The Hidden Oracle

I love the relationships you build with characters… But I also hate them.

I love Rick Riordan‘s writing.

Seriously, I love it. I love his style. I love how he creates his characters. I love how his books are not only entertaining, but they teach you about mythology.

But most of all, I love the relationships you build with the characters from the moment you meet them.

However, that’s also the thing I hate most of all.

See, I’ve been reading Rick’s books since middle school and have read all of them by this point. Even The Hidden Oracle, which just came out yesterday. Yes, I’ve already finished it. I read too fast to remember much of the plot (don’t worry, I’ll be re-reading it at a slower pace later), but I do remember multiple details that stood out to me.

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Anyway, after reading all of his books, I have many developed many different relationships with the characters. Some relationships are good. Some not so good. Some started off good, then got not so good.

I was met with many of these relationships while reading The Hidden Oracle, and I feel the need to share my reactions with all of you.

WARNING: The rest of this post WILL include SPOILERS. If you have not read the book yet, DO NOT READ PAST THIS POINT. Thank you.

  • Sally Jackson: Just like with every other PJ fan, Sally Jackson holds a special place in my heart. She’s the perfect person without being overly perfect. She’s kind, intelligent, strong, protective, loving, loyal, and even a bit sassy at times. Not to mention, she’s an amazing cook who can make anything blue, she worked in a candy shop to make a living, she raised a son of Poseidon on her own, and she’s about to publish her first novel!

All we’ve ever wanted was for her to be happy. Now, finally, our prayers have been answers. Because oh my gosh Sally Jackson is pregnant, seven months pregnant, oh my gosh this is the best thing ever and it’s gonna be a girl!!!!!!!!

  • Percy Jackson: His sassiness will forever bring me joy.
  • Annabeth Chase: Haha, Magnus Chase reference! She’s dealing with family business in Boston! Haha, love it!!!
  • Solangelo: Yeah, I’m not separating these two. Literally, the thing I was most excited for in regards to this book was that Solangelo would finally be canon. They’re just so perfect… Honestly, I think I’m a bigger fan of Solangelo than Percabeth, and that is seriously saying something!

By the way, you think we could convince Rick to write a short story featuring Nico and Will at some point after they started dating? Seriously, as much as I loved what I got from The Hidden Oracle, I need more!!!

  • Leo Valdez: And this is where it gets rocky.

So when I first read The Lost Hero, the second I read that first line about Leo, I was completely taken. By the end of the first chapter, I realized I had fallen in love. With a fictional character. Like, seriously? Who falls in love with a fictional character? People can develop crushes, sure, but I was in love! As in, heart skipping beats, butterflies in my stomach, stupid smile on my face, and silly fangirl giggles whenever he was so much as mentioned.

Yeah, I’d fallen hard. I decided Leo was my official boyfriend, even if he wasn’t real. I could pretend, at least until the end of the series. It would be fine. Great, even! And when I found out he would be the seventh wheel, the only one without a girlfriend, I was ecstatic! I wouldn’t even have to contend with anyone!

(At this point, you might be thinking I’m a bit off my rocker. This is very true. Sadly, I have not been admitted to an institute yet.)

And then, Calypso happened. The whole time I was reading that part, my stomach was slowly curling in dread, but my mind kept telling me, no, you don’t need to worry! Every other girl has turned him down! It’ll be fine!

And then she kissed him. And he swore on the River Styx to return for her.

And my heart shattered.

I imagine what I felt is what girls feel like when the guy they’re in love with finds another girl. I imagine what I felt is what Nico felt like when Percy started dating Annabeth. Percy didn’t know Nico liked him, but he still broke Nico’s heart. Leo didn’t know I even existed because he’s fictional, but he still broke my heart.

By the end of the series, I thought I had come to terms with my heartbreak. I thought I was over it. But then, The Hidden Oracle happens and Leo shows up. I had thought that his appearance would be small and short-lived, but no! He comes back and, suddenly, he and stupid, perfect Calypso are going on that stupid quest with Apollo! Like, seriously Rick? Seriously?

Not to mention, they’re coming to Indiana. Seriously, come on! Right when they’re actually coming to me… Why does Calypso have to go? She’s a stupid mortal now, she’ll be useless! Apollo’s one thing, she’s a whole ‘nother thing entirely!

