Update from Rick, Aug. 8

A weekly update from Rick:

Hi, guys! I hope everyone is doing well. Here is an update on what’s been happening over the last week.

Paola Santiago is going strong!

We are so proud to be publishing Tehlor Kay Mejia’s wonderful Paola Santiago and the River of Tears. The book came out on Tuesday, and if you haven’t yet gotten a copy, order herePaola Santiago, a modern take on the La Llorona legend, has already gotten four starred reviews and a flood of great responses from readers.  I’ve been off social media, but I also hear from Becky that the book has been optioned for TV/film by Eva Longoria. So cool!

A starred review for Tristan Strong 2!

The first advance review for Kwame Mbalia’s brilliant sequel Tristan Strong Destroys the World arrived this week in Kirkus, and it’s a star! Here’s the whole review below. The book will be out October 6 and I can’t wait for you guys to read it!

Tristan Strong is back in this sequel to Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (2019).
A month’s passed since rising eighth grader Tristan’s first adventure in Alke, the world where African American folktale heroes are gods who live alongside African deities. Tristan’s now an Anansesem, “a carrier and spreader of stories,” and after the Shamble Man, a new foe, kidnaps his grandmother and takes her back to Alke, he follows, determined to rescue her. Tristan heads off on an adventure that will challenge his reluctant hero-ness (realistically, this aspect of his character hasn’t changed) and force him to reckon with the truth: Though he saved Alke, he was also the reason Alke was in danger in the first place. Fans of the first book will cheer the return of old friends, like capable, reliable Ayanna; the ever quippy Gum Baby (who steals the show, as per usual); and cellphone-bound trickster Anansi, and appreciate the new characters. The ending is nothing short of earth-shattering, promising a fascinating next entry. Well-paced—just like the previous installment—this sequel focuses on themes such as the meaning of diaspora and the effects of trauma, making for a more nuanced and stronger story than the first. The human characters are Black with varying shades of brown skin.
Packs a punch. (map) (Fantasy. 10-14)
Shadowcrosser is coming next month!
Less than ONE MONTH before the finale of Jen Cervantes’ incredible Maya-inspired trilogy Stormrunner series comes out. It’s hard to believe The Shadow Crosser is almost here, but even harder to believe that Jen’s books just keep. getting. better. How does she do it? The book is out on Sept. 1, but don’t wait. Preorder now!
The Tower of Nero tour!
If you missed the news last week, we now have dates and locations for the Tower of Nero tour in October. Everything is virtual. Each store will charge “admission” for the live online event, but that admission is basically the price of a book, which will be delivered to you, signed, with a special gift for participating. (And you’re going to love the gift. Wait until you see it!) Each event will be different, with special guests and special . . . um, things that happen. That’s all I can say for now, but it’s going to be hilarious. The good news is, since the events are virtual, anyone can join from anywhere, and for the price of one book, the whole family can join around the screen and watch me being goofy while I give you the latest updated news and answer questions. This is the last book in the Trials of Apollo, which is the last series in Percy Jackson’s world, so it really is the end of an era. I may decide to do stand-alone adventures featuring some PJO-based characters at some point in the future. I’m not sure yet. But there won’t be anymore big five-book series, so I hope you can join us online for one last big quest!
The Percy TV show
Not much to report that is new on this front. I know you guys are dying for updates, but it’s still very much in the early stages.
A little background: Becky and I first announced that we’d reached an agreement to bring Percy to Disney+ on May 14. At that point, we were confident that we had the deal “closed” (we had agreed on all the terms verbally) and the various entities at Disney were okay with us leaking the news to you guys, the fans. It’s safe to say your enthusiastic response made an impression on Disney! The good news: We told you as soon as we could. The bad news: We told you really early, so there was still a ton of waiting ahead of you. Since then, we’ve been having lots and lots of video meetings with our team trying to nail down the pilot script for the series. I know you probably think, “How hard can it be? Just follow the book!” But it’s really not that simple. I understood going into this that TV was a very different storytelling medium than novels, but I have developed a new appreciation for just how tricky the adaptation process is. I’ve been grateful to have a lot of experienced people helping me find my way, but we’re still a long way from an approved outline. The outline has to be just right, because it sets the tone and the pace for the entire series. It has to be faithful but fresh, true to Percy but also compelling TV. It has to be something that everyone feels great about: the folks at the streaming service, the folks at the studio, the creative team for the show, and Becky and me, who are acting as guardians of the source material. Adapting the novel right is a bit like using the Star Trek transporter, disassembling the story into billions of atoms and then reassembling it on the surface of an alien planet, and hoping it comes out right. We are not there yet. Until everyone agrees we have the right approach, I can’t promise you anything is for certain, but we are still trying hard and spending enormous amounts of time and thought to get it right. I’ll let you know when I can tell you more!
Social Media
I have to say, a break from social media is just what the proverbial doctor ordered! For the past month, I’ve been a lot more productive and a lot happier in general. I’ve been getting more reading done, writing more efficiently, and taking more time to practice my secondary language skills. I am not planning to return to active social media engagement any time soon. I will eventually start posting information more often, probably, but I will no longer be interacting with comments, searching mentions, or anything like that for the foreseeable future. It just wasn’t good for my mental health. In the meantime, I’ll try to post on the blog once a week to give you guys a round up of news. Take care, everyone, and keep reading!

Rick Riordan