This one was better than the first book. Let me just start with that. I already loved The Hidden Oracle – Apollo is an amazing narrator and how could I not be happy with an openly bisexual protagonist in a children’s fantasy book? The haikus for chapter titles continue in The Dark Prophecy, which is another thing I love. They perfectly show Rick Riordan’s deadpan and occasionally absurd humour. This book also contained more lesser known monsters and deities from Greek mythology, which is always a plus for a mythology nerd like me – though it also makes me faintly jealous of Rick Riordan’s knowledge – I’ll just have to remind myself that he must have done alot of research. And of course we have some familiar faces from previous books set in the Percy Jackson universe, as well as a few incredible characters. For example -minor spoiler- an old lesbian couple, who left the Hunters of Artemis to be together, and their adopted daughter.
What made this book top the previous one, though, was Apollo’s character arc. In The Hidden Oracle we found out about this series’ set of main villains – a Triumvirate of three ancient Roman emperors. The first one was Nero -which I have mixed feelings about, but one can deny he was far – very far from perfect. And in this book, we meet the second. I’m not going to say who, though you do find out about that rather quickly. He is a very interesting villain, however, mostly because of his past relationship with Apollo. Again, no spoilers from me, but let’s say it’s complicated, And rather dark, darker than I had come to expect from Rick Riordan. But I love it. Chapter 19 contains a memory of Apollo that gave me chills.
By now, it’s obvious that mortality has changed Apollo as a person, and I wonder how that’s going to play out in the rest of this series. I admire how Rick Riordan has found a way to combine a teen angst and more adult problems through a main character that is simultaneously an immortal god and a spotty teenager. Because of that, this series has an appeal for all ages.