In 2005, Rick Riordan published his novel Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief. It was the first of his books to be based on Greek mythology. Since then, the author has written various YA series’, and many of these explore ancient mythologies. His relatable characters and thrilling stories have earned him a broad audience beyond just kids and young adults. With his new book, Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor set for release on October 4, we’re looking at our favorite Rick Riordan books and what made them so special.
Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse
The Titan’s Curse is the third instalment of the Percy Jackson series. It tells the story of Percy and co. who set off on a quest to save Annabeth and the Goddess Artemis. As always, the group faces a few problems along the way.
This has to be one of my favourite of Riordan’s books because it was so thrilling I could not put it down. This book made me realise how much I truly loved Percy Jackson.
The Titan’s Curse is a turning point in Percy’s story. From this point on, everything gets a little darker. It also opened speculation for the final book, The Last Olympian. When newly introduced characters, Bianca di Angelo and Zoe Nightshade, die on the quest, it’s not until after you finish the books that you realise these characters died because a quest is only meant for three demigods, not five. Dark, right?
Another great thing about The Titan’s Curse is the new characters; specifically, Nico di Angelo. Nico is a complex kid who becomes one of the series’ best-loved characters. Things really turn around when we eventually find out he is the son of Hades. With characters who are children of the two other major gods (Zeus and Poseidon) in the books, nobody knew if there were more children of other gods. And Riordan picks the best time to shock us with this news too.
What I love most about this book is Percy’s heroism. While Atlas usually holds up the sky, Percy finds that Artemis has taken his place. He takes the weight off her and holds it himself so his friends can battle the Titans. This is incredibly inspiring to me because, dude, if a 14-year-old can hold up the sky, then I can do anything. This is one of the top reasons why Percy is my role model. This may not be the book that everyone immediately remembers in the series, but it holds a special place in my heart.
Plus, that snack bar scene is basically the funniest passage of a book I have ever read. [Charlotte Oliver]
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief was first published in 2005 (man, that makes me feel old). At first, I wasn’t all that interested but decided one day to give it a shot. I was instantly enthralled.
The Lightning Thief is my favourite novel because it was ground-breaking in how it presented a new twist on ancient mythology. The novel had a relatable story and spellbinding plot. I enjoyed how accessible Percy and Annabeth were. While they are distant demigods – and that part is fascinating – they are also very real preteens learning and growing up. They go through adventures and betrayals, injustices and fairness, and their experiences help mould them into the heroes they would become.
Also, the characters in the book who have ADHD and dyslexia have these disorders for a reason. No one makes fun of these characters or puts them down in any way either. For people with these disorders, The Lightning Thief serves as an inspiration. We often hide aspects of ourselves that make us stand out so we can blend in with the crowd. The Lightning Thief encourages me to become a better version of me, risking isolation, but being my real self.
The other novels in the series are special, but to get to the greatness of The Lightning Thief, they needed a sturdy foundation. Rick Riordan’s novel has this, with a full story, fleshed out characters, and an ominous prophecy. The Lightning Thief is my favourite because it started it all, and launched a whole new universe of possibilities. But most of all, it taught me that anyone could become a hero.
“A hero can go anywhere, challenge anyone, as long as he has the nerve.” – Chiron
The Mark of Athena
The Mark of Athena is the third book in the Heroes of Olympus series. Set six months after The Lost Hero, Leo Valdez, son of Hephaestus, constructs the trireme Argo II, so that he, Jason, Piper, Annabeth, Percy, Frank, and Hazel, can travel to Greece to stop Gaea’s awakening. Annabeth, during her debriefs with Reyna, reveals that to unite the Greek and Roman demigods against Gaea, the team must retrieve the Athena Parthenos, a giant statue stolen by the Romans long ago. Only the descendants of Athena know of its whereabouts, and no one has managed to return alive.
After reaching Rome, Annabeth makes her way through a series of puzzles, and finds Arachne, the seamstress-turned-spider. Though Annabeth tricks Arachne to fall into her trap and free the statue from the spider webs, Arachne’s strings pull her into Tartarus, with Percy falling along with her.
As the third instalment in the series, The Mark of Athena marks a significant turning point in the story arc and character development. This is the first time Rick Riordan has ended a book on a cliffhanger – literally. Consequences suddenly become all too real, and we can no longer be certain our favourite characters will make it home alive. Percy may survive the journey downwards, but he will never be the same when Annabeth, vulnerable and superpower-less, turns into a fine red mist.
The year-long wait between this book and its sequel, The House of Hades, only serves to let our fandom-fuelled imaginations run wild with regards to the fate of our favourite characters. This is what makes The Mark of Athena so special for me. [Lisa Li]
The Son of Sobek
Perseus Jackson is a Greek demigod, and the son of one of the ‘Big Three’ gods, Poseidon. Carter Kane is one of the three most powerful Egyptian magicians in the world. What happens when their two worlds combine? That question is answered in Rick Riordan’s short story, “‘The Son of Sobek.”
Without saying much, their explosive meeting is one of the most innovative fights in all of Rick Riordan’s books. Both sides of the fight are two of the most powerful humans from each of their respective worlds. They engage in some lively banter, and each is equally bewildered by the other’s lingo. Although their fight resolves in an epic team-up to take down the crocodile, the fight solves the question of whether the blood of the pharaohs can take on the son of Poseidon. [Joseph Wilbur]
Thank You, Mr. Riordan
Everyone has a different favorite, and everyone has different opinions. But we can all agree that Rick Riordan’s mythology books have taught us about love, friendship and the true meaning of being a hero. They have inspired us, shocked us, and made us believe that anything is possible. Many fans have grown up with these books that have some of the most incredible characters in YA fiction. So here’s to 11 years of amazing books, and what we hope will be many more to come.
Thank you, Mr. Riordan.