Pages: 171 (Paperback)
Form: Compilation (short stories, quiz’s, and background information)
Series: Percy Jackson
If you’re reading this book, your life is about to get a lot more dangerous.
In these top-secret files, Rick Riordan, Camp Half-Blood’s senior scribe, gives an inside look at the world of demigods that NO regular human child is allowed to see.
These highly classified archives include three of Percy Jackson’s most perilous adventures, a Spotter’s Duide to Monsters, a Who’s Who in Greek mythology, Percy’s Summer Camp report and much more.
So, if you’re armed with this book, you’ll have everything you need to know to keep you alive in your training. Your own aventures have just begun…
Ok, so I’m not normally one for these sort of ‘added extras’ type of books. They’re generally just a bit too kiddy and a bit too gimmicky for me, but I was interested to read the three short Percy Jackson stories Riordan had written so I picked a copy up from my library. As expected, most of the content is pretty gimmicky, aimed firmly at the intended child audience for the books rather than geeks like me still reading kids books in their twenties. A lot of it, surprisingly, though was stuff I had already read, little extras like the ‘Who’s Who in Greek Mythology’ that I read in the back of my library copy of Sea of Monsters, Percy Jackson’s summer camp report that was in the back of another of the books. I think the majority of new content (bar two of the short stories) was the interviews with named campers, which didn’t really appeal to me and the quiz’s and puzzles at the end. Whatever though, I didn’t borrow the book for the gimmicky stuff but I’m not going to begrudge the publishes for including it if the younger audience enjoy it. The big thing for me was the short stories. Were they any good? Well… I have to say that, although I enjoyed The Sword of Hades, I found the other two rather lacking.
The first story, Percy Jackson and the Stolen Chariot, dealt with Percy helping his camp-enemy, Clarisse, recover her father’s stolen chariot. But, much as I love Clarisse, I really didn’t enjoy this one (and was appalled to discover that she wears double-denim!). Something about the writing just didn’t quite click for me this time, it felt too much ‘then we did that, and then I did that, and then that happened’, although there were glimmers of the style I so loved in the novels I ultimately found this story rather lackluster. Maybe it’s just cause it’s the first story and it normally takes me a couple of chapters to adjust to Percy’s narration, but I just wasn’t feeling this one. Also, Clarisse is totally enough of a BAMF to handle a few birds and her older brothers without needing Percy’s help – the whole premise is flawed!
Percy Jackson and the Bronze Dragon was, on the surface, something I should have enjoyed more. Finally! That old thing I’ve been banging on about in almost all my Percy Jackson reviews – Percy actually interacting in a meaningful way with campers who aren’t Annabeth or Clarisse! It also, I hear, ties in with events in Riordan’s next series, The Heroes of Olympus. And I did prefer it to The Stolen Chariot, but not as much as I hoped. Although Percy does interact properly with both Selina and Beckendorf here and the story sets up the relationship between those two that plays a big part in the final book, it somehow didn’t seem to actually add anything to either the characters or the overarching Percy Jackson plot. In fact it seemed to mostly exist as a way to push a very unsubtle ‘Percy and Annabeth fancy each other’ message, which by this point in the series (this book was published between the fourth and fifth novels) felt completely redundant. But then I’m not a big shipper type person, if I was it might have appealed a bit more. But we’ll see, this story still has the chance to grow on me if it ties in well and adds something to The Heroes of Olympus .
The main draw of this book though is Percy Jackson and the Sword of Hades, which is by far the best of the bunch, standing head and shoulders above the other two stories. Originally written for charity, I was ready to give this one the benefit of the doubt and more allowances than the others, but it turned out I didn’t need to because I really enjoyed it. The story draws Percy, Thalia, and Nico together to rescue Hades’ sword, from a demigod thief who plans to use it to free the Titans. It’s the story that ties in best with the overarching plot of the series which is one of the reasons it worked better for me but it’s also, I think, the best written of this selection, with the most of Riordan’s trademark humour. It was clever and witty and it made use of a couple of interesting and lesser known mythological characters, which is one of my favourite bits about Percy Jackson. You don’t need to read this to understand the series, it doesn’t add particularly much, but it was a very enjoyable read.