Valdez and Calypso, respectively a demi god and a nymph. They are on their quest from their previous adventure, The Lost Oracle, looking for Meg Cafferty who has gone missing. Rick Riordan continues with his mix of myth and normal teen life, though Apollo in this book remembers his bisexual encounters which makes the reading more for older teens.

Lester-Apollo and his friends run into a plethora of characters from myth and history, including the maniac Emperor Commodus who happened to be a boyfriend of Apollo’s and who is now on the brink of renaming Indianapolis in his honour celebrated by a Roman orgy of slaughter in the stadium. For modern kids this will definitely evoke Hunger Games with a cast of brave young people confronted by grim odd with slim chances of survival. The last battle is almost a given from CS Lewis down to JK Rowling and Riordan throws in the right balance of violence to keep today’s violence inured generation intrigued.

Lester-Apollo has help when he needs it though most of the time it’s a cliffhanger kind of scenario and you can never be sure whether help will turn up or not – though given the fact that it’s a  young adults book some kind of happiness is to be expected. Besides you have accessories like a talking arrow from the oracle at Dodoma which happens to talk bad Elizabethan English and references to parallel worlds of mythology like Apollo and Indra going divine elephant back to look for vindaloo.

Riordan pushes all the right buttons where 21st century trends are concerned like the variations of sexuality and the fact that Artemis and her hunters are concerned with habitat loss among mythical beasts. There are digs at teen fashion and a world of puns as well for those inclined. The book is not a standalone – one needs to have read the first of the series to follow the thread, though there are constant references to previous encounters.

Riordan has also realized that his mythological references require a glossary and The Dark Prophecy has a detailed one. Given the fact that another more difficult adventure lies ahead and like a serial the book ends with a departure, Riordan fans will be waiting expectantly for the third in the series.

 

Reviewed by:

Anjana Basu

Added 24th June 2017

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Anjana Basu

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