Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus: The Son of Neptune is published in the UK on October 4th, and there's a blog tour to celebrate this momentous day. Each blogger will be honouring a different Greek god or goddess, and for today's blog tour stop I'm paying tribute to Aphrodite, the goddess of love.
I'm sure you all know how popular the two Percy Jackson series are so I won't bore you about that, but I'll just say what a great thing Rick has done for reading and learning difficulties. You can find out more about that subject over at The Book Zone, which was Day 1 of the blog tour.
I hope you're all excited about The Son of Neptune - if you are, here's an extract to keep you going those last couple of days until you can go and grab a copy. Enjoy!
Percy stumbled away from the gorgon, almost falling off the edge of the hill.
It was the smiley one – Beano.
Okay, her name wasn’t really Beano. As near as Percy could figure, he was dyslexic, because words got twisted around when he tried to read. The first time he saw the gorgon posing as a Bargain Mart greeter with a big green button that read: WELCOME! MY NAME IS STHENO!, he thought it said BEANO.
She was still wearing her green Bargain Mart employee vest over a flower‐print
dress. If you just looked at her body, you might think she was somebody’s dumpy old grandmother – until you looked down and realized she had rooster feet. Or you looked up and saw bronze boar tusks sticking out the sides of her mouth. Her eyes glowed red and her hair was a writhing nest of bright green snakes.
The most horrible thing about her? She was still holding her big silver platter of free samples: Crispy Cheese n’ Wieners. Her platter was dented up from all the times Percy had killed her, but those little samples looked perfectly fine. Stheno just kept gathering them up and toting them across California so she could offer Percy a snack before she killed him. Percy didn’t know why, but if he ever needed a suit of armor he was going to make it out of Crispy Cheese n’ Wieners. That stuff was indestructible.
“Try one?” Stheno offered. Percy fended her off with his sword. “Where’s your sister?” “Oh, put the sword away,” Stheno chided. “You know by now even
Celestial bronze can’t kill us for long. Have a Cheese n’ Wiener! They’re on sale this week, and I’d hate to kill you on an empty stomach.”
“Stheno!” The second gorgon appeared on Percy’s right so fast he didn’t have time to react. Fortunately she was too busy glaring at her sister to pay him much attention. “I told you to sneak up on him and kill him!”
Stheno’s smile wavered. “But Euryale . . .” She said the name so it rhymed with ‘Muriel.’ “Can’t I give him a sample first?”
“No, you imbecile!” Euryale turned toward Percy and bared her fangs.
Except for her hair, which was a nest of coral snakes instead of green vipers, she looked exactly like her sister. Her Bargain Mart vest, her flowery dress, even her tusks were decorated with ‘50% off’ stickers. Her name badge read: Hello! My name is DIE, DEMIGOD SCUM!
“You’ve led us quite a chase, Percy Jackson,” Euryale said. “But now you’re trapped, and we’ll have our revenge!”
“The Cheese n’ Wieners are only $2.99,” Stheno added helpfully. “Grocery department, aisle three.”
Euryale snarled. “Stheno, the Bargain Mart was a front! You’re going native! Now put down that ridiculous tray and help me kill this demigod. Or have you forgotten he’s the one who vaporized Medusa?”
Percy stepped back. Six more inches, and he’d be tumbling through thin air. “Look, ladies, we’ve been through this. I don’t even remember killing Medusa. I don’t remember anything! Can’t we just call a truce and talk about your weekly specials?”
Stheno gave her sister a pouty look, which was hard to do with giant bronze tusks. “Can we?”
“No!” Euryale’s red eyes bored into Percy. “I don’t care what you remember, son of the sea god. I can smell Medusa’s blood on you. It’s faint, yes, several years old, but you were the last one to defeat her. She still has not returned from Tartarus. It’s your fault!”
Percy didn’t really get that. The whole ‘monster‐dying‐then‐returning‐ from‐Tartarus’ concept gave him a headache. Of course so did the idea that ballpoint pens could turn into swords, or that monsters could disguise themselves with something called the Mist, or that Percy was the son of a
barnacle‐encrusted god from five thousand years ago. But he did believe it. Even though his memory was erased, he knew he was a demigod the same way he knew his name was Percy Jackson. From his very first conversation with Lupa the wolf, he’d accepted that this crazy messed‐up world of gods and monsters was his reality. Which pretty much sucked for him.
“How about we call it a draw?” he said. “I can’t kill you. You can’t kill me. If you’re Medusa’s sisters – like the Medusa who turned people to stone ‐‐ shouldn’t I be petrified by now?”
