Dear Rick Riordan,
I reviewed the first book in this series here, and I enjoyed this story as well, but looking through the review of the first one I realized just how much harder it will be to write this review without the spoilers because I think I actually did a pretty decent job keeping the first review really vague and I really need to refer to the certain plot points to at least give you an idea about what was happening to temporarily – turned – mortal again Apollo in this part of his adventure.
To make a long story short please expect spoilers from the first book even if I will try hard to avoid a lot of them. At the end of the last book we left Apollo aka Lester with Leo and Callypso and they were going to take care of the problem that was affecting Oracles.
In the beginning of the book we catch up with them in Indiana where they run into problems almost right away.
This is how the book begins and yes, the descriptions of all chapters at the beginning elicited either a giggle or at least a smile from me.
Lester (Apollo) Still human; thanks for asking Gods, I hate my life
WHEN OUR DRAGON declared war on Indiana, I knew it was going to be a bad day."
Of course Leo’s mechanical dragon was not their real problem. Instead very soon our heroes are attacked by creatures called blemmyae and find themselves in the middle of the very dangerous situation. They are helped by mystery woman and that mystery woman takes them to Waystation to recuperate after battle.
"A shrill whistle caught my attention. In the middle of the plaza, standing atop the fountain, a woman crouched in faded jeans and a silvery winter coat. A white birch bow gleamed in her hand. On her back, a quiver bristled with arrows. My heart leaped, thinking that my sister Artemis had come to help me at last! But no… this woman was at least sixty years old, her gray hair tied back in a bun. Artemis would never appear in such a form. For reasons she had never shared with me, Artemis had an aversion to looking any older than, say, twenty. I’d told her countless times that beauty was ageless. All the Olympian fashion magazines will tell you that four thousand is the new one thousand, but she simply wouldn’t listen.
The gray-haired woman shouted, “Hit the pavement!” All around the plaza, manhole-size circles appeared in the asphalt. Each one scissored open like the iris of a camera and turrets sprang up—mechanical crossbows swiveling and sweeping red targeting lasers in every direction. The blemmyae didn’t try to take cover. Perhaps they didn’t understand. Perhaps they were waiting for the gray-haired woman to say please."
It turns out that mystery woman is not such a mystery to Apollo. At first we learn that her name is Emmie and she and her beloved Josie aka Josephine used to belong to Artemis’ Hunters. They left Hunters some time ago because they were in love and they built the Waystation which in the recent years became sort of refuge to magical runaways and other beings that needed help and needed saving from Triumvirate. Those who read the first book know that Triumvirate consists of Three Roman Emperors who are trying to get all the power and to destroy the Gods and Demigods and god only knows what other evil things they planned.
While being the guest of Emmie and Josie, Apollo and his friends are being given a new quest by a certain Goddess; they also help former Hunters with their personal issue, even if the personal issue ends up being quite important for Apollo as well.
I think the author is doing a nice job with Apollo’s character growth. When I wrote the review of the first book I mentioned that I liked how Apollo while retaining his vain and selfish self, also becoming capable of some selfless thoughts and even does selfless deed or two. The second book continued the trend. Opinions may differ of course, but I think he moved even further towards being able to not only help the friend because it is a part of the quest but also because he wants to do it.
The story is full of action and Apollo’s voice was as snarky as ever and I thought that the book ended at okay place in order for me not to consider the ending a bloody cliffhanger. Although the story is very far from over , after all it is only a second book.