Cover Image: The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities

The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

*I received this book (Via eArc by Netgalley) for free from the Publisher (Disney Publishing Worldwide / Rick Riordan presents) in exchange for an honest review* 

I think this was a fun way to get some introduction to some of the list go the Rick Riordan presents. Some of them I was super interested to read the series but also I am very much familiar with the Aru Shah so it was nice to see more into the stories and the character. I was also surprised to see a chapter of Rick Riordan's story based off of Celtic Irish mythology which I knew that he was gonna be writing but I didn't expect that it would be in the short story collection. I think if you love Rick Riordan and different mythologies in general, you will enjoy this a lot. I am looking forward to reading more and getting more into the Rick Riordan presents list. 

*Thanks again to the publisher and Netgalley for the review copy*
Was this review helpful?
I received an electronic ARC from Disney Publishing Worldwide through NetGalley.
Short stories from each of the current Riordan Presents universes. Readers see known heroes engage in new adventures that fit somewhere among their longer books. These tales provide further information about each hero and series in one book. Occasionally, readers even see some overlap among the multiverses. Could serve as an introductory book so readers select the characters they want to learn more about. Great book to introduce readers to the wide variety of myths and legends in our world.
Was this review helpful?
The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities is an anthology of short stories edited by Rick Riordan, who also contributes a story. The other authors who contributed to this anthology are authors who have published books under Rick Riordan Presents, a publishing imprint that focuses on diversity and mythology. These authors are Carlos Hernandez; who has written a new story for his Sal and Gabi series, Roshani Chokshi; who has written a new story for her Pandava series, J.C. Cervantes; who has written a new story for her Storm Runner series, Yoon Ha Lee; who has written a new story for his Dragon Pearl series, Kwame Mbalia; who has written a new story for his Tristan Strong series, Rebecca Roanhorse; who has written a new story for her book Race to the Sun, Tehlor Kay Mejia; who has written a new story for her Paola Santiago series, Sarwat Chadda; who has written a new story for his book City of the Plague God, and Graci Kim; who has written a new story for her Gifted Clans series.

This anthology was so much fun to read. I haven’t read all the books for Rick Riordan Presents, but this book makes me want to fix that!
Was this review helpful?
These stories were wild, intriguing, and eccentric.

I haven't read any of the middle grade Rick Riordan presents books... But now I definitely want to! The characters in these stories were strong willed and determined, they made mistakes but learned from them.

This is definitely a book i will be purchasing for my own kid to read. I think they will absolutely love these characters and stories.

Was this review helpful?

Calamity Juice: 2⭐- low rating only because I was extremely confused, given that I haven't read the duology😂

Beware the Grove of True Love: 3.5⭐- my sweet potato bbs🥲

The Cave of Doom: 4⭐- okayyyy, this one was SO good. I should probably read the trilogy, huh?

The Initiation: 4⭐- I really liked this one. The element of mystery and suspense was *chef's kiss*

The Gum Baby Files: 4⭐- I just really love Gum Baby💜

The Demon Drum: 5⭐- I don't know what it was about this story, but I LURVED it

Bruto and the Freaky Flower: 4⭐- made me excited to read Paola's sequel

The Loneliest Demon: 4⭐- this was super cute and I'm excited to pick up his book soon

My Night at the Gifted Carnival: 2⭐- oof. I didn't really like this one. Alot of internal whining and a very rushed ending😕

My Life as a Child Outlaw: 3⭐- this one was.... interesting

All in all, a fun and imaginative collection of short stories that I really enjoyed. Fans of any and all titles from Rick Riordan Presents will like this one alot. 

