Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Summary: “The god Apollo, cast down to earth and trapped in the form of a gawky teenage boy as punishment, must set off on the second of his harrowing (and hilarious) trials. He and his companions seek the ancient oracles – restoring them is the only way for Apollo to reclaim his place on Mount Olympus – but this is easier said than done. Somewhere in the American Midwest is a haunted cave that may hold answers for Apollo in his quest to become a god again…if it doesn’t kill him or drive him insane first.
Standing in Apollo’s way is the second member of the evil Triumvirate – a Roman emperor whose love of bloodshed and spectacle makes even Nero look tame. To survive the encounter, Apollo will need the help of a now-mortal goddess, a bronze dragon, and some familiar demigod faces from Camp Half-Blood. With them by his side, can Apollo face down the greatest challenge of his 4,000 years of existence?” (Summary found on Goodreads).
Honestly, this was super disappointing. Anyone who knows me knows I love Rick Riordan’s books. They’re filled with much needed diversity, exciting plots, and hilarious banter. They’re children’s books at heart, but great for every age. This is the first Riordan book I recall disliking (correction: I hated The Lightning Thief when I was eight and then I reread it and loved it–I’m terrible). Obviously I liked it enough to give it three stars, but this was seriously disappointing.
I will say one thing: I’ve never been a fan of Riordan’s writing style. It feels immature and cheesy. Not to mention, he spends half the time talking to the reader in nearly every book I’ve read of his. I honestly despise this style of writing because it leaves too many marks of authorship. I can’t get lost if I’m constantly being reminded that I’m holding a book. For the most part, I can get past this qualm with the writing style because I love his characters, I love the humor, and I love the plot.
The writing style isn’t the problem with The Dark Prophecy. Obviously, it’s a factor in the rating drop, but it wasn’t the key factor. Personally, it was the plot that caused the plummet in rating. Where was it? I searched everywhere for plot, but couldn’t find it. The plot is nothing like that of The Hidden Oracle. I knew this would take off from Camp Half-Blood, but it took off in a direction I hadn’t hoped for. Most of the book was spent searching for a kid I had no personal care for. It would have greatly benefited Riordan to show more than purely the effects of the disappearance, such as introducing the character earlier so we would get a gist of the character–become attached. I was not attached. And as a result, I did not care nor was I involved.
Some of the jokes lost their humor as well. Maybe I’m getting too old for his books, but I didn’t find them all that funny. In his past books, I can usually find multiples that make me laugh out loud or at least chuckle inwardly. Cue the sound of crickets because there was no laughter here.
So what did cause me to give it any stars at all?
Without spoilers, that thing on the very last page was pretty exciting. If that was a marketing tool to get me to buy the next book when it comes out, it probably worked.
Then, also without spoilers, that seen with Meg toward the ending when Apollo was in her head. That was tragic. It gave me so many emotions and trust me, I don’t usually get emotions that often. Ugh, that was literally the best part of this entire book; it was moving and emotional and AH.
“It’s not how long you live that matters. It’s what you live for.”
Other than those two things, I found Apollo’s character development to be really strong and still found that usual Rick Riordan charm in there. But overall, it was extremely underwhelming and I wish I borrowed it from the library instead of purchased it…