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10 “Riordan Presents” Books that Deserve an On-Screen Adaptation


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by Xtreme HD IPTV

Rick Riordan came to public attention in 2005 with the release of his hugely successful series of middle-grade novels, Percy Jackson & the Olympians. The series’ popularity spawned the sequels Heroes of Olympus and Trials of Apollo, the Norse mythology spin-off Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, and the (mostly) standalone Egyptian mythology adventure series Kane Chronicles. With the recent acclaim garnered by Disney+’s adaptation of the novels, fans are wondering what comes next. However, while many are focused on the author’s own novels, many have also overlooked the fantastic “Riordan Presents” imprint in their speculations.

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Riordan Presents is an imprint of Disney-Hyperion publishing that focuses on giving promising middle-grade authors the chance to tell mythological stories from their own cultural backgrounds. Founded in 2017, the imprint has published nearly 50 novels, and with more on the way, there is plenty for new readers to sink their teeth into. With many lauding Disney+’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians as the perfect adaptation, now is the right time to mine this fascinating imprint for future series. The following 10 series are some of the most popular entries in the Riordan Presents line, and they all have incredible potential for a series adaptation.

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10 The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

Author J.C. Cervantes’ contribution to Riordan Presents, The Storm Runner series, and its sequel, The Shadow Bruja, introduces Mayan and Aztec mythologies into the modern world. Zane Obispo, a thirteen-year-old with a severe limp, spends his days exploring the dormant volcano in his New Mexico backyard with his dog Rosie. His life changes when he meets Brooks, a new transfer student, who tells him that he is the son of the Mayan creator god, Hurakan. Zane is destined to release the god of death from his prison, but with a war waging among the gods, can Zane truly hope to save the world?

The Storm Runner Series Could Bring Thrills Aplenty to Its Younger Audience

Cervantes provides readers with a fresh spin on Mayan and Aztec mythology, and there are plenty of thrills to excite readers from the very first page. Zane is a fantastic lead, and the disability representation is refreshing. A live-action adaptation of this series would be difficult to pull off, with its high intensity action, fast-paced storytelling, and explosive magical effects potentially feeling rushed. However, it would be a great way for Disney to bring their superhero-storytelling expertise, honed with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to a younger audience while helping convey the higher stakes and powerful thematic undercurrents of this stunning series.

9 The Thousand Worlds by Yoon Ha Lee

Yoon Ha Lee presents readers with an interstellar epic infused with Korean mythology in her Riordan Presents series The Thousand Worlds. The series centers on Kim Min, a young fox spirit from the planet Jinju who leaves her home after learning of her brother’s disappearance in the first book, Dragon Pearl. Kim Jun was a cadet for the Space Force, and the authorities believe that he abandoned his post to go in search of the mysterious dragon pearl. Using her mystical shapeshifting abilities, Min disguises herself as a deceased Space Force cadet and infiltrates the Pale Lightning, her brother’s final post, to investigate his disappearance.

The Vast Universe Presented in The Thousands Worlds is Ripe for Adaptation

While many Riordan Presents books fall under the urban fantasy subgenre, Lee’s series feels wholly unique as the imprint’s first space opera. It brilliantly blends its fantasy and science-fiction elements, and Lee’s ability to immerse readers into this world is incredible. There is so much potential in The Thousand Worlds series for an adaptation. With so many new worlds to explore and new magical creatures to meet, though, fans would be hooked from the start. Its more mature themes, such as death and prejudice, would also be a welcome addition that would draw in a wider audience than the middle grade label would imply.

Related: Best Sci-Fi Movies for Kids, Ranked

8 Outlaw Saints by Daniel Jose Older

Years before the start of Ballad and Dagger, the first book in Daniel Jose Older’s Outlaw Saints duology, the island of San Madrigal sank beneath the waves, forcing its denizens to find a new sanctuary. 15 years later, piano prodigy Mateo Matisse dreams of getting the attention of Gerval, his musical hero, and the annual Grand Fete celebration may just be his chance. However, while attending the festival, the evil force that sank San Madrigal returns, and a brutal murder shakes Mateo’s world. Thrust into an ancient battle, Mateo must join with Chela Hidalgo and master his newfound abilities to discover the truth behind San Madrigal’s tragic fate.

