Between writing a new book every six months, Rick Riordan has managed to put together quite a few short stories that take place in the large fictional universe of Percy Jackson, the Kane siblings, and Magnus Chase, and with "Camp Half-Blood Confidential" and "Hotel Valhalla Guide to the Norse Worlds" coming out soon, there's sure to be new short stories from him in the coming months. So if you've never read the short stories or just want to relive them, in preparation for whatever Rick Riordan has in store for us and for the newest addition to the Camp Half-Blood series, "The Dark Prophecy," on May 2nd, here is every Percy Jackson short story, ranked from good to best (excluding the crossover stories with the Kane Chronicles because let's face it, all three of them would top the list).
7. Percy Jackson and the Staff of Hermes
Though this story reveals some of the only moments we're allowed in on from between the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series and "The Heroes of Olympus," as well as the first chronological moments of Percy and Annabeth as a couple, it is basically the short story version of a filler episode on television. It hints at the overarching plot of "HoO" with its giants and gods, but it doesn't exactly add or take away from the story much. That's not to say it's a bad story, since it does give that glimpse into the early stages of Percy and Annabeth's relationship and still has that signature humor that's integral to Rick Riordan's writing, and it's especially worth a read simply for the mental image of Percy in a formal suit at the end.
6. Leo Valdez and the Quest for Buford
This story is fun and light, like "The Staff of Hermes," though it places a little higher on the list mainly for one moment, when Piper and Jason realize that they are standing where the Battle of the Labyrinth took place and explain that campers pass stories about it and consider the site cursed. Looks into how life at camp operates after the original series are rare, so this moment where we get to see the original stories becoming legends, however brief, is enough to award it some points. The story is also the only one to focus on the new characters of the second series (though I'm still waiting on a story focusing on the "Son of Neptune" trio), and provides some context to the presence of Buford in the later "HoO" books, though he doesn't play so large a role that it is essential to read this story for it. It's more worth it for the few cute moments between one of the series' newest trios.
5. Percy Jackson and the Singer of Apollo
The most recent books from Rick Riordan have lacked one especially important character: Grover. A few fans have actually pointed out that the way his character is treated now is almost like one might treat a television character while the actor is on a break, only brought into the story through vague references about where they might be, which is a shame considering he's meant to be Percy's best friend. This short story finally brought Grover back into the canon and its a completely refreshing change. Percy and Grover's friendship was part of the heart of the original story, so getting a story that focuses on the two of them, especially with the reintroduction of Percy's first person narrative after "HoO," is exciting, and because the story takes them back to Rick Riordan's roots.
4. Percy Jackson and the Stolen Chariot
As anyone who's spoken to me for more than five minutes knows, Clarisse is one of my favorite characters from any of Rick Riordan's books. So, getting an entire story completely centered around getting to understand her character more and get beneath the surface of the tough facade that was slowly being chipped away within the arc leading upto "The Stolen Chariot," as well as seeing Percy having to get along with her long enough that they can complete a short quest together is basically the perfect recipe for any short story in my book.
3. Percy Jackson and the Bronze Dragon
This story is nearly tied with "The Stolen Chariot," but manages to surpass it because it showcases friendships that were only hinted at in the original series and gives a lot of emotional weight to the events of "The Last Olympian." Silena and Beckendorf's relationship both with each other and with Percy and Annabeth is a large part of the original series' final installment, so this story's focus on shaping them into fuller characters actually proves crucial to the larger overarching plotline and to making their scenes in the last book really hit hard (though my only wish is that it included some of Clarisse and Silena's relationship, since that, too, is one that is integral to "The Last Olympian" but receives little attention in the previous books). This story also introduces Festus a series before he will become an actual part of the story, which has always been a cool easter egg, especially since it connects the two sons of Hephaestus despite them never meeting.
2. The Diary of Luke Castellan
It's honestly hard for me to put this story in second place, because it comes very close to becoming number one. Whether or not you like Luke at all, you have to admit he is an intriguing character, and this story is told entirely in first person from his perspective years before the events of "The Lightning Thief" would even occur. It's filled with frankly heartbreaking foreshadowing for what is to come for Luke, as well as new characterization for him. The implications of Luke knowing his choices would change the world and the idea of Luke keeping that diary in an effort to make the right decisions throughout the later books provide a new way of looking at his character. The story also provides a clear dichotomy between the way Percy thinks and the way Luke thinks, from small things like the fact that Percy brings up superheroes and cartoons where Luke uses "Gone With the Wind" to describe his surroundings, to larger aspects like the way Luke remains more focused and serious in a way that only comes out of Percy if a situation is seriously dire, while still remaining loyal to the similarities between them that make Percy's struggle with Luke so difficult down the line, like their dedication to the family they've made and the extreme and self-deprecating sarcasm they use to combat life. Even if you're not interested in Luke's character, though, the story also focuses on Thalia, another of the series' best characters, and Annabeth's introduction to their makeshift family. This trio is one that interacts as a trio very rarely in the books, so the chance to see them when they were still a trio and family and not pinned against each other as they are when they meet again in "The Titan's Curse" really makes this story special.
1. Percy Jackson and the Sword of Hades
Despite the importance of children of the Big Three in the original series, Thalia, Percy, and Nico were not really seen together after their initial meeting in "The Titan's Curse." "The Sword of Hades" remedies this, as the three of them are each led into each others paths and set on a quest to stop Ethan Nakamura from escaping the underworld with a weapon essential to the coming Titan war. The story begins like many of the short stories lower on the list do, with a god setting the demigods on a quest, but the story takes a turn from the usual formula when Percy is poisoned by the rake of a Keres' claw and forced to narrate through the fog it leaves as it slowly drains him. Suddenly, the story becomes far more personal, invites gentler moments between the three of them, two of whom are not too keen on expressing affection and had been at Percy's throat not a book ago, and no longer has a stable narrator to make sure the story is told correctly, leaving the story with holes in time as Percy loses himself. The story also has the trio facing multiple characters from Greek myths, one of the most effective being Melinoe, who appears in the form of the ghosts of dead loved ones and brings some of Nico and Thalia's past back to the surface, and features some moments that will become important later, from the obvious, like Percy meeting Iapetus/Bob, to the subtle, like Nico being transported at the beginning of the story from a New Orleans graveyard, a reference to his soon-to-be-introduced undead sister, Hazel. Like some of the other top stories on this list, the story's defining characteristic is its ability to bring together characters that are rarely seen together in the novels, this time especially focused on family, from Nico's dedication to his father to his and Thalia's guilt over the deaths of their mothers to their shared concern for Percy as he struggles to tell their story, a focus that rounds out the story and prepares the overall arc for the final installment of the series, "The Last Olympian."
With "The Dark Prophecy" on its way, there's sure to be more short stories in this universe, so is there a storyline you'd like to see play out in a new short story?