* thanks to the publisher for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is a great sampler of the Rick Riordan Presents series.  I was partly excited because I thought the stories were linked or tied together like an epic crossover or some type of literary relay race.  It was just standalone short stories, though, so that was a bit upsetting.  All in all, it was ok.  Many of the stories were good.  A couple I didn't care for, which is what you get in short story collections.
Was this review helpful?
This anthology collection is a good way to decide which of the Rick Riordan Presents somebody would like to try, as well as getting more of some of their favorite characters. Plus getting a new story from Rick Riordan is always plus. Would definitely recommend to anyone who like Percy Jackson or any of the Rick Riordan Presents.
Was this review helpful?
I wanted to read The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities when I saw that Rebecca Roanhorse was one of the short story writers. I've read all of her books and enjoyed them.

Since I'm not between 8 and 12 years old, I might not be the best for reviewing this collection of hero stories. Maybe if I put a month between reading each selection I would have enjoyed them more. The problem with reading them one after another was that they sounded too much alike.

Different kids with different abilities, sometimes from different places in the universe, yet they all seemed just the same. Each hero managed dialogue that was witty even when they were about to be eaten, killed, squashed, whatever. Friends and enemies were snarky toward each other. There was usually a clueless adult. And, don't get me started on eyeball rolling. I think characters rolled their eyes in every story. I know tweens roll their eyes, but everybody, all the time, in every story? I'm going to have to buy a second eyeball-roll-o-meter to keep up with all the optical athletics. 

I did like Ms. Roanhorse's story even if the character's eyeballs were unhinged. The good news was that her protagonist realized her snarkiness might keep her from being a good friend and changed her ways, if not her eyeball theatrics.

I might not be crazy about this anthology, but 6th graders would probably love it.  Me, I just rolled my eyes at the stories.

Thanks to Netgalley for an advance readers digital copy in return for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
My coworkers and patrons of all ages at my library are fans of Riordan and his presents line, so this will probably be another addition to our collection. This is a great addition to the various novels about the characters that we love. This is a short story collection best read once being caught up with the various characters and books for a more enjoyable read without any spoilers. I was very excited to see that Rick Riordan included Celtic mythology, which is one of my favorite mythologies other than Norse. It was something new, and I really liked it, but I'd have preferred "My Life as a Child Outlaw" fleshed out into a book rather than a short story. It could be a test to see how it goes and if the story interests people, so I understand starting with a short story. That being said, I hope that Demne will get his own book!
Was this review helpful?
I thought this was such a fun read. I loved reading all these stories following the presents characters. They were all super fun and short stories. I thought some of them could have used a bit more basic info i felt a tad lost not having been caught up on the current books. I also really am now more motivated to actually catch up. I also just thought the stories were fun and dived into smaller assets of mythology . I also really liked learning about Irsh mythology.
Was this review helpful?
I'm not usually a lover of short stories. By the time I fall in love with the characters and wonder about the plot, the story is over and I find myself left wanting more. However, these short stories connect to all the universes that I've already fallen in love with. They each give me one more chance to see a beloved partnership or team in action, to hear their voices. I highly recommend for any child or library that has the Rick Riordan presents series... Even if you haven't read one of the particular series, you'll still enjoy the story. And, it might even have you picking up a new story! This imprint is truly such a treasure for elevating the voices and stories that have historically so often been silenced.
Was this review helpful?
I love this book and how it ties in all the characters we have grown to love so much! These short stories are so much fun and really take us back into the worlds we became familiar with. I think younger readers will absolutely adore this.
Was this review helpful?
Full disclosure I have not read all the series that the characters in the short stories are in and I am definitely thinking I need to change that since they are all so amazing.  We get stories from many of the Rick Riordan Presents series so we get little side adventures with Sal and Gabi, Aru Shah and the rest of the Pandavas, Zane Obispo amongst many, many others.  I have a to read shelf that only keeps increasing and I'm not mad about it at all.
Was this review helpful?
1. Calamity Juice By Carlos Hernandez: Apparently rainbows smell like horse barf! Going into this story, I have not read the Sal and Gabi books. I feel that I have been spoiled a little bit so my review may contain things that aren't rally spoilery or are spoilers. This story just made me want to pick up Sal and Gabi Break The Universe even more. I love the sarcasm these kids have. I give this story a 3 star. I like the sarcasm and the humor and the different universes. I just don't know that background and anything about Cuban mythology right now.