“Heroes!” Euryale said with disgust. “They always bring that up, just like our mother! ‘Why can’t you turn people to stone? Your sister can turn people to stone.’ Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, boy! That was Medusa’s curse alone. She was the most hideous one in the family. She got all the luck!”
Stheno looked hurt. “Mother said I was the most hideous.”
“Quiet!” Euryale snapped. “As for you, Percy Jackson, it’s true you bear the mark of Achilles. That makes you a little tougher to kill. But don’t worry. We’ll find a way.”
“The mark of what?”
“Achilles,” Stheno said cheerfully. “Oh, he was gorgeous! Dipped in the River Styx as a child, you know, so he was invulnerable except for a tiny spot on his ankle. That’s what happened to you, dear. Someone must’ve dumped you in the Styx and made your skin like iron, but not to worry. Heroes like you always have a weak spot. We just have to find it and then we can kill you. Won’t that be lovely? Have a Cheese n’ Wiener!”
Percy tried to think. He didn’t remember any dip in the Styx. Then again he didn’t remember much of anything. His skin didn’t feel like iron, but it explained how he’d held out so long against the gorgons.
Maybe if he just fell down the mountain . . . would he survive? He didn’t want to risk it – not without something to slow the fall, or a sled, or . . .
He looked at Stheno’s large silver platter of free samples. Hmm . . . “Reconsidering?” Stheno asked. “Very wise, dear. I added some gorgon’s
blood to these, so your death will be quick and painless.” Percy’s throat constricted. “You added your blood to the Cheese N’
Wieners?” “Just a little.” Stheno smiled. “A little nick on the arm, but you’re sweet to
be concerned. The blood from our right side can cure anything, you know, but blood from our left side is deadly ‐‐”
“You dimwit!” Euryale screeched. “You’re not supposed to tell him that! He won’t eat the wieners if you tell him they’re poisoned!”
Stheno looked stunned. “He won’t? But I said it’s quick and painless.”
“Never mind!” Euryale’s fingernails grew into claws. “We’ll kill him the hard way – just keep slashing until we find the weak spot. Once we defeat Percy Jackson, we’ll be more famous than Medusa! Our patron will reward us greatly!”
Percy gripped his sword. He’d have to time his move perfectly ‐‐ a few seconds of confusion,grab the platter with his left hand . . .
Keep them talking, he thought. “Before you slash me to bits,” he said, “who’s this patron you mentioned?”
Euryale sneered. “The goddess Gaea, of course! The one who brought us back from oblivion! You won’t live long enough to meet her, but your friends below will soon face her wrath. Even now, her armies are marching south. At the Feast of Fortune, she’ll awaken, and the demigods will be cut down like – like ‐‐”
“Like our low prices at Bargain Mart!” Stheno suggested. “Gah!” Euryale stormed toward her sister. Percy took the opening. He grabbed Stheno’s platter, scattering poisoned Cheese n’ Wieners, and
slashed Riptide across Euryale’s waist, cutting her in half. He raised the platter, and Stheno found herself facing her own greasy
reflection. “Medusa!” she screamed.
Her sister Euryale had crumbled to dust, but she was already starting to re‐form, like a snowman un‐melting in reverse.
“Stheno, you fool!” she gurgled as her half‐made face rose from the mound of dust. “That’s just your reflection! Get him!”
Percy slammed the metal tray on top of Stheno’s head and she passed out
He put the platter over his butt, said a silent prayer to whatever Roman god oversaw stupid sledding tricks, and jumped off the side of the hill.
Extract from THE SON OF NEPTUNE – HEROES OF OLYMPUS, BOOK TWO by Rick RiordanPublished by Puffin Books on October 4th 2011
© Copyright Rick Riordan, 2011THE GREEK GODS ARE ALIVE AND KICKING IN THE TWENTY‐FIRST CENTURYVISIT WWW.PERCYJACKSON.CO.UK
Puffin have also set up an amazing competition for schools, called Hunt for a Half-Blood Hero. This competition offers school students the chance to win the chance to have Rick streamed live into a school assembly, as well as a class trip to their local Sea Life Centre. Pretty cool, right? If you or anyone you know would like to take part in this competition, you can find more information HERE.
Make sure you check out Day 6 of Olympus Week which will be over at My Favourite Books tomorrow, where they will be celebrating Poseidon day with a guest post from Rick himself. Definitely not one to miss!