hether you want to dive into the books after watching the Disney+ show or you’re simply looking for a new fantasy series to read, there’s never a wrong time to enter the world of the beloved demigod Percy Jackson. Rick Riordan’s books have been a hit with middle school readers for years, but any adventure lover can enjoy them, no matter their age.

Riordan has built a complex, connected world over the years, and the Percy Jackson series is just the beginning. It is just one of several series set in a shared universe that contains multiple mythologies. So whether you’re interested in Greek, Roman, Norse, or Egyptian mythology, you can read stories that create their own mythos within the worlds that you already know.

Keeping track of each installment and knowing where to jump in might appear complicated at first. Like other fantasy franchises, it can seem intimidating to navigate from the outside. That’s where this guide comes in. It will cover the four main series, the storyline's chronological order, and a recommended reading order for those traversing this world for the first time.

Percy Jackson: The Main Series

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Everything started with the introduction of a troubled, sarcastic 12-year-old boy when The Lightning Thief, the first installment of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, hit bookshelves in 2005. It introduced Percy and readers to the world of half-bloods, the children of ancient Greek gods. He, Grover, and Annabeth form an unbreakable bond over the series as they traverse the world on epic quests reminiscent of the tales that inspire the books. 

Book cover of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Image Credit: Disney-Hyperion Books

Four books followed in the initial run, culminating in a thrilling finale in The Last Olympian in 2009. Then, in 2023, a new installment set a few years after the events of that fifth book emerged. It was a return to form for Riordan, as it centers on the original trio embarking on a quest just like old times. As of this writing, Riordan has two more books planned in this series, including one later in 2024.

Original Five

  1. The Lightning Thief (2005)
  2. The Sea of Monsters (2006)
  3. The Titan’s Curse (2007)
  4. The Battle of the Labyrinth (2008)
  5. The Last Olympian (2009)

Three Sequel Books

  1. The Chalice of the Gods (2023)
  2. Wrath of the Triple of the Goddess (coming 2024)
  3. Unnamed third book (coming 2025)

The Heroes of Olympus

A sequel series soon followed the original five when the first book of The Heroes of Olympus series was published in 2010. Five new installments occur almost immediately after The Last Olympian's conclusion. While it still follows Percy and other original characters, it introduces a new cast and focuses on their relationship to Greek and Roman mythology. The expanding world and rising stakes reward readers familiar with the original series while offering new stories to enjoy.

Cover of the novel The Lost Hero.
Image Credit: Disney-Hyperion Books
  1. The Lost Hero (2010) 
  2. The Son of Neptune (2011)
  3. The Mark of Athena (2012)
  4. The House of Hades (2013)
  5. The Blood of Olympus (2014)

The Trials of Apollo

Another follow-up series eventually came when The Trials of Apollo began in 2016. The five-book series follows the Greek god Apollo as he is turned mortal as a punishment by his father, Zeus. The trials are a direct result of the happenings in The Blood of Olympus, which takes place only six months before this series begins. The once-Olympian must find five undiscovered oracles in order to return to his godly form. 

Book cover of The Trials of Apollo.
Image Credit: Disney-Hyperion
  1. The Hidden Oracle (2016)
  2. The Dark Prophecy (2017)
  3. The Burning Maze (2018)
  4. The Tyrant’s Tomb (2019)
  5. The Tower of Nero (2020)

A standalone novel, 2023’s The Sun and the Star,  follows the series, focusing on two demigods seen throughout the preceding three series, Nico di Angelo and Will Solace.

The Kane Chronicles

The Kane Chronicles takes place at the same time as The Heroes of Olympus but follows completely new characters. The trilogy centers around the Kane siblings, Carter and Sadie, and focuses on ancient Egyptian mythology. The brother and sister are descended from pharaohs and possess magical abilities, which they use in their confrontations with the gods.

Book cover of The Red Pyramid
Image Credit: Disney-Hyperion Books
  1. The Red Pyramid (2010)
  2. The Throne of Fire (2011)
  3. The Serpent’s Shadow (2012)

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

Adding to the family tree is Magnus Chase, cousin to Annabeth from the original Percy Jackson series. The five-book Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, influenced by Norse mythology, opens literal new worlds in the connected universe. With an extremely diverse cast of characters, varying races, genders, sexualities, and religions are represented within the core group of protagonists.

Book cover of The Sword of the Summer
Image Credit: Dinsey-Hyperion Books
  1. The Sword of the Summer
  2. The Hammer of Thor
  3. The Ship of the Dead

Ways to Explore Rick Riordan’s Universe‍

Like with many complex fantasy worlds, there are a few different ways to approach reading the sets of series. You can choose what kind of experience you want to have depending on what you value.

