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The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities

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Member Reviews

This is a fun anthology featuring the characters from across the Riordan-verse. It is a good way to introduce different writing styles and some different aspects of mythological stories to middle schoolers who may have an interest in mythology, but not the world of Percy Jackson. What would dissuade me from giving this to students as a an introduction is that the stories feature established characters, and some of the stories were difficult to follow if you haven't read the previous books in that series.
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This was a good read. I really liked the new stories with old characters in it, I do still have some books I haven't read so some characters were new to me.
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If nothing else, this is a brilliant bit of marketing. Kids will gravitate towards this collection to read more about their favorite characters. Reading the other stories may then lead them to new series. None of the stories in the collection are must reads, but all are a pleasant addition to a series.
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An amazing sample of the Rick Riordan Presents imprint! Having read many of the main titles, I enjoyed reading short stories about the same great heroes. This book contains stories of friendships, adventures, battles and more. "The Gum Baby Files" and "Demon Drum" were among my favorites.  I think this a great edition to middle school classrooms and libraries.
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Anything under the Rick Riordan umbrella is bound to be a hit and this book certainly was! My 10 year old daughter loved every story, whether she was familiar with the characters or not. It encouraged her to seek out some of the Rick Riordan Presents series that she hasn't read  and she can't wait to add the physical copy of this book to her personal library.
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This is a perfect book to give for the holidays for young people who like Percy Jackson, and are looking to branch (or be nudged) into the literal wider world of the Rick Riordan presents imprint. Here you have a short story featuring the characters from different series under that imprint, but none of the stories spoil the books! So many short stories with established characters require you to know the characters already. Instead, here the characters are usually introduced well and sufficiently to get a taste of the longer work without going into the whole backstory that comes with the novels, making them a great entry point!

That said, if you've read many of the series like I have, then you'll also appreciate these stories. Again, they dont rehash plots you've read but also dont act like you're old buds. These are nice supplements without feeling bogged down by reintroducing the characters, but giving people who arent familiar with them enough to go on. Some individual entries strike this balance better than others. 

Thank you to Netgalley, Disney Publishing, Rick Riordan, and all of the authors for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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These collections are always fun, and this one certainly lives up to those from the past. If you're reading the Rick Riordan imprint books, you should add this to your collection.
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The Rick Riordan Presents series of books are among some of my favorites to use in my classroom.   Using indigenous authors to tell the mythology of their areas is truly unparalleled.  The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities contains short stories bringing back some of our favorite characters.  You don't need to have read all of the previous books by the authors to understand or enjoy the short story presented here.  You may just find a new author to appreciate.
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I made a mistake with this one because I didn’t realize that this was a short story collection of characters from previous books. I thought it was going to be perfect for me to sample these authors but I had a hard time reading since I didn’t know the characters. I honestly think that was a mistake with this one since there are so many books you would’ve had to read before this. I did have to DNF this one but I will definitely go back to this if/when I read the original books.
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I was thrilled when I found out that RRP was going to put out an anthology. RRP has introduced me to so many different mythologies so I was really excited to get a bunch of their stories all in one collection.

I would definitely recommend reading this anthology after reading the RRP books so you aren't spoiled or confused about anything.

All of the stories were great and I had an amazing time reading them all. Gum Baby's story is probably my favorite overall because I just love her so much.
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I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 
Disappointed, but it may be my own fault. This book is a collection of short stories apparently featuring heroes of other stories. I thought this wouldn’t really matter and each story would likely stand on it’s own, which they did...sort of. 
Some tales were very enjoyable - modern twists and ancient roots - but some seemed to suffer greatly if you aren’t familiar with the characters (which I am not, I somehow missed every one of the books these were based on?).
There is still entertainment and good writing to be found, though it was easier to skim a few of the chapters than slog through many references that made no sense to me. I’d be curious to hear what better versed people think, but for me it seemed like more trouble than it was worth. 3/5 stars
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This compilation has stories from the Rick Riordan Presents series in it, and I really enjoyed it. There are a couple that I haven't read yet, so it was a cool introduction to their worlds, and I enjoyed the short stories from the ones that I was already familiar with. Some stories were better than others, but overall, if you like any of the mythologies from Rick Riordan Presents, this is one to grab.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Disney Publishing Worldwide for this free digital copy in exchange for an honest review! This book is available now!

Hi Reader Friends! It has been a weird time…even weirder than we all know this time already is. September was insanely busy and I didn’t read much, which makes me really excited to read this month!

Today’s spotlight is The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities, which was published last week. This is a Rick Riordan Presents short story collections and features ten stories. The contributing (and bestselling) authors include: Roshani Chokshi, J.C. Cervantes, Yoon Ha Lee, Carlos Hernandez, Kwame Mbalia, Rebecca Roanhorse, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Sarwat Chadda, Graci Kim…and Rick himself! Aside from Rick Riordan’s short story, each short in this collection features characters from novels published in the Rick Riordan Presents imprint.

