This post is dedicated to victims of the Orlando shooting and those personally affected by it. Wherever you are- you are not alone. Know that we are all by your side, and that we are all fighting together to counteract the negative effects of this tragic event. We love you.
I finished reading The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan this week, and I have to say that I loved it.
First, a digression. I’m surprised that the story line of the new and incapable heroes rushing off to save the world over and over doesn’t get trite. Maximum Ride tried that too, and look what happened- I can’t read it anymore. Somehow, Percy Jackson and his coterie manage to save everyone in epic duels of doom- and still be fresh and funny and surprising.
Rick Riordan’s books, despite involving a LOT of magic and monsters and other things that don’t happen to normal teenagers, relate to today’s youth. They’re sarcastic and silly, sweet and intelligent and explosive.
The basic storyline: Apollo has been cast from Olympus by his father, Zeus, because one of his misguided progeny ‘accidentally’ sparked a war between the gods. He takes the guise of a mortal by the name of Lester (who is a normal teenage boy- no godly power) and gets jumped in his first five minutes of mortality. He is- surprise!- defended by a twelve year old girl dressed like a traffic light, who decides that she would like to have a god indebted to her.
Our intrepid heroes make their way to Camp Half-Blood with the assistance of everyone’s favorite snark machine, Perseus Jackson himself. Meg, our traffic light/female heroine, is claimed as a Demeter kid- not so great, considering the way things are going. Kids are disappearing in the woods, and no one knows what’s happened to them. To top it all off, the Oracle of Delphi has gone silent. Can Apollo and Meg (and Peaches the karpos) save the missing kids and solve the mystery of the oracle?
Now, my favorite parts were the NicoXWill parts. Solangelo makes me very happy, and I also managed to appreciate that the two of them are literally light and darkness, day and night, life and death. They’re an adorable couple.
But truly the best thing? The fact that we have these gay and bisexual characters who aren’t angsty about it, who are happy being the way they are, and who no one bats an eyelash at.
I’m not saying that we don’t have enough LGBTQ+ characters in the YA literary world, even though we don’t. When we do, however, they’re depressed and awkward about it and they have difficulty coming to terms with themselves (except for Tiny Cooper in Will Grayson, Will Grayson- he rocks).
That’s why this book made me so happy. There was no judging, no eye-rolling, no lip-curling or awkward whispering. Everyone is good with everyone else and their sexual identities.
Rick Riordan has managed to spectacularly capture the reality of teens with magic, monsters, snark, and LGBTQ+ sensitivity, and that makes me proud that we can do that as a literary community.