Series: Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Hyperion Book HC
Synopsis: What dangers do runaway demigods Luke and Thalia face on their way to Camp Half-Blood? Are Percy and Annabeth up to the task of rescuing stolen goods from a fire-breathing giant who doesn't take kindly to intruders? How exactly are Leo, Piper, and Jason supposed to find a runaway table, dodge a band of party-loving Maenads" ("who just might be a little psychotic), and stave off a massive explosion...all in one hour or less?
With his trademark wit and creativity, Rick Riordan answers these questions and more in three never-before-seen short stories that provide vital back-story to the Heroes of Olympus and Percy Jackson books. Original art, enlightening character interviews and profiles, puzzles, and a quiz add to the fun in this action-packed collection.
The Diary of Luke Castellan: This one was interesting, a glimpse back before the original Percy Jackson novels. It gives a certain intensity and makes the innate danger of being a half-blood much more real. Seeing these Luke and Thalia when they're literally living hand-to-mouth trying to survive monsters was a nice addition.
Percy Jackson and the Staff of Hermes: Another fun aside. This one allows us to see a glimpse between the end of the last Percy Jackson book and the first Heroes of Olympus. It gives us a story where Percy and Annabeth are a couple. And they're fun, having to fix the problems of careless gods and still very much themselves.
Leo Valdez and the Quest for Buford: This was my least favorite of the collection, although you get to see Piper, Leo and Jason (before he disappears). Another sort of zany adventure that demonstrates Riordan's creativity. The Maenads annoyed me and I'm not as fond of this trio as I am the original one. Still good.
Son of Magic: This is the clincher. Actually written by his son, Haley, this is the only one that actually adds substance to the universe, rather than amusing interludes and it's the one that pushes this book to 5 stars. This story had me entranced. The characters were well-built, the detail wonderful and the insights into the world and how things work and some of the fall-out for the losing side of The Last Olympian were fantastic. If this kid can write like this at 16, I want to read more of his stuff when he gets older. The others were cute fluff, this one could be the base of a book. Heck, I want it to be the base of a book. I want more Alabaster. I want to know him and go on a journey with him. While the other shorts made me smile, this one made my fingers itch for the next book of the series.
So, overall, mostly fluffy additions to the series with a true gem at the end.