What I liked:

-Being back with all of these characters! These short stories were all fun and just added to the world of each series.

-Some characters popped up in each other’s stories! LOVED this!

-I felt that each short was given its due and none of them felt rushed.

They were all so good, but if I had to pick favorites it would probably be the short featuring Gum Baby (from Tristan Strong), and the short featuring Zane and Brooks (from The Storm Runner).

The only “issue” I had was that I had a *slightly* difficult time placing some of these in their correct timeline as some of the stories come before it’s novel or after. It was minor and did not affect my enjoyment of the collection as a whole.

If you (or someone you know) is a fan of the Rick Riordan Presents imprint like I am, you would enjoy these stories. If you have not read any (or all) of these stories, you will probably be confused!
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Thanks to NetGalley & Disney Publishing Worldwide for the early copy in exchange for an honest review.

I found it weird there wasn't really a guide to which chapter is part of which book series. So here's one below! 

1. Calamity Juice (Sal and Gabi Break the Universe) 
2. Beware the Grove of True Love (Aru Shah and the End of Time)
3.. The Cave of Doom (The Storm Runner)
4. The Initiation (The Dragon Pearl)
5. The Gum Baby Flies (Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky) 
6. The Demon Drum (Race to the Sun)
7. Bruto and the Freaky Flower (Paola Santiago and the River of Tears)
8. The Loneliest Demon (City of the Plague God)
9. My Night at the Gifted Carnival (The Last Fallen Star)
10. My Life as a Child Outlaw (New by Rick Riordan, Celtic Mythology)

I skipped some that I haven't read personally and I don't want to judge and I skipped somewhere I read the book but didn't like it at all, so, yeah. Honestly, they're okay, I'd rather just re-read the books than read a short story that leaves you wanting more. 

I did however, enjoy "The Initiation" and its chaotic but wonderful world. I think the strongest story was "My Life As A Child Outlaw" and I REALLY hope Riordan turns it into a full-length novel because it was so dang good!
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In the introduction, Rick Riordan compares the anthology to a Multiverse Mansion, and I found that as I read this book, I remembered all the reasons why Rick Riordan Presents books are some of my favorites. Reading them all together gives this sense of familiarity that did feel like you were coming home to this multiverse mansion.

Calamity Juice by Carlos Hernandez

Follow Sal and Gabi as they have to retrieve one of their Culeco classmates who was last seen on a rogue unicorn. I thought it was super cool that there were two instances of Culeco classmates that saw this multiverse and were able to gain personal growth from it. I'm glad to see Gladis get a story and finally get the character arc that I've been hoping for her.

Beware the Grove of True Love by Roshani Chokshi

On an errand for Urvashi, Aru, Mini, and Brynne end up in the Grove of True Love, where they have to fix a past story before they become trapped. I felt all the emotions that Aru was discovering as they made their way through the story. Of course, I loved Aru, Mini, and Brynne's friendship as well as the way that the three of them work together, both in fighting and simpler problem solving.

The Cave of Doom by J.C. Cervantes

Zane and Brooks investigate their island after a reviewer claimed to see a monster. As they investigate, they realize that the threat might be much more different than they can imagine. Zane and Brooks have a great relationship, with plenty of back-and-forth as they investigate the Cave of Doom. We also get a visit from a familiar face and I was pretty surprised at the conclusion that Zane and Brooks come to at the end about the mysterious beings they come to find.

The Initiation by Yoon Ha Lee

Follow Min and Jun as they attempt their first assignment post the events of The Dragon Pearl. But things start to go sideways very quickly, and soon Min and her friends must figure out how to stop a dangerous commandant. I enjoyed reading through the absolute chaos of this story, especially in the contrasting ways that Min's friends from The Dragon Pearl and Min's squad here differ.

The Gum Baby Files by Kwame Mbalia

Oh, I love Gum Baby. Here we find out some of what Gum Baby, Ayanna, and Junior were up to in between the events of the second and third Tristan Strong books. Gum Baby must face a ghost that wants to erase history. As usual, there was an amazing blend of history and mythology, with a heavy dose of Gum Baby's antics. This story also has one of my favorite lines of the entire anthology, delivered to Gum Baby from someone she meets in this story.

The Demon Drum by Rebecca Roanhorse

Nizhoni and her fellow members of the Ancestor Club are going to a powwow. Soon, they begin to notice that things seem to be going poorly and investigate. I loved this look at all of Nizhoni's friends and classmates, not just Davery, and the way that Nizhoni interacts with each of them. The group-problem solving to take out the demon drum was super fun to read, and I loved reading all the descriptions about the powwow.