Outlaw Saints’ Older Target Audience Could Allow For More Mature Storytelling

The Outlaw Saints series is unique because it is officially listed for a young adult audience. The heavier romantic undertones could help a potential series stand out from others on Disney+, and the more serious storytelling would allow filmmakers to play with the themes and cultural elements. Santeria is rarely represented in modern media, but its inclusion in the grand mythos created for Riordan Presents is enlightening. Also, the focus on music within the series would give creators the chance to lean on some popular and classic hits, bringing the series some life and energy amidst the magical melees.

7 Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Nizhoni AIming a Bow while riding on a Giant Crow in the Cover for Race to the Sun
Disney-Hyperion

Acclaimed fantasy writer Rebecca Roanhorse takes on the wonders and horrors of Navajo tradition in her standalone novel, Race to the Sun. Nizhoni Begay can sense monsters, and while she is certain her father’s new boss, Mr. Charles, is one of the worst, her father doesn’t believe her. That is, until Mr. Charles kidnaps him, forcing Nizhoni, her brother Mac, and their friend Davery to undergo a dangerous rescue mission. Under instruction from her stuffed toad, the trio set off on a journey to the House of the Sun, where the Navajo Holy People will provide them with the weapons they need to save her father. If they first survive their trials, of course.

Race to the Sun’s Fast-Paced Adventure Provides New Perspective on Navajo Legends

Race to the Sun is one of the most exciting entries in the Riordan Presents line. It shines a light on Native American traditions that sadly go overlooked in the western world, and it creates a believable world of magical entities and loveable leads that coexists perfectly alongside our own. Roanhorse covers a lot of ground in this standalone story, and that does lead to some minor pacing issues that a series could rectify. By building on the exciting action, multifaceted characters, and dense exploration of the Hero Twins’ myth, Disney could be looking at their next sleeper hit.

6 City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda

Sarwat Chadda brings the gods of Mesopotamia to the streets of Manhattan in City of the Plague God. Sik Aziz wants nothing more than to live a normal life, but unbeknownst to him, he holds the secret to immortality. This secret draws the attention of the Mesopotamian god of the plagues, Nergal, forcing Sik to set out on an adventure to find the Flower of Immortality and stop the ancient evil from destroying his home. Joining him on his journey is Belet, a mysterious young woman and daughter of Ishtar, as well as the famed ancient hero Gilgamesh, who has turned away from his warrior past to become a gardener.

City of the Plague God Brings Real Issues to Light

City of the Plague God is one of the more human tales of mythology on this list, forcing its lead to not only encounter the demonic forces of Nergal, but the true prejudices faced by the Muslim community. It’s a more mature story for this reason, and while it has all the kid-friendly elements we expect, it never once speaks down to its reader. Its intelligently written plot also echoes many of the struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic, making it very timely upon its release in 2021. An adaptation could lean into this more mature, thematic atmosphere, telling an accessible story about race and struggle set on the backdrop of awesome battles with demons.

5 Paola Santiago by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Mexican folklore acts as the basis for Tehlor Kay Mejia’s Paola Santiago series. The first book in the series, Paola Santiago and the River of Tears, follows a young, aspiring astrologist named Paola Santiago as she is forced to set aside logic and enter the world of nightmares. For her whole life, Paola’s mother has told her to stay away from the Gila River in fear of the spirit known as La Llorona. Defying her mother’s wishes, Paola invites her friends to a secluded spot near the river to test her new telescope, but when one never arrives, Paola must accept that her mother’s stories may be true as she searches for a way to save her friend.

Paola Santiago Makes Horror Accessible to a Younger Audience

The Paola Santiago series has all the middle-grade-friendly horror of popular series like Goosebumps, bringing all the suspense and creepiness of the genre to a younger audience in a far more accessible package. It’s a thrilling series, and the use of figures from Mexican folklore is an incredible addition that brings new attention to its creepiest monsters through Paola’s three trips to the world of nightmares. More importantly, it is a great coming-of-age story, with Paola struggling with the typical challenges of growing up and the conflicting, complex emotions therein, making this an incredibly memorable mythological outing.

4 The Gifted Clans by Graci Kim

Riley Oh is the central character of Graci Kim’s Korean mythology-infused The Gifted Clans series. Riley’s family belongs to the Gom clan, an ancient line of healing witches, and her sister Hattie is ready to take her initiation test to become a full member. Riley wants nothing more than to join her, but she was born a saram, someone without magic. Before her test, though, Hattie has an idea, and through research, the pair stumbles on a spell that may let Riley share her sister’s magic. However, casting the spell breaks the rules of the Godrealm, and in order to save her sister’s life, Riley must set off on an adventure to discover who she truly is.

