A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that these three short stories, which combine main characters from Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicles series, were previously available separately as ebooks only. "The Son of Sobek" was released in 2013, "The Staff of Serapis" in 2014, and "The Crown of Ptolemy" in 2015. The hardcover book Demigods & Magicians: Percy and Annabeth Meet the Kanes includes all three stories, a forward by Percy Jackson, eight full-color illustrations, and a peek at the first chapter of The Hidden Oracle, the start of a series to be released in May 2016. Kids will need to have read at least some of the main Percy Jackson series (five books) and the slightly more complex Kane Chronicle series (three books) to get what's going on when Greek mythology and Egyptian mythology and magic collide. Expect the same kinds of fantasy violence in these shorts that you saw in the other series -- battles against monsters and gods where they get stabbed with swords or blown up. The good guys -- all teens -- get injured but heal with their magical nectar and potions. Readers will learn a bit about Alexander the Great and how he united the Greece and Egypt in his giant empire.
What's the story?
Three short stories -- "The Son of Sobek," "The Staff of Serapis," and "The Crown of Ptolemy" -- build on one another in DEMIGODS & MAGICIANS: PERCY AND ANNABETH MEET THE KANES. In the first, demigod Percy and magician Carter Kane meet tracking down a giant godlike crocodile ready to rampage through a New York suburb. In the second story, Greek demigod Annabeth runs into Carter Kane's younger sister Sadie on a subway train. Together they face off against a two-headed monster desperate to unite with its third head and its godlike master in Rockaway Beach. The third story finds Percy and Annabeth calling the Kanes for backup when they're stuck on an island battling an Elvis lookalike trying to use a stolen book of knowledge to become a god. In all three encounters, Greek and Egyptian weapons and magic must unite in order to defeat the baddies straight from the world of Alexander the Great, the ruler who first united Greece and Egypt.
Is it any good?
God-and-monster brawls and fish-out-of-water comedy combine in these fun crossover stories for fans of Percy Jackson and the Kane siblings. And, as in all books by Rick Rordan, readers will learn something, too -- here, about the link between Egyptian and Greek gods.
But this collection is mostly about the fun of getting two pairs of heroes with very different backgrounds together and seeing what happens. Sometimes it's awkward, such as when -- cringe -- Percy calls Carter a "half-blood." Sometimes it's uncomfortable, such as when Percy agrees to possession by a vulture god, leaving him with a penchant for carrion. And sometimes it's double the heroics, such as when Annabeth wields Egyptian words of power against a wannabe god. The fun will be over too soon for fans who may even start wondering: What would happen if Magnus and Norse mythology were thrown into the mix? Hmm ...
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the misunderstanding between Percy and Carter when they meet in the first story. Percy asks if he's a "half-blood" as in half Greek god. Carter, who has a white mother and a black father, thinks he means a racial slur. Can you think of a time you felt your intentions were lost in translation? How did you come to an understanding with the other person?
For fans who already read the stories online, did you feel like you still wanted the book? What drew you to own it? Was it the illustrations of characters you like? Or a peek at a new series?
What other methods do book marketers use to draw you in?
- Author: Rick Riordan
- Illustrator: Antonio Caparo
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
- Publication date: April 5, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 224
- Available on: Hardback, iBooks
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