2. Beware the Grove of True Love By Roshani Chokshi: Aru Shah was the first of the ick Riordan presents books to be published and I have read all 4 out loud to my kids and we are patiently waiting for the fifth and (final) book of the quartet. 

Brynne: "You guys are chickens."

Aru: "yeah, well, you're the only one who can actually turn into one"

I love being back in this world with Aru, Mini and Brynne.

I give this story a 4 star. I know where it lands in the Aru Shah quintet and the Grove of True Love had me hooked. But reading this after reading book 4 and new details and traitors are announced, I was just heartbroken because the girls didn't know they were being lied to.

3. The Cave of Doom by J.C. Cervantes: I read The Storm Runner and was introduced to Zane Obispo earlier this year. My kids were learning about the Ancient Maya and the Storm Runner is Mexican/Mayan mythology. You definitely have to read the first book before reading this story ecause it does spoil some things. I am also pretty sure that this comes after the second book, which I have not read. There is a connection to Calamity Juice in this short story. I give this story a 4 out of 5.

4. The Initiation by Yoon Ha Lee: I have not read Dragon Pearl, so if I spoil something I am sorry. From what I have read so far, I need to pick the first book up soon. Space cadets, spies and she can turn into a fox. I am so intrigued. Also I am very suspicious of the thing that she had to give up to her handler. I give this a 3.5 out of 5. While I was enjoying the shape shifting and the investigation, my mind did start to wander and I was a little bored.

5. The Gum Baby Files by Kwame Mbalia: I have not read Tristan Strong series yet. It has been high on my list of RR Presents books to read and I own the first book. Also, Gum Baby was mentioned in The Cave of Doom or Calamity Juice. So there is another connection I believe. I loved the conversation between Granny Z and Gum Baby. I need to learn more about Gum Baby because she is a little spitfire. 

"Gum Baby thought about turning over a new leaf, but she couldn't reach the tree and somebody swept all the leaves off the ground, so she hasn't done it yet."

I give this story a 4 out of 5. It includes the civil rights movement and that history needs to be fought for or else it will be forgotten. 

6. The Demon Drum by Rebecca Roanhorse: I own Race to the Sun and I know that it is based on Navajo mythology. Race to the Sun is a standalone, so I wonder if this will be a bridge to a sequel or connect to another story in this anthology. I had oral surgery two days ago and I am on a soft food diet and reading about the food at the powwow was torture. I want to try some frybread. Hell, I want bread and coffee!

I am giving this story a 3 out of 5. It was faced pace, but I wanted more action. I loved the intertribal connections. I would have liked to have known the backstory of the demon drum.

7. Bruto and the Freaky Flower by Tehlor Kay Mejia: Once again, I am starting to sound like a broken record but I have not read the Paola Santiago series yet. I will be hosting a blog tour spot on the sequel that is coming out this month in this series and I own the first book. This series is based on Latin mythology and it features a mythical figure that I have read about earlier this year in a different mythology based novel, and that is La Llorona. 

I am picturing Bruto as Dante from Coco and the freaky flower reminds me of the corpse flower that is native to Sumatra. I am giving this story a 5 out of 5. I just loved it. It had the right amount of humor with the starburst. Bruto being sick and on the verge of death had me very upset. Fighting the monster for the rank flower and the other puppies wallowing in the red goo brought a very painful smile to my face.

"Monsters are made, not born"

8. The Loneliest Demon by Sarwat Chadda: I read City of the Plague God when it was released and I found one of my favorite Minor characters in that book. I am hoping that this will lead to an eventual sequel because right now the book is a stand alone. I love how Sik's mom was so chill about the demon wanting a duel, and the customer thinking it was someone doing a cosplay from Sabrina.