The Gifted Clans’ Mix of the Human and Fantastical Makes it a Must for Adaptation

Like many of the stories on this list, The Gifted Clans is an incredible coming-of-age tale, but its unique focus on different challenges such as adoption and sisterhood makes it a must-read addition to the Riordan Presents line. It is a brilliant take on Korean mythology, and while it shares a connection with Dragon Pearl, the more grounded urban fantasy of the story sets this story of gods and monsters apart from its interstellar cousin. So much of the story, from the fantastical gods to the thrilling magical battles, would be a treat in a live-action adaptation, and with such an intimate focus on Korean myths and human issues, it would be a guaranteed hit.

3 The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities

A Person entering a Big Top Tent in the Cover for The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities
Disney-Hyperion

Readers’ favorite heroes return in The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities: New Stories of Mythic Heroes. This short story collection consists of ten tales from Riordan Presents’ most beloved writers, reintroducing fans to Aru Shah, Kim Min, Sik Aziz, Nizhoni Begay, and many others in new and harrowing adventures. The collection also features a story directly from Riordan himself, though this features a brand-new hero inspired by Irish mythology. Take an epic journey through time and the multiverse as these beloved heroes confront some of their greatest challenges yet in this exciting anthology series.

The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities Would Allow for Brief Glimpses Into Many Different Cultures

The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities doesn’t make this list for any particular story but for its style of storytelling. The anthology’s focus allows for a number of quick glances at different mythologies, introducing readers to new corners of the world without overwhelming them with dense lore or extensive world-building. None of the stories in this collection need to be adapted directly (though they are all excellent), and doing so may be confusing for those unaccustomed to the other stories in this imprint. With that said, a series of new stories introducing these mythologies to a younger audience could lead to massive success.

Related: 15 Amazing Disney Theories That Have Us Convinced

2 Tristan Strong by Kwame Mbalia

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky is the first book of the Tristan Strong series by Kwame Mbalia, and it brings together West African mythology with African-American folktales. Tristan Strong is recovering after the tragic loss of his friend, but while he spends the summer with his grandparents, a mysterious creature attempts to steal his friend’s journal of stories. Trying to stop it, Tristan accidentally punches open a hole to the Midpass, where new and ancient gods battle strange iron monsters. In order to close the rift, Tristan must team with John Henry and Brer Rabbit to track down the missing god Anansi and convince the trickster to help.

Tristan Strong’s Important Mythological Focus Is the Perfect Recipe for an Adaptation

One of the most inspiring elements of the Tristan Strong series is that it is an ode to storytelling. Tristan’s powers come from his stories, and he can literally change the world with his words. This leads to some incredible thematic connections, but it also provides for some extraordinary potential as an adapted series. The mind-bending visuals described in the book may be difficult to adapt, but it would be a thrilling experiment for filmmakers. It is also unique in its blend of folktales and traditional mythology, tracking the history of the African people through the stories that they told, and that in itself makes it an important narrative perfect for adaptation.

1 The Pandava Quintet by Roshani Chokshi

Starting with Aru Shah and the End of Time, the Pandava Quintet by Roshani Chokshi is a deep dive into the vast universe of Hindu mythology. The story follows Aru Shah, the young daughter of a museum curator. After awakening the time-freezing Sleeper, she discovers that she is the reincarnation of one of the five Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata, and that she and her soul siblings are meant to stop the Sleeper. Alongside the germophobic Mini, Aru must travel into the Kingdom of Death in order to find her Celestial Weapon, recover the missing steeds of the gods, and stop the Sleeper from awakening the Lord of Destruction. No pressure.

Aru Shah’s Epic Adventures in the Pandava Quintet Wholly Deserve an Adaptation

The Pandava Quintet is one of the best additions to the Riordan Presents line, and its intimate focus on Hindu mythology makes the world’s religion more accessible. The Mahabharata is one of the most important in Hinduism, and its exciting mystical battles and grand mythological stakes echo some of the greatest superhero stories. However, the myth is largely unknown to Western audiences, but Chokshi’s book does a great job introducing it to a whole new generation. While the series may not be for every reader, the overall epic quality of the Pandava Quintet and its action-packed adventure would be perfect for an adaptation.

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by Xtreme HD IPTV

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