I know I’m being a bit of a brat about this whole thing, but I really hate Calypso now. The stupid, perfect, good-for-nothing…

 

Happy reading!


Picture source: Riordan Wiki

Oh, What a Trope!

A good trope can make your writing. A bad trope can break it. And dancing on that fine line is the best part.

Tropes are basically just clichés. They’re the themes, events, scenes, motifs, and other literary devices that you consistently see in creative works.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking you should stay away from clichés when you’re writing. You’re thinking you should be unique in your writing if you want it to be any good.

One, you can’t completely avoid tropes. It’s impossible. There are just too many. You literally can’t create a single character that isn’t a trope, and there isn’t a single setting that hasn’t already been used.

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And two, you need to get those ideas out of your head right now. Tropes are fantastic. Everyone loves some sort of trope, whether they realize it or not. The question is, which tropes are great, and which tropes are poison?

I’m sorry to say, I can’t answer that question. I can probably tell you what most people like and what most people hate, but at the end of the day, it all depends on what you want to create. Once you know that, everything else comes naturally.

However, what I can do is share with you some of my favorite and least favorite tropes.

Obviously, there are instances where the worst tropes are great and the best tropes are terrible, but those instances are rare. Almost always, my reactions to these tropes are the same. I hate them, or I love them. If you want me to love every second of your story, follow these trope guidelines!

Worst Tropes

  • The Stereotypical Teenage Girl/Guy — In my opinion, stereotypical girls are worse. And I’m not talking about the type of girls from Mean Girls. I’m talking about the characters that act like they have maturity and were obviously written by authors who thought they were awesome, but they aren’t. The main character Cassie in the book The Fifth Wave is this type of character, in my opinion. A lot of people like this person, but I just don’t.
  • Satellite Love Interest — Why would you make a character just so that your main character could have some romance? That’s stupid. One, romance isn’t necessary. And two, at least develop the character to some extent! It’s just so pointless!
  • The Pity Party — You know the characters I’m talking about. The ones who are always focused on their own problems. Sure, they might say they’re focusing on someone else’s problems, but it always comes back to them. And if they’re always getting kidnapped or knocked out, it’s even worse! Though I love Percy Jackson, Jason Grace is a pretty decent example of this. I don’t hate him, but he is so annoying. Seriously. Get over yourself!
  • One Single Among Couples — Why? Why is this a thing? I’m fine if this just so happens to be the reality of the situation, but when you broadcast the fact and make a big deal out of it? Just don’t do it. There are just too many examples for me to identify just one.
  • Deus Ex Machina — If you don’t hate this one, something is wrong with you. In real life, problems don’t suddenly solve themselves. They shouldn’t in books, either. It’s annoying and unsatisfying. Don’t do it. Let your characters search for a solution. Don’t just give it to them!

Best Tropes

  • Misunderstood Loner With a Heart of Gold — Number one example? Nico di Angelo. Enough said.
  • Super Best Friends — These are the characters of the same gender that are so close, any separation between them makes you want to cry. They’re always together and have a special relationship that reminds you of an old married couple and super-close siblings, both at the same time. Sadly, you know they’ll never be together because, guess what? They’re both heterosexual. At least, as far as you know. It’s just so perfect, it makes me want to cry every time…
  • Indy Ploy — When used right, this can be pretty much he best trope ever. I really don’t like planning ahead too much because it never quite works out. Improvisation usually turns out quite a bit more commical. It’s much more fun to watch characters create a plan on the spot then watch them put one togehter.
  • Knight in Sour Armor — These characters are awesome. Basically, they’re not fighting for a better world. They don’t pretend that everything is sunshines and rainbows. They know they live in a dark, stupid world, but they still choose to fight for it. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. They know they won’t make a difference, but that doesn’t matter to them. As long as they’re doing what’s right.
  • Protective Sibling — Actually, this one isn’t only for siblings, though it often is. This trope is where you have one character that’s super protective over another. Usually, it’s the older sibling protecting the younger, or the stronger character protecting the weaker, or the more stoic character protecting the more innocent. Whatever it is, it’s super cute and I love it! Best example: Big Hero 6.
  • Let the Pain Begin — Maybe I just have an evil mind, but watching my favorite characters get hurt and struggle to survive brings me tremendous glee. There’s a perfect example in the book version of The Scorch Trials, but I won’t say what because it’s a slight spoiler. If you’ve read it… You know what I mean (Wink wink).

