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Rick Riordan

rick riordan fantasy authorRick Riordan is an award-winning writer. He lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife and two sons. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief was the overall winner of the Red House Children’s Book Award in 2006, and made into a blockbuster film in 2010. The series has gone on to become a chart-topping success. Listen to the author read the first chapters at Rick Riordan’s website or the Percy Jackson website.


The Lightning Thief: Surprisingly complex

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I had been hearing good things about Rick Riordan's young adult fantasy series, but it wasn't until a half-price sale at the bookstore and the release of the movie (which I still haven't seen) that I finally decided to catch up with the bandwagon. I knew that it followed the basic premise of the typical coming-of-age drama in a fantasy setting, in which a troubled youngster discovers that he has innate power and a lot of trouble to go with it. To harness his power, achieve his goals, and discover his place in his newly discovered world is Percy Jackson's ongoing character arc. Though it is clearly inspired by the success of Harry Potter (right down to the format of the titles: variations of "Hero's Name and the Intriguing Noun"), it's never openly derivative.

Percy Jackson is a twelve-year-old boy who finds it difficult to stay out of trouble. Constantly expelled from school for... Read More

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Highly recommended children’s fantasy


Rick Riordan’s five-book series takes the world of Greek mythology, complete with gods, monsters, titans, Mt. Olympus, heroes, etc. and weaves it into the modern world under the premise that as the gods are manifestations of Western culture and move as the culture moves. And so when Athens was the pinnacle, Mt. Olympus was in Greece, but now that the seat of Western power has moved to America, Mr. Olympus is on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building. We all move through a sea of mythical creatures but we don’t see any of them thanks to the cloak of the Mist, a strange phenomenon that either hides them completely or makes mere mortals see the creatures and their actions as somewhat explainable (if sometimes odd) events that we can understand.

The series focuses less on the gods than on their children born to mortals — the demi-gods — who are brought at ... Read More

The Sea of Monsters: Better than The Lightning Thief

The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Truth be told, I wasn't hugely impressed with the first Percy Jackson book, The Lightning Thief. It was entertaining, yes, but somewhat convoluted, derivative and predictable. Well, with Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, I take it all back. With a more rewarding plot, stronger characterization, and smoother pacing, the second book in the five-part series is an improvement in every respect.

Percy Jackson has recently discovered that his missing father is none other than the sea god Poseidon, and as a demigod he is constantly under threat from various Greek monsters that still roam the earth. Enrolled at a summer camp for training half-bloods, Percy's last adventure involved (among many other things) coming to terms with his parentage, learning about the powers he possesses, ma... Read More

The Titan’s Curse: The humor is the real selling point

The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

To briefly bring you up to date: the five-part Percy Jackson series revolves around updated versions of the Greek gods and their half-blood children. With Olympus currently situated in New York, many of the gods' children (who often don't know who their godly parent is, having been raised by their mortal one) attend Camp Half-Blood where they can learn to control their abilities and fend off the monsters that they attract like magnets. Percy's coming-of-age story involves him undertaking number of dangerous quests to defeat the growing power of Kronos, an ancient Titan who wants to overthrow Olympus.

Percy is now fourteen years old, and about to embark on his next big adventure. If you haven't read the two previous Percy Jackson books, then there's no use starting here, you'll need to backtrack to The Lightning Thief... Read More

The Battle of the Labyrinth: Filled with monsters, traps, secrets and danger

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Just as every Harry Potter book began with the requisite tormenting of the Dursley family, every Percy Jackson book begins with the destruction of a school, a trend that continues in the fourth book starring the young demi-god son of Poseidon. Unless you're familiar with the three previous books, you'll probably find yourself lost with what's going on here. About to celebrate his fifteenth birthday party, Percy is still up to his neck in problems, ranging from his mother's new boyfriend to the Greek monsters that keep trying to kill him. Luckily he has his friends to help him out: the satyr Grover, who is on a quest for the missing god Pan, his half-brother Tyson, a Cyclops, and Annabeth, the daughter of Athena — except lately Annabeth has been acting a little strangely...... Read More

The Last Olympian: This final installment is all pay-off

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

The Last Olympian is Rick Riordan’s conclusion to the well-received Percy Jackson series which involves the attempt by Kronos, the titan displaced ages ago by Zeus and the other Olympians, to rally his fellow titans, as well as assorted monsters, demigods, and disgruntled minor gods, to take down the Olympians and their allies, especially the Olympians’ children — the demigods of Camp Half-Blood led by Percy Jackson (son of Poseidon), Annabeth (daughter of Athena), and Grover (a satyr).

As one might expect of the concluding book, the action reaches its peak and Kronos is as close as he will ever be to achieving his aims. The Last Olympian opens with a bang, as Percy is on a mission to blow up an ocean liner filled with Kronos (who in the previous book reincorporated himself in... Read More

The Lost Hero: A fresh new adventure from the world of Percy Jackson

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero picks up shortly after his Percy Jackson & The Olympians series ended and continues onward in the same universe with both new and familiar characters. Actually, I should say “mostly” the same universe, as Riordan has broadened his Greek mythology premise to include the Roman gods as well (or as is often the case, the familiar Greek gods in their less-familiar Roman aspects).

Percy literally isn’t around for this one (don’t worry — he appears to play a major role in the next); he’s gone missing and nobody knows what happened to him. Instead, The Lost Hero begins with Jason, a young boy who finds himself on a school bus with his two “friends” Leo and Piper, save that he has no memory of who they are, how ... Read More

The Son of Neptune: The second instalment of a series steadily cranking into gear…

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Warning: Contains some mild spoilers for the previous book, The Lost Hero.

