Monday, May 21, 2018
The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo #3) by Rick Riordan
Apollo as the mortal, Lester Papadopoulos, is anything but godly with his acne skin and soft body. His 12-year-old companion, Meg, controls him through a curse and marches to her own beat picking her nose and wearing bright-colored clothes like a neon sign. This odd couple is endearing and currently continuing their mission to free five Oracles that have been side-lined by evil emperors trying to control Earth. Once Apollo succeeds he will be restored to Olympus as a god with all his powers returned. As time passes he turns more mortal and is losing most of his godly powers. The humor and tone are in the vein of other Riordan books. The introduction of new characters, such as the seven dryads who sound and move like a well-oiled Roman military legion even though they are few in number is a gas. "All Hail Meg!" is their mantra. Riordan's voice for the characters is distinct and well-done.
When the poets wrote about Odysseus, Greek narratives switched from immortal gods to mortal men showing heroes that suffered pain and death but lived life to the fullest creating legends of themselves passed on through generations. Riordan captures this switch in Apollo, an immortal god made mortal and pokes fun at the dysfunctional, self-centered stories about the Greek gods. Apollo is a modern hero in a tragi-comedy learning what it is like to be a human and heroic taught by semi-divine teens and mythical creatures. When he sacrifices himself not once but twice for his friends, he ends up being more human in this book than the previous ones. While before he only cared deeply for Meg, he is now learning to care for others.