Sunday, June 26, 2016

RA, RA, Read: Rick Riordan

This week I'm revisiting Rick Riordan's series and read-alikes

An author with enduring popularity for both tweens and teens, Riordan continues to turn out new series and additions to his original series. Every summer we get renewed interest in his books and I have to buy additional copies! Here's how the series work:
  • There are 5 books each in the first series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the following series, Heroes of Olympus.
  • There are 3 books in the Kane Chronicles, based on Egyptian mythology and featuring younger characters.
  • Two new series, Magnus Chase and Trials of Apollo, are currently being written. Both are directed to a more teen audience; Magnus features Scandinavian mythology and Apollo features the god as a human teen.
  • There are a number of companion volumes - collections of short stories, guides to mythology, etc. and some titles have been adapted to graphic novels. There are also two movies, which generally met with poor reviews but kids are quite enthusiastic about them.
Riordan draws kids in with an emphasis on Greek mythology reinterpreted with lots of fantasy, adventure, and strong characters.

Kane Chronicles is Riordan's second series, based on Egyptian mythology. There are currently three titles in this series and the first has been adapted to a graphic novel. These aren't quite as popular as Percy Jackson - they're longer, but have slightly younger characters - but have the same mix of mythology-based fantasy, adventure, and humor.

More Mythological Fantasy

  • Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda
    • Indian mythology - more violent than Percy Jackson and includes demons, which makes some parents uncomfortable. First in a series.
  • Loki's Wolves by Kelley Armstrong
    • Norse mythology. First in a series.
  • Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
    • Celtic mythology. This is the first book in an older series, a classic, but the new editions I've bought have been circulating very well.
  • Chronus Chronicles by Anne Ursu
    • Greek mythology, but a heavier emphasis on fantasy than the mythic aspects.
  • Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R. L. LaFevers
    • Egyptian magic and myth. Theodosia is a snarky young Victorian girl who finds she can use ancient Egyptian magic.
  • Flame of Olympus by Kate O'Hearn
    • Greek/Roman mythology. First in a series.
  • Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
    • The first book is technically Over Sea, Under Stone but it's a more old-fashioned fantasy quest. You can start with Dark is Rising. Tell kids to ignore the awful movie; this series brings together aspects of Celtic and Arthurian legend with some truly chilling moments and lovely language.
Mythological Titles for Further Research

  • Anubis Speaks; Hades Speaks; Thor Speaks by Vicky Alvear Schecter
    • Funny and informative, told in first-person by the god and discussing culture, religion, and mythology
  • Olympians by George O'Connor
    • Series of graphic novels; each features a different Greek god. O'Connor does an excellent job of retaining the sense of the myth while giving readers points to think about and not emphasizing the more inappropriate aspects.

More Fantasy Adventure Titles (featuring contemporary protagonists)

  • Revenge of the Shadow King by Derek Benz
    • Grey Griffins trilogy. Monster-fighting.
  • Lightning Catcher by Anne Cameron
    • More a Harry Potter read-alike; a group of children discover the ability to control the weather. First in a series.
  • Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
    • Yes, the author of Hunger Games. This is her series for younger readers. Gregory travels underground to save his sister and encounters a strange and sometimes frightening world.
  • Ingo by Helen Dunmore
    • Harry Potter with Mermaids. First in a series.
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
    • This is a longer, more dense series. It features book characters and worlds come to life.
  • Secret of the sirens by Julia Golding
    • The Companions' Quartet is a gentler read, featuring protectors of magical/mythical creatures.
  • Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis
    • The Seven Wonders series. A bit like a cross between 39 Clues and Percy Jackson.
  • Keeper of the lost cities by Shannon Messenger
    • This massive series is a bit of a hard sell, but my high-level readers are crazy about it. The protagonists find themselves in an adventure that involves protecting lost cities (Atlantis, Shangri-La, etc.)
  • Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
    • This series is of a fairly hefty size, but is a quick read. It features a reservation for magical creatures and keepers protecting them.
  • Spellbinder by Helen Stringer
    • There is some Celtic mythology and a lot of humor in this duo of books about a girl whose parents are ghosts and who goes on a quest.
  • City of Fire by Laurence Yep
    • This trilogy features various aspects of Asian and Hawai'ian mythology. If I remember correctly, it's been a while since I read it! Very exciting.


Ms. Yingling said...

Yolen'sYoung Heroes series is set in ancient Greece, but does well with Riordan's fans. Geraldine McCaughrean also has a set of myth books that are action packed but a little short. Oh! Ford's Fire of Ares trilogy, too! Great list.

Jennifer said...

Great additions, thanks!