Hero Alert: Rick Riordan

I guess it’s if not obvious, then likely that a guy who writes about heroes is another one of my 2018 heroes.

Rick Riordan writes them. The first ones. Perseus or his current incarceration Percy Jackson, Atalanta, Jason, Psyche, Theseus and Achilles… turns out those Ancient Greek demi-gods really coined the adrenaline-based drama. I was stupid enough to do Classics A level but I never realised how fun these guys could be. While I was playing frisbee and rolling doobies in high school, Rick Riordan was busy gleaning his classics craft.

Since then, he pulled off one of the most difficult writing tasks – besides writing about your family at night, when all you really want to do is lie face-down in the corner… Rick Riordan has made the old and dusty interesting. Fighting multi-headed monsters? Got it. Murdering rampaging giant pigs? No problem. Going after a lady with snakes for hair? Turns out living in Ancient Greece really was a blast. Handy too if you could avoid killing your family by mistake.

We’ve listened to and read Rick Riordan’s books since our time on Quest earlier this year. We haven’t strayed out of his classical Greek series yet, although he’s written other books based on ancient mythology. To be honest, it’s been enough for us to digest the Greek stuff. There’s a lot of it. I get the feeling that Rick Riordan doesn’t stop. And for that reason alone I should hate him. I mean, this man is a writer’s block nightmare.. While the rest of us are trying to perfect a meaningful sentence, it seems Rick Riordan is busy working on his novel’s third draft. Oh, and he gets a whole template of already imagined narrative juiciness. All he has to do is conjure a bit of Minotaur.

But hey, it’s how he conjures it. The writing is funny. Irreverent. Surprisingly interesting. If my other 2018 hero Lainey Gossip is refreshing and juicy and Rachael Bland was braver than a mountain and composed to boot, Rick Riordan comes over fresher than a pine forest. Be warned though. It’s a forest where the occasional pine cone bonks you on the head. I know, because I read it to Delphine. I used to read to Lulu too and I still do sometimes, but Lulu mostly likes her own reading independence now. So the consequence is Delph gets what she wants reading-wise. As long as I can stomach reading it out loud. Luckily, I can read Rick Riordan until the sun comes up. Or until I have to go write the blog, then wake up at 2am french-kissing the kitchen table. Believe me, sometimes it is hard to tear myself away from these Greek gods.

My current favourite books are the Percy Jackson and the Heroes and Gods series; the classic re-telling of the myths. Under Riordan’s modern twist, they often burst with fun. For example, when Epimetheus is resisting the gifts given by Zeus as a trickery punishment for his Titan brother Prometheus’ act of creating humans out of clay, the Olympian Gods deliver the beautiful if dangerous Pandora to his house, knock on his door and run away giggling to hide behind the bushes. This passage never fails to stop Delphine from giggling. ‘Like knock, knock, ginger,’ she says, snorting. I always laugh too. And I’m usually grumpy at night… very, very grumpy.

There is something so magical about mixing the ancient and the teenage. A genius move. Looking back, I don’t regret how good I got at frisbee when I should have been studying classics at high school (even stoned, it was jump up at the other end of the field and catch it mid-air stuff) but Riordan definitely won in the end by paying attention.

Delph’s favourite books aren’t the same as mine though. Still, rather than making me sigh and try and slip out early evening, this is actually the other big reason I love Rick Riordan. Not only has he brought us a lot of reading joy into our lives this year, he’s also inspired a kid that has really needed inspiring. Percy Jackson is dyslexic. He has ADHD. Duh. He’s a demi-god, guys. He doesn’t need to read English. To survive the monsters that try and hunt out his godly blood, Ancient Greek is the only survival-guide language he needs to read. And the ADHD is for his protection, since fast reflexes are key to keeping him alive.

‘Percy Jackson is dyslexic like me,’ Delphine told her bestie Aaliyah a few months ago. ‘Did you know that?’

Aaliyah shook her head slowly. ‘What’s dyslexia then?’

Normally, before Percy came into our lives, Delphine would have dipped her head in embarrassment. Not anymore! Delphine is proud now… since she’s just like her hero Percy Jackson. Bring out the monsters.

Featured picture from: http://riordan.wikia.com/wiki/Percy_Jackson

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