A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The Demigod Diaries, part of bestselling author Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series, provides similar background on Greek gods and myths to what the other Olympus and Percy Jackson books offer. Readers will learn about ancient characters and stories that form an essential foundation to a lot of other literature. In addition, this volume contains educational bonus activities: a word search, word scramble, and a matching game in which readers connect Greek and Roman god names to each other and to the traits of those gods.
In Riordan's world, good defeats evil, and wisdom and kindness are more powerful than might.
Positive Role Models
The young half-blood (half human, half Greek god) heroes in The Demigod Diaries face seemingly impossible challenges and use their intelligence to defeat evil, supernatural monsters. Also, a couple of older gentlemen sacrifice themselves to save others. This book includes a note from author Rick Riordan in which he explains that the character of Percy Jackson -- who also appears in one of the Demigod Diaries stories -- was patterned after Riordan's own son, Haley, who has ADHD. Today, Hayley is a teen and a writer; this book includes one of his stories. Riordan shows in fiction and in real life the way that kids can rise above learning differences.
Violence & Scariness
Heroes face life-threatening situations involving menacing monsters, which are described horrifically. There are huge horse/lion/wolf beasts with clacking bone teeth, a powerful evil giant, and nymphs with fangs and claws like serpents. Riordan describes animals being torn and devoured, a person being burned to death, and an immortal, who, when wounded, turns partly to sand and then regenerates.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
In one story, Percy and Annabeth celebrate the anniversary of their first kiss, and they kiss again. In another story, Leo thinks about "hot girls."
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Products & Purchases
In an effort to bring ancient characters into modern times and to add humor, Riordan inserts a few brand names. Thalia and Luke encounter a goat with teats that are labeled: Nectar, Milk, Water, Pepsi, Press Here for Ice, and Diet Mountain Dew. Luke has Snickers bars in his bag. In another story, Percy and Annabeth meet a giant who sells discount knock-off merchandise, including fake Rolexes, in an underground cavern.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Leo, Jason, and Piper meet the Maenads, nymphs who worship Dionysus. Wine is mentioned but not consumed, but the nymphs do drink eggnog that may be alcoholic.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Demigod Diaries, a book of short stories connected to Rick Riordan's best-selling Heroes of Olympus series, includes backstory about the characters in Riordan's other Olympus and Percy Jackson books, plus a few fun activities. Younger readers may find the stories' monsters and violence frightening, though if kids are used to Riordan's other fantasy novels, they'll do fine with this book. The fantastical creatures are described horrifically: huge horse/lion/wolf beasts with clacking bone teeth, a powerful evil giant, and nymphs with fangs and claws like serpents. Riordan describes animals being torn and devoured, a person being burned to death, and an immortal, who, when wounded, turns partly to sand and then regenerates. Riordan also includes an explanation of the origin of his popular Percy Jackson character, who has ADHD, showing Percy as a great role model for kids with learning disabilities.
Is It Any Good?
Riordan's Greek books are page-turners for middle-graders and middle schoolers, and though this one doesn't stand very well on its own, it offers a similarly entertaining reading experience. With clever modern teen and kid characters, amusingly flawed gods, and scary-weird monsters, Riordan creates a world that thrills and fascinates young readers.
The book's first two stories in particular, "The Diary of Luke Castellan" and "Percy Jackson and the Staff of Hermes," combine adventure, humor, and feeling in very effective ways. While Haley Riordan's story, "Son of Magic," lacks the levity of his dad's pieces, it literally addresses the fictional characters' questions and ideas about the afterlife; it's very well-rendered and an impressive work by a teen writer.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.