Dragons, Zombies and Aliens:
I actually finished Rick Riordan’s The Dark Prophecy a while ago, but thanks to starting my “real” job as a PCA and moving into a new apartment, I haven’t been able to blog about it until now. It sucks because it’s a darn good book and I’ve wanted to geek out about it for weeks now, but I couldn’t because the only other Percy Jackson fans I have regular contact with haven’t read this damn series yet!
For those who may be unfamiliar with The Trials of Apollo series, there will be spoilers for book one. Not for The Dark Prophecy, but definitely book one. Flee this website now, mortal. Save yourself!
Are they gone? Good.
For those of you who have read Hidden Oracle but can’t remember much, here’s a quick recap: Apollo is de-godified and turned into a sixteen-year-old by Zeus for his screw-up in The Heroes of Olympus series. Because of Apollo’s negligence, the super-evil snake-monster Python got out and got his hands on the Oracle of Delphi, cutting off everyone’s access to prophecies. Apollo met twelve-year-old Meg, daughter of Demeter (and seriously, it’s so cool to have such a BAMF demigod child of friggin’ Demeter). She claimed his service while he’s mortal, so they’re stuck together. The big bad guys of this series are the Triumvirate. In Hidden Oracle, we learned that one of them is Nero, one of the worst emperors in Roman history. He’s also Meg’s stepdad. The book ended with Meg running after Nero, Apollo feeling depressed, and the return of Leo and Calypso on Festus the dragon.
Moving on: The Dark Prophecy takes place six weeks after the fact, in Illinois, where all the monsters are super polite as they’re trying to kill you. Speaking as a Minnesotan: Riordan’s exaggerated depiction of overly-polite Midwesterners...is not much of an exaggeration. We’re not potato-shaped monsters with fake heads and faces on our chests, but other than that, there aren’t many differences.
We meet another member of the Triumvirate in this book, one Apollo has a personal connection to: he not only dated our latest villain, he’s also the one who killed him. Apollo is quasi-responsible for the death of his ancient son’s half-brother as well, since he refused to answer their prayers of distress when they were caught stealing from a king. This is an arguably responsible action to take, and his defense is that a person should pray for wisdom and help before they do something stupid, rather than ask for a cop-out when they’re in trouble.
Any way you look at it, we see more layers of grey in Apollo in this book. In Hidden Oracle, I felt bad for him. Sure, he screwed up, but since he’s the god of prophecy among many other things, just take away his domain over the Oracles and give it to someone who annoys him, like Artemis.
After The Dark Prophecy, I think I agree more with Zeus’s judgement (and wow, that is a sentence I thought I’d never have to say). I still like the narcissistic little shit and want to see him succeed, but I’m okay with seeing him punished some more. So long as that punishment doesn’t extend to the people around him. Which it probably will. Dammit.
Calypso was a disappointing character. I had hoped the ex-sorceress would do more than get hurt, throw away nets, and complain about her lack of magic and the boys around her. We learned that she’s slowly regaining her powers, though, so with any luck she’ll return and be much more impressive (and useful) in the next three books.
Meg made up for Calypso’s DID-ing (Damsel in Distress). I won’t give away any spoilers, since when we last saw her in Hidden Oracle she’d just betrayed Apollo and left with her evil stepfather Nero. She returns in The Dark Prophecy with even more sass and Demeter badassery. We also get more of her backstory, including her struggles in the abusive relationship she has with Nero. Riordan handles this delicate issue with his usual grace and tact.
Speaking of which, he’s really diving into the LGBTQ area. We see more of Apollo’s bisexuality, in regards to the villain (I say again: dated him before killing him) and a new character, who may or may not be descended from an African deity. Because we’re getting into that now, too. There’s also a set of same-sex parents whose adopted daughter is AWOL. One mother is an ex-Hunter of Artemis, and the other is a gadget-gal and probably Leo’s soulmate.
All in all, it’s an excellent book. And I can’t wait for the next three to come out!
Get your copy of The Dark Prophecy at...
If anyone is in Minnesota this weekend, you should stop by CONvergence in Bloomington! The theme this year is space opera: “To Infinity and Beyond!” I’ll be speaking on the “New Hollywood Tropes” panel on Sunday at 3:30pm. I’d love to see you there!
What were your thoughts on The Dark Prophecy? Comment below!
The first Dragons, Zombies and Aliens blog was started in 2015. Somewhere between college coursework, paying rent with door-to-door sales, and keeping up with my sorority sisters, I wrote reviews, rants and commentaries on books, TV shows, and movies. Now, this blog has moved, improved, and the sky's the limit!