First, a brief reminder of where this book stands among Rick Riordan's collection of YA novels: it is the second book in the HEROES OF OLYMPUS five-part series, which itself is the sequel series to the original PERCY JACKSON books. Suffice to say, if you're unfamiliar with the stories published before this one, you're likely to be hopelessly lost in understanding what's happening here. Head back to Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and work your way up.

For those who are all up-to-date, you'll be pleased to know The Son of Neptune doesn't waste any time in throwing you back into the action. As rea... Read More

The Mark of Athena: A bit of middle book syndrome, but still action-packed

Heroes of Olympus: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

This is the third book in the five-part HEROES OF OLYMPUS series by Rick Riordan, and as the title would imply, it focuses on Annabeth Chase: daughter of Athena. Though it suffers a little from middle book syndrome, with nothing started and nothing finished, Riordan makes sure that Annabeth's quest remains the key focus of the book, letting it drive the course of the otherwise sprawling narrative.

The seven heroes of the prophecy have been assembled: Percy, Annabeth, Leo, Hazel, Frank, Piper and Jason; all of whom have a vital part to play in the defeat of the goddess Gaea, who has been awakening both giants and the dead in her bid to destroy the Olympian gods.

As it happens, the Roman gods are also at risk thanks to the meddling of Hera/Juno, with the variou... Read More

The House of Hades: Percy and Annabeth traverse the Underworld

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

It's been nearly two years since I read the last book in Rick Riordan's five-part THE HEROES OF OLYMPUS series — not because I wasn't enjoying it; I simply got swamped by my never-ending To Be Read pile. But I'm back, and eager to finish what I started!

The House of Hades is the fourth book in the series, following on with the overarching story of seven young heroes working together to combat the rising power of Gaia, the ancient and bloodthirsty Earth Goddess intent on releasing her giant offspring into the human world. They have a prophecy to guide them but deadline to meet — and at the conclusion of the last book, The Mark of Athena, two ... Read More

The Blood of Olympus: The final battle between Olympus and Mother Earth

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

The fifth and final book in THE HEROES OF OLYMPUS pentalogy sees our seven demigods finally go up against the threat that's been brewing for the last four books: Gaia, the primordial goddess who's been deliberately pitting the Greeks and the Romans against one another. With the training camps of young half-blood youths preparing for war and many of the gods torn between their Greek and Roman personas, our young protagonists have only a prophecy to guide their quest for peace: one that suggests they're not all going to make it out alive.

After the previous book in the series, The House of Hades, Rick Riordan thankfully scales things back a bit by only providing only five narrative points-of-view instead of the previous seven. It made for a cacophonous reading experi... Read More

The Red Pyramid: Why mess with a good thing?

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

The Red Pyramid (2011), by Rick Riordan, starts readers off on a new series intermingling ancient mythology, today’s world, and snappy young teens. In this case, though, the mythology is Egyptian, not Greek as in his Percy Jackson series (or Roman, as in the newest addition to that series) and the young teens aren’t the sons and daughters of gods but are instead possessed by them (if that doesn’t seem like much of a difference, it’s because it really isn’t as the story plays out). This may seem overly familiar, but “why mess with a good thing?” is probably Riordan’s thinking, and my guess is his fans’ as well.

And truth be told, there’s a lot to like in Riordan’s writing, especially for a young audience. The books are fast-paced (admittedly sometimes too much so); the di... Read More

The Sword of Summer: Rick Riordan goes Norse

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan, who has enthralled millions of readers with exciting tales of teenagers and their interactions with Greek, Roman and Egyptian gods and goddesses, turns to Norse mythology in his latest book, The Sword of Summer, published October 6, 2015.

Magnus Chase is sixteen years old and has been homeless for two years, since his mother died. Magnus remembers the door of their apartment splintering and wolves with glowing blue eyes bursting in as his mother shooed him out the fire escape. His mother had always told him to avoid his uncles, especially Uncle Randolph ― but Magnus runs into Randolph, who somehow convinces him to accompany him to retrieve an ancient sword from the waters below Longfellow Bridge in Boston. Magnus magically calls the sword to himself. Unfortunately, it’s a corroded, slimy, barnacle-encrusted piece of metal with no hilt.... Read More

The Hammer of Thor: It’s Hammer Time in the Nine Worlds

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

The god Thor has lost his hammer again, but this time it’s even worse: the giant Thrym has gotten hold of it and has hidden it away where no one else can reach it. If the hammer isn’t returned to Thor quickly, enemies of Asgard will take advantage of their weakness and attack, triggering Ragnarok, the battle at the end of the world, and bringing massive death and destruction in the Nine Worlds.

Loki the trickster, who has been chained up by the other gods as punishment for his misdeeds, visits Magnus Chase in a dream (Loki gets around pretty well in dreamland). He tells Magnus that he’s worked out a deal to get Thor’s hammer back: all Magnus has to do is bring Thrym a certain bride for a wedding in five days, along with the bride-price, and Thrym will give back the hammer as his wedding gift.

There are just a few problems with this plan: The intended bride is the Valkyrie S... Read More

The Ship of the Dead: Rough sailing for Magnus in the Nine Worlds

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

When Naglfar ― a ship made out of the fingernails and toenails of the dead, eek! ― sets sail, carrying hordes of giants and zombies warriors to fight the gods of Asgard, Ragnarok and a world-ending battle aren’t far behind. Ragnarok can’t be entirely avoided (unfortunately, it’s an inevitable prophecy), but perhaps it can be delayed for a while longer?

As The Ship of the Dead (2017), the third and final book in Rick Riordan's MAGNUS CHASE AND THE GODS OF ASGARD series, begins, Loki has escaped from his imprisonment by the gods and is getting the dreaded ship Naglfar ready to sail against the gods, triggering Ragnarok. Right now the ship is docked... Read More