Bruto and the Freaky Flower by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Paola's chupacabra puppy, Bruto, is suddenly not doing so well...and Paola has a vision of a freaky flower in the desert that she thinks might save him. Join Pao and Dante in traversing across the dangerous desert in hopes of getting to the flower to save Bruto. I've loved Bruto since Pao first took him in, so I enjoyed this Bruto-centered short story. I certainly didn't see the twist of the flower, but it was super fun to read.

The Loneliest Demon by Sarwat Chadda

Following the events of City of the Plague God, Sik's life is back to normal...mostly. There's this demon that keeps trying to kill him. This one was one of the funnier stories, I enjoyed reading about how Sik had to try to help this demon, and the resulting conclusion to this story was satisfying. I just saw the announcement that there's going to be a sequel to City of the Plague God, and I hope that Rabisu will make an appearance there!

My Night at the Gifted Carnival by Graci Kim

Taking place before the events of The Last Fallen Star, join Riley and Hattie as they take a trip to the Gifted Carnival, an event held by the Gifted Clans that allows for even saram people to experience magic hidden in plain sight. However, when a faceless ghost comes and begins freezing children to try to kidnap them, Riley and Hattie must figure out how to defeat her. I enjoyed reading this one, seeing the various types of magic that we started learning about in The Last Fallen Star get expanded upon more. Riley is still pretty sad that she's saram, but she's got a storm coming. I also loved reading all the descriptions of the festival - I certainly wish I could attend something like that (minus the ghost, of course).

My Life as a Child Outlaw by Rick Riordan

I found this to be the saddest of the stories in this collection. Follow Demne through the course of his two years as a Child Outlaw, constantly running for his life due to a father he has never met. This was a fun introduction to Celtic mythology, which I had never learned before. I found myself really feeling for Demne as he continually tried and failed to find a place to settle and belong.

One of the fun things that I loved were a few references I caught as I was reading these stories of the other heroes in this anthology. It felt very much like the Easter Eggs that you might see if you were watching an MCU movie, which made catching them super fun.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading these and can't wait to see what comes next!

Thank you to Disney Publishing Worldwide, Rick Riordan Presents, and NetGalley for the ARC.
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If you are a fan of even one Rick Riordan Presents story, this anthology is a must. Some stories take place after series have already ended and may contain spoilers or references, but its still worth reading every story as a teaser or a continuation alike, plus the original stories within as well!
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I really, really wanted to give this book 5 stars.  I have loved all of the Rick Riordan Presents books I have read, so I was really looking forward to this compilation.  I admit I have not read all of the books, and I think that is why I struggled with this one.  For some of the stories, I just didn't have the background knowledge to really understand what was happening. 

My favorite stories were The Loneliest Demon (Sarwat Chadda), The Demon Drum  (Rebecca Roanhorse), and My Life as a Child Outlaw (Rick Riordan).  Of these three, Rebecca Roanhorse was the one I was not familiar with, but that did not impact my enjoyment of this story.  These three had the best pacing and humor that is typical of all the books in the collection.

I still would recommend this book, although I would recommend not reading it straight through.
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The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities is out now. While Rick Riordan is no stranger to short story collections, this time it includes the other authors from his Presents line of books. Ten different writers grace the 464 pages of this book. Myths from all over the world and most of the continents are represented. At first glance, it’s a bold experiment. 

Rick Riordan perfected his style in his earlier Percy Jackson books. There’s a spunky hero, usually a bit sarcastic, who feels out of place among their school and family. At times, it follows the Joseph Campbell’s Hero Journey with reluctance at their calling. Along the way, the reader is either introduced or reacquainted with classic mythology. His Presents line replicates this success by finding other authors that have a similar style to write about the mythology from their specific upbringing instead of having a white guy write about Anansi. At the bookstore, Riordan’s series are available as a set with all Book Ones together. There is also a set of all Book Ones from the Presents line. Those sets can feel intimidating, but this book serves the same purpose in one volume. It makes a lot more sense for one book to introduce a variety of heroes for the reader to pursue afterwards. 

Telling a short story is a skill. All these authors have published full-length books so it’s clear some forgot how to write a shorter tale or never had it. These weaker stories have pacing problems, depending too much on telling instead of showing. However, they’re very few. The majority of stories have a natural starting place and a believable flow, making one eager to start the next one. 

One of the stand-out “Calamities” is Kwame Mbalia’s tale about the Gum Baby. She’s a modern retelling of the “tar baby” from the Uncle Remus stories and such a delight that Tristan Strong’s absence wasn’t felt until that last line. I’d still love an adaptation of the Strong series just to see how they would work in the jokes about "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah". Another favorite is by Tehlor Kay Meija. I admit that I’m a sucker for Chupacabra stories. They’ve been spotted in my county before. Also, Rebecca Roanhorse’s story was very memorable complete with science leading to the villain being vanquished. 