Apparently Ishtar played matchmaker to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Rabisu has to be one of my favorite demons. She used her horns and tail as an advantage to get an elevator at the UN. Smart demon of deformities. My favorite part has to be the battle in the subway tunnel against the old ones and Sik complaining of a back ache and Rabisu automatically saying it wasn't her fault. There was also a connection to Sal and Gabi and the rainbow unicorn. I give this story a 5 out of 5. 

9. My Night at the Gifted Carnival by Graci Kim: I have not yet read The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim and I own the book. This book was one of my anticipated books of May and it is Korean mythology. Once again, Sal and Gabi are mentioned on the very first page of this story while riding the unicorn. 

I feel sad for Riley because she is not a natural born witch and she is having all of that shoved in her face at this carnival and her sister Hattie is completely blind to Riley's sadness. 

I really need to pick up the first book in this series because I am lost on the realms and the clan types. I want to know why Riley's family decided to adopt her knowing that she didn't have any magical abilities and would be an outsider for the rest of her life. I like the different layers of Hell. I give this story a 4 out of 5. I love the myth of the Dalgyal Gwisin and it being a mother who lost her child and wanting to steal children. The gifted carnival was an awesome setting and the strongwoman was a beast.

10. My Life as a Child Outlaw by Rick Riordan: Rick Riordan is the master of middle grade mythology. This is his first foray into writing Celtic mythology. I know nothing about Celtic mythology and that is horrible because I have Scottish ancestry. The back story about Demne's dad is confusing and why he was hiding in the woods with his foster mothers is intriguing. Not my favorite story so far. 

Demne having a bounty on his head since the womb reminds of male lions when they take over a pride, they kill the cubs so they have no competition when the cubs are fully grown. He didn't really grieve over the six men he was traveling with and he hated killing with the reaver. 

He is now a vengeful little boy who wants to avenge his father's death and take back what is his. While he is on the run for the final time, he keeps going into these tribes asking for a job and he is accidentally giving himself away with his hunting and gaming skills. The kings keep turning him away because they don't want him killed under their roof. 

The glossary of Irish names at the end was a nice touch and very needed.  I give this story a 3 out of 5.

My overall rating for this book is a 4 out of 5 stars.
Was this review helpful?
NetGalley ARC Educator 550974

All of your favorite characters are back in this twisted carnival. Of you are a fan of Riordan and his conglomerate of authors you will love this book. If you've never had the pleasure to read any of his books or the other authors, this is a great place to start. 

The tales will have you experiencing an array of emotion and have you thirsting for more.aybe we'll get a movie out of this. Fingers crossed.
Was this review helpful?
As someone who has always wanted to read the Rick Riordan Presents Series, but never found time, this was the perfect introduction. I got a taste for every series, and now know exactly what series/ authors I'll be picking up. Though I enjoyed all of the short stories, my favorites were absolutely The Gum Baby Files and Calamity Juice. 

A warning to readers: the stories start at different points in their series. Some take place after the first book, the second, the finale, so there may be some slight spoilers for certain series. Personally, I didn't mind because none of the spoilers were too unpredictable (granted I haven't read the first novels), and I don't think I'll remember every detail, since you are introduced to so many different magic systems at once.

By far the most interesting part of the novel was Rick Riordan's contribution. He writes about Celtic mythology, which he has hinted to be interested in for awhile. It's VERY different from his other series. The tone is dark, the writing is stripped down. There are moments were you see Riordan's distinctive comedy, but humor is not the focus on the piece. While it was a bit jarring at first, especially in comparison to the lighter stories ahead of it, it was nice to see Riordan try something new! 

