August 31st, 2014

Review: The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan

The Demigod Diaries
by Rick Riordan

A supplemental volume to the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series

In a small collection of short stories, Rick Riordan fleshes out some of the mysteries of the lives of demigods. There are four tales in all. The first, “The Diary of Luke Castellan”, looks back into the time before the beginning of The Lightning Thief to a confrontation that helped shape Luke’s destiny and set him on the path against the gods of Olympus. Next up is a classic fetch quest in “Percy Jackson and the Staff of Hermes” as the young hero is once again commissioned by a god to retrieve a lost item. (Seriously, Percy is the go-to errand boy of the Olympian gods. Poor kid - can’t even have a date without getting interrupted.) The third story stars Jason, Piper and Leo as they evade a team of frenzied Maenads to retrieve a critical piece of machinery for the airship Leo’s working on. It’s the last story that stands out, because it was written not by Riordan but by his sixteen year old son Haley. “Son of Magic” addresses the fate of the demigods who chose not to reconcile with Olympus after the battle between the Titans and the gods through the eyes of a middle-aged mortal author and a powerful son of Hecate.

In addition, there are some drawings of the places mentioned in the stories, a couple of games (a word search and a word scramble) and an interview with some minor characters. The extra content is pretty forgettable – children might enjoy working out the puzzles but adult readers will skim right over it.

When I first read that Riordan’s kid had written one of the stories, I have to admit that my expectations were pretty low. But his contribution ended up being my favorite story in the collection for two key reasons:

  1. Riordan’s short stories are nearly always fetch quests, in which the main character (usually Percy and a sidekick) are sent off to find or retrieve something for the gods.

  2. This is the first short story that has really introduced something new into the main storyline by providing the POV of a mortal and explaining why monsters target demigods so vehemently.

In addition to those reasons, I was also amused by the Dr. Claymore, an arrogant author who becomes drawn into the world of the Olympians even though he’s a mere mortal. He’s an incredibly rude, scientifically-minded adult who seems to have devoted his life to debunking theories about the afterlife, and when he’s forced to confront the world of mythology head-on his reactions are hilarious.

The other stories are fine, too. I really enjoyed “The Diary of Luke Castellan”. He’s the villain who betrayed Camp Half-Blood for most of the Percy Jackson series, but he’s always a sympathetic character because the reader is shown hints of his life that led him to make his decision to rebel. The diary entries flesh the character out further, giving him more motivation to hate the Olympian gods and want to bring them down.

While not essential reading for the series, The Demigod Diaries are a nice little break for those of us who want to keep living in the world of the Olympians while we wait for the next book to arrive.

4 out of 5 stars

To read more about The Demigod Diaries, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

Peeking into the in:
2013: Utah Shakespeare Festival: King John
2012: Contest: Last chance to win a copy of “The Second Empress”!
2011: The Queen’s Sorrow by Suzannah Dunn
2010: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
2009: The Virgin’s Daughters by Jeane Westin
2008: The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield