The Hidden Oracle is an odd book. As a second sequel series to first Percy Jackson and the Olympians and then the Heroes of Olympus, we do get new main characters characters: Apollo, now in mortal form and Meg, surprisingly powerful plant magic demigod with some cool Roman swords. But we also get a number of guest appearances and references to previous characters: especially Percy Jackson himself.
It’s interesting have a setting and characters we can relate to to help ground us in the new series, but on the other hand, if I wanted to read about Percy Jackson, couldn’t I just read his series again? I remember having the same problem with Heroes of Olympus.
That–and I just don’t care that much about Apollo. He spends the entire story whining, making references about all the cool things he’s done, while at the same time not at all feeling like a thousands year old (former) immortal. I get that’s entirely intentional character building, but that doesn’t mean he’s a great character to be around for most of the book.
Meg on the other hand, she’s pretty cool. She has the same downside many of the main characters Riordan writes have–she’s weirdly more powerful than she should be. It’s always explain, but it would be nice to see a ‘standard’ demigod get the spotlight more often. She’s still by far the best part of the book though.
On the other hand, the story itself is pretty cool and we get yet a bit more worldbuilding where I didn’t expect there would be much left to mine. On top of that, we actually get a bit of glue starting to tie everything from the other series together, which wasn’t even something I knew I wanted, but I’m really curious to see where it goes.
Overall, Percy Jackson was and still is the best of the series in my opinion, but if you’re looking for something more in that world… well, you could do far worse.