New readers won’t be lost joining in on these heroes’ journeys already in progress. Current readers will love the continuation and hints towards the next book in that series. The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities is a fantastic collection of stories from myths across the globe. Every protagonist commands our attention and encouragement. Go check it out at your favorite local bookseller, online store or library!

6/8

P.S. If you’re an email subscriber for Disney Books, their current email has a deal to download the first Tristan Strong book for just 99 cents!
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Thank you to NetGalley and Disney Publishing Worldwide for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

My excitement at getting an ARC of Rick Riordan’s newest novel was just as exciting as when I opened the first page of Percy Jackson all those years ago! However, my excitement only continued to grow as I was about to be reunited with all the characters that I have come to love under the Rick Riordan Presents Imprint.

Having read all the books under the Rick Riordan Presents Imprint, I quickly jumped back into the worlds of the characters that I have loved reading about over the past few years. This anthology collection was the perfect little snippet into the lives of the characters that I have missed, and or it could be seen as an ideal introduction to all these wonderful characters, their adventures, and unique mythologies with some minor spoilers.

Rick Riordan’s contribution to the anthology was a first in a foray into Celtic Mythology, and the story of Demne only left me wanting more!

In fact, the entire book left me wanting more of all the characters and their stories.

I will defiantly be adding The Cursed Carnival and other Calamities to my shelf when it releases tomorrow!
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I gave this book 3 stars over all. There are ten stories in this book and some received a 4 star and some a 3 star. Now for the stories and the rating I gave them.

Calamity Juice By: Carlos Hernandez. I gave this story 4 stars. I haven’t read any of his books but this story fun to read. I now want to go the other stories he wrote with these characters. The characters are able to go to other universes by just relaxing and thinking their way there. This is about them going to find a fellow classmate who was kidnaped by a rainbow unicorn.
Beware the Grove of True Love By: Roshani Chokski. I gave this story 3 stars. It was actually the shortest story in the book. This is about Aru who is being taught that love can go the distance but can also be forgotten.
The Cave of Doom By: J. C. Cervantes. I gave this story 3 stars. This is about two girls who go on a vacation to spend a few days together before one has to help her father. On their way they go check out an area that is said to have a human child who is being held and no one seems to know about it. They go investigate and find out it is a human at but a demon. They have an interesting time trying to get reid of the demon.
The Initiation By: Yoon Ha Lee. I gave this story 4 stars. I actually like this story better than the book. This is where the main character goes to a school to learn how to fight but has to keep her ghost brother a secret and the fact that she can shape shift into a fox. Her trials start before she evens get into the school. Upon her arrival things go hay wire in the dock. Then on day three things really go hay wire. Things are revealed and they learn how to work together to solve them.
The Gum Baby Files By: Kwame Mbalia. I gave this story 3 stars. This is about Gum baby who goes on a field trip with two children and then notices a ghost like figure following behind. This is ghost is stealing things to change history. Gum Baby is determine to stop this ghost but doesn’t know how.
The Demon Drum By: Rebecca Roanhorse. It is Pow Wow Day and everyone is going to this big event. All you can hear this one drum and it is making thing taste funny and people are getting into fights. What is causing all this angry. They discover one of the drums is making a different sound. How is this mystery solved and why is the drum doing this. I gave this story 4 stars.
Bruto and the Freaky flower By: Tehlor Kay Mejia. I gave this story 4 stars. Paola’s dog Bruto is sick and he needs this flower to heal him. This flower is on the banks of a river near her home. It seems like an easy task to retrieve this flower but of course nothing seems as it should.
The Loneliest Demon By: Sarwat Chadda. I gave this story 4 stars. This demon was left over from the battle. The gates closed before she could return home. There is no one there to help her return. She goes to the boy who sent them all back to ask for his help. He does try but isn’t able to. She try’s on her own and things happen.
My night at the Gifted Carnival By: Grace Kim. I gave this story 4 stars. This is about two sisters who go to the carnival for the gifted. All the witches are out and things happen. They have to save some children before they are taken to the under world to live the rest of their lives.
My Life as a Child Outlaw By: Rick Riordan. I gave this story 3 stars. This is about a boy who is raised by two women out in the forest because his father is killed and his mother remarries but her new husband doesn’t want him around. He is being chased by his father’s killer and finds himself on the run several different times. On these runs he learns new skills and meet some interesting people.
I enjoyed the book over all even though I usually don’t read short stories. I have read most of these authors before and for the ones I have not I will be picking up the full novels about the characters they talked about.
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