In my review, I gave The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities 4.5/5 stars, but have rounded up on Netgalley. I highly recommend checking it out.
Was this review helpful?
Things Got Out of Hand

This book is a lot of fun for readers who can’t get enough of Rick Riordan Presents books. It is very helpful to read the books before starting this collection of short stories. The majority of stories reference previous plots and characters, jumping right into the narrative. Filled with diversity, culture, universe traveling, and adventure! A brief warning for the squeamish, Sal and Gabi have a whole story about unicorn puke. Though all the characters are wonderful in their own way, I enjoyed catching up with Aru Shah as she learns love is dangerous, in the Grove of True Love. Gum Baby is hilarious as usual, proving she is a hero by saving Ayanna, Junior, and the memories of past heroes in The Gum Baby Files. It was great to have follow-up stories for standalone books. Min and her ghost brother Jun make new friends when agent training camp gets dangerous, and Nizhoni works with her Ancestor Club friends to defeat a demon drum. Each short story is as creative as the books, and leaves you wanting more. 

The final story is written by Rick Riordan, and is not based on any of his previous or presently announced books. This short story is filled with interesting Irish history, a historical setting, skin disease, and death. Eight-year-old Demne described in one word is “special”, and is about as humble and sarcastic as Apollo. His childishness is endearing, as he struggles to find his purpose. This is a darker tale of growing up, that ends in a serious cliffhanger. It does not quite follow, or end, the lighthearted theme of this book. Again, this collection of short stories is a wonderful follow up to the Rick Riordan Presents books, with hopefully more books to come.
Was this review helpful?
Okay, now that was a fun ride!  I am definitely picking up a finished copy of this once it's out. Fair warning, however: there do seem to be spoilers about if you haven't read the series that these short stories are based in (here being the various mythology-based series of the Rick Riordan Imprint of Disney Hyperion). I personally have only read the Aru Shah series out of all of the ones included in this book, but I absolutely adore that series, so when I heard we'd get a tiny bit more of those characters in this one, I had to try my hand at getting a copy from NetGalley. And while I may not have been familiar with the characters of the other stories, this book made me want to pick more of them up. I've been saying that this year I'd try to get to more series in that imprint, and this might have been the final push I need.

Every single story held within this book was so much fun; they all immediately drew me in and made me want to keep reading. And while, yes, there do seem to be spoilers for some of the other books in this imprint held within these stories, none of the stories themselves were confusing to new readers for that reason. It felt like each story had little recap moments that not only introduced the world and characters and their past adventures to new readers, but also informed the reader as to what sort of mythology the story was centered around (without it feeling like beating you over the head with a ton of information before the short story could get off the ground, if that makes sense).

Plus, there are fun little easter eggs if you read through the entire book! Certain characters are mentioned across various stories (one particular unicorn might just show up in quite a few of them, if you keep your eyes peeled!), which just really reinforced the... family sort of feeling that this imprint has. I love how easily all these stories could intertwine and play off each other, which is a fun idea of the new Disney+ reboot of Percy Jackson ends up doing well. Like the Marvel or DC cinematic universes, there's room to expand is what I'm saying. I'd love to see some of these other series get the same treatment down the line!

This collection also was the first introduction to Riordan's possible future Celtic mythology series, and it was really interesting! (Side note: thank you for the Irish name pronunciation guide at the end of this story! I always love a good pronunciation guide. I want to be able to hear names correctly in my head as I read along.) I can't wait to see if more eventually comes out about this particular character. It's definitely going to be a book to watch out for.

All in all, this is a really great sampler of the series that the Rick Riordan Imprint currently is working with (or has possibly upcoming, in the case of Riordan's own aforementioned Celtic story). If you've ever thought about starting in on any of the books contained within the imprint, or are just a lover of mythological-based books, then this is worth picking up.

(Review cross-posted to goodreads.)
Was this review helpful?
This is a fun collection of short stories, made specifically for fans of all the Rick Riordan Presents novels. While you technically can follow some stories even if you haven’t read the corresponding work, I don’t think it is as enjoyable. It’s fun to see these extra glimpses, but I think this mostly just added to my TBR pile since I’ve only read half of the other books!
Was this review helpful?
This is a nice collection of short stories that will introduce readers to the authors featured under the Rick Riordan Presents imprint.  It is a great way for students to get a feel for the authors and their style.  It could also be used by teachers/librarians to introduce students to those authors.
Was this review helpful?