September 30, 2023
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The Golden Apple
Book Reviews Fantasy Teens

Mika Mathews’s The Golden Apple (The Oaths of Dante#2): A Lore of Love and Lies

Author: Mika Mathews

Genre: Fantasy

Year Published: 2023

Nerdection Rating:

“Nerdection Must Read”

We have exciting news for Greek mythology lovers! Mika Mathew’s The Golden Apple, the second installment of The Oaths of Dante series, Is now available for you to read. It’s a superb coming of age story that’s richly blended with fantasy and mythology. Fans of the Percy Jackson series are bound to enjoy this epic tale for middle-grade and teen readers.

Spoiler Free Plot of The Golden Apple 

That which is destroyed by the gods… is fated to be saved by a mortal kid.

After escaping death twice now, Dante finds himself stuck as a werewolf. He’s not entirely happy with his new form. As the ambassador of Hecate, the goddess of magic and witchcraft, it is his destiny to negotiate peace with the gods. He will also have to heal the entire apocalyptic world as a promise to Gaia, the goddess of earth. And being in his lupine form isn’t making things any easier.

The only respite he has is the company of his long lost mother and his best friend Christopher. Soon though, Pandora, one of the First Mothers, finds Dante and entrusts him a task: find the Golden Apple of Hera and bring it to Gaia. Only then will he be able to fulfill his oath of saving the earth.

However, a tangle of betrayals and politics awaits Dante, as each of the gods plans to use his magical talents to their advantage. With the burden of oaths to so many goddesses lying heavily on Dante, will he be able to complete his new quest? Especially now, when he will find the fate of even more magical beings resting on his shoulders?

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My take on The Golden Apple

The second installment of The Oaths of Dante series started right off from where it ended, with no time wasted on lengthy recaps. 

Amazingly, I found The Golden Apple to be even more superior than its prequel, The Silver Coin, both in its world-building and character development. 

The world building was exquisite and the intricate plot was executed expertly — no lengthy descriptions or monotonous monologues whatsoever — in fact, the golden apple was more of a fast-paced, action-packed book than its counterpart, The Silver Coin, which focused more on the mythological plot setting and Dante’s mastering of magic.

It is the boundary of Sky, Earth, Ocean, and Underworld, all melded into a singular place. It is a nexus point, the nexus point actually. It is why Gaia could create the Golden Apple Tree, only that powerful blending of energies could allow her to create something that potent, giving her greater reach.

What most pleased me in this book was the growth of Dante and his acceptance of himself. In The Silver Coin, Dante was still recovering from the physical abuse laid upon him by his father. However, you get to read about Dante’s internal growth in The Golden Apple. He matured so much as an individual, it made me proud of him. He held incredibly powerful magic and despite his destined role as the world-saver, his character was flawed just to the right degree, so that he never ended up being a Gary Stu. 

You’ve been a victim and a hero. You have magic, but you are not ruled by it. You are wise and soulful, and filled with more love and hate than most

I was also impressed by how Mathew naturally handled the topic of self-love and depression despite this being a Greek mythology fantasy. I found his words to be soothing and lyrical, and I‘m sure they will literally give you goosebumps when reading this amazing masterpiece.

Fear has always been and always will be, my power. Seeing what it did, saving me and setting me on the path to freedom, that… that was the first time I ever had power, I made myself matter by choosing to matter… and damn it, I choose to embrace that.

Interwoven with feelings of love, friendship, and deep angst, The Golden Apple features an intricate plot and brilliantly relatable characters you could easily connect with emotionally. There is also some romance but it doesn’t foreshadow the main plot. 

Another thing I quite enjoyed was the politics and rivalry between the gods and the First Mothers, and how each of them wanted to exploit Dante’s newfound magical powers to their own machinations. Though their intentions were not exactly evil, I still felt a little bad for Dante being used as a mere tool. And I might just be hating Mathew a little for what he did at the end, I do hope Dante, Christopher, and their team get some relief after all the trials!

On the whole, I pleasantly enjoyed the second installment of The Oaths of Dante series and am highly anticipating the release of the third book now! With a range of loveable characters, strong female protagonists, and enlivened with angsty Greek mythology, The Golden Apple will leave you yearning for more.

Content Triggers

Some cursing, no adult content, however, some LGBTQ content is present. I’d recommend it for ages 12 and above.

About The Author Of The Golden Apple

Mika Mathews

Originally a fanfiction writer, the award winning Mika Mathews used the experience he gained and started to craft his own stories involving magic and mythology. Through years of writing and reading obsessively, he has crafted a unique style that aims to be free from cliche and the constant push towards the same tired patterns so frequent in other stories. Mixing old and new, he aims to make his mark on the Young Adult and Adult Categories, as well as in the Romance and Fantasy Genre.
He is also the author of several novellas such as A Dance Among Equals, Born Mistakes and a variety of other titles some of which intersect with his Oaths of Dante series! It is a goal to make waves in the mythology and romance genre, showing healthy examples of love and relationships in magical and mundane settings!
A favorite pastime of his is to retell old stories, such as the Persephone/Hades myth and many others to offer a new perspective on old, tired stories!

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