Apollo’s Trials Trumped by Gay Romance

Kate Ginley, Opinion Editor

As his most LGBTQ+ friendly young adult novel so far, Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo has set the bar for both humor and sexual acceptance. Narrated from the Greek god Apollo’s point of view, the story is a surprising contrast to the traditional mythological cannon.

Though the book mostly focuses on Apollo, the love story between Nico Di Angelo and Will Solace is a highlight. In the precursor series to Trials of Apollo, The Heroes of Olympus, the two get off to a rather shaky start when the Greek Camp Half-Blood is attacked by the Roman Camp Jupiter. In Trials of Apollo, it is confirmed that over the 6 months between the 2 books, the boys have been dating.

Far from a cliché love story, Will and Nico have the best fictional relationship of all. As they constantly bicker, their true feelings for each other are evident by the way they push one another’s buttons.  For instance, when Will tries to introduce Nico as his boyfriend but asks if he would prefer “significant other,”  Nico replies, “I’d prefer significant annoyance in your case.”

Though Riordan’s world of Greek Olympians is fading, I’m glad that this last installment serves to close loose ends. Unfortunately, the book does focus on Will and Nico, but instead follows Apollo, master of “normal.” Apollo’s greatest challenge: acne.

Though he hopes everyone will fall for his looks, poetry and music, Apollo can barely make friends due to his weak social skills. As a god, Apollo is able to get whatever he wants, whenever he wants, but as a teenage human, the only thing he can successfully manage to do is annoy fellow campers by being a Kardashian-level drama queen.

A new addition to the Half-Blood team is a young girl named Meg, who has a strange power over fruits. As a daughter of Demeter, her primary battle tactic is throwing fruit, which seems pretty useless in a fight.

The antagonist of the tale is unclear. Unnamed villains contribute to Apollo’s punishment by tricking his son, Octavian, in The Blood of Olympus. They also send men to beat Apollo up in New York as the book’s opening scene. Unexpectedly, Apollo quickly changes from being egocentric to willing to do whatever is necessary to save his kidnapped children.

Though I would rather have the book more centered on Nico and Will after all of their hardships, the point of view of a god is entertaining, even if it is a bit childish at times. The plot is predictable, but if you’re an avid Percy Jackson fan, I recommend it.