Obviously I didn’t include too many tropes. If I had included any more, this would have gone on forever…

If you want to look through the majority of the tropes that exist, tvtropes is the best place to go. It’s basically a giant database of tropes from all forms of media (not just TV, surprisingly enough). You can look for a specific trope or story/media, or the site can find you a random trope or story/media. It’s super fun and super cool, and it can really help develop your story if you find a good trope.

Anyway, I hope this showed you the importance of choosing tropes! They really can make or break a story. Be careful and choose wisely…

But don’t be afraid to test the waters of how far you can go. The best stories are made up of tropes that you usually hate, but somehow became amazing because they were used the right way.

Good luck! May the tropes be ever in your favor…


 

Picture source: River City Reading

Flawed Characters

Why the characters of Percy Jackson will forever live in our hearts. *spoilers*

Nobody’s perfect.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s a sad (and amazingly beautiful) truth of life. Everyone is flawed in some way, usually in dozens of ways, and fictional characters are no exception.

In fact, a character’s flaws are the reason we love them so much.

The characters from the world of Percy Jackson are my favorite examples of flawed characters. Save a few of the characters who continuously try to ignore their flaws (Jason, Piper… You know the type), they’re all so imperfect that you can’t help but love them.

One of the most obvious examples of this: Percy Jackson.

Though Percy grows quite a bit over both series set in his world, he never really grows out of his “I never really know what’s going on so I’m just going to be sarcastic and sassy about it” faze. He’s a complete idiot and cares more about the safety of others than his own personal health. He’s looked up to by everyone, yet he always steps out of the spotlight and acts like he’s completely normal.

And, of course, he’s completely oblivious.

You gotta love the guy.

But he’s not the only one. Here’s another guy you gotta love: Leo Valdez.

Before I start, I’m just going to get this out there: ever since the fist moment Leo was introduced, I was head-over-heels for the guy. I swear I’ve never had a bigger crush on anyone, ever. My friends called my crazy, said he was annoying, but I thought he was amazing. He was sarcastic and funny, always looking for the positive in every situation, and they way I imagined him was downright hot.

But that wasn’t why I liked him. I liked him because, from the very beginning, I knew he was different from the other characters. His smile was too bright to be real, his humor too common to be careless. I knew he was hiding something, and before the books even told us, I knew what. I knew he was hiding his pain, his sadness, his guilt. I knew he was hiding his hurt and longing.

I knew, because he reminded me of myself.

His flaws were so real and so understandable that my heart went straigt to him and stayed with him. And when he fell for Calypso, I felt true heartbreak for the first time in my life.

People say you can’t truely love fictional characters?

Those people are liars. You can. And they can hurt just like any real person.

Anyway, enough about that. You don’t want to know about my heartbreak. You want to know about the last flawed character I’m going to discuss: Nico Di Angelo.

Nico may possibly be one of the greatest characters ever created. He’s introduced as a supporting character, a character you expect never to see again. Then his sister dies, and you know you’re wrong.

Everything about him is flawed, and that’s why we love him so much. He’s the youngest physically, but the oldest in every other sense. He starts off only wanting revenge, then he decides otherwise and ends up playing a huge part in every victory. Yet he never feels like he can fit in, so remains a loner.

Then you find out he’s gay and had a crush on Percy, and your love for him is increased tenfold.

And that’s not all. He started off wanting revenge, but he ends up only wanting to help, even if it means losing himself to the darkness.

And if that’s not enough, he understands death in a way no one will ever understand and has to let people die when he could have saved them.

Oh yeah. You gotta love the angel.

And this is why the Percy Jackson world is the best place to find flawed characters.

(On a side note, please don’t copyright me on any of these piectures. I just like them a lot more than the official ones and can’t find the artists. If you are one of the artists or know one of the artists, would you please let me know so I can give you credit?)