Characters and Themes

If characters are your top priority, you can choose whose adventures you follow. In some cases, that spans across multiple series. For example, if you want to follow Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, read the original five Percy Jackson and the Olympians books and The Heroes of Olympus. Fan favorite Nico di Angelo appears across the Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, and the Trials of Apollo series, as well as the standalone novel The Sun and the Star.

You can also focus on what mythological world you want to inhabit and follow stories inspired by the ancient tales. Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, The Trials of Apollo, and The Sun and the Star all feature Greek and Roman mythology. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard focuses on Norse legends, while The Kane Chronicles explores Egyptian lore.

Timeline or Publication Order?

Reading each book by timeline order is easier said than done, but it is possible. A couple of series overlap and Riordan's return to the original saga in recent years slightly complicates things.

The universe's chronology starts with the original five Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, followed by The Kane Chronicles and The Heroes of Olympus, which occur simultaneously. Next comes the three sequels in the Percy Jackson series, followed by Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard and The Trials of Apollo, which also overlap. Finally, The Sun and the Star concludes the timeline... so far.

On the other hand, if you want to recreate the experience that original readers had, you could read each book in publication order:

  • The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1, 2005)
  • The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2, 2006)
  • The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3, 2007)
  • The Battle of The Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4, 2008)
  • The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5, 2009)
  • The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles #1, May 2010)
  • The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus #1, Oct 2010)
  • The Throne of Fire (The Kane Chronicles #2, May 2011)
  • The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus #2, Oct 2011)
  • The Serpent’s Shadow (The Kane Chronicles #3, May 2012)
  • The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus #3, Oct 2012)
  • The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus #4, Oct 2013)
  • The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus #5, Oct 2014)
  • The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1, Oct 2015)
  • The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1, May 2016)
  • The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2, Oct 2016)
  • The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo #2, May 2017)
  • The Ship of The Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #3, Oct 2017)
  • The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo #3, May 2018)
  • The Tyrant’s Tomb (The Trials of Apollo #4, Sep 2019)
  • The Tower of Nero (The Trials of Apollo #5, Sep 2020)
  • The Chalice of the Gods (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #6, 2023)
  • Wrath of the Triple of the Goddess (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #7, coming 2024)
  • Unnamed book (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #8, coming 2025)

Suggested Reading Order

In addition to approaches based on specific interests, we have a specific recommended reading order for those who wish to consume all that takes place in this universe. This order largely follows events as they happen chronologically while avoiding the need to jump in and out of different series. For that reason, it’s a largely agreed-upon reading order amongst fans, and it also happens to be our personal recommendation.

Like with most things, it’s best to start at the beginning. Get to know friends Percy, Grover, and Annabeth in the original five books of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series as they make friends and enemies at Camp Half-Blood and take on world-saving quests.

The character Percy Jackson at Camp Half-Blood as seen in the television series Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
Image Credit: Disney+

Next, in The Kane Chronicles trilogy, you can follow siblings Carter and Sadie as they uncover secrets of ancient Egyptian mythology. Read about new settings and gods that make up a new fabric in this literary universe.

Return to Camp Half-Blood, but encounter several twists, and next read the Heroes of Olympus series. These five books will expand worlds, raise stakes, and bring a Roman take on classical mythology into the fold. A new cast of characters and the return of several fan favorites make for an energetic and compelling dynamic that makes this series feel nothing short of epic.

Next, read Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard to encounter yet another type of mythology. This trilogy will change what you think you know about Riordan’s world and its rules. Explore Valhalla, Jotunheim, Niflheim, and more as these new characters take on the forces behind Ragnarok.

After expeditions into all of these new worlds, return to the original characters and once again follow the trio of Percy, Grover, and Annabeth in Percy Jackson and the Olympians books #6-8. Following the events of the Heroes of Olympus series, Percy is now applying to colleges. But he must acquire recommendation letters from three different gods to do so. These three books are a return to form for Riordan, who recently came back to this original series for the first time since 2009.

Lastly, find out what happens when a god is kicked off Olympus and forced to be a teenager again. The five books in the Trials of Apollo series follow the god of poetry and the sun as he must fulfill a punishment by becoming a mortal who has to train at Camp Half-Blood. Though in a familiar setting, this series largely follows new characters as Apollo quests to find and return five undiscovered oracles in an effort to regain his godly form.

Serving as a sequel to the ToA series, The Sun and the Star is a standalone novel that is the last installment on the timeline (for now). Co-authored by Riordan and Mark Oshiro, it follows two main characters: one from the original Percy Jackson series and another from the Apollo adventures. The two must undergo an epic quest that takes them into the pits of Tartarus.

Believe it or not, this is not all there is to Rick Riordan’s world. There are companion books, in-universe reference books, short stories, and graphic novel adaptations. On top of those, there are several audio/visual adaptations to check out: the Disney+ show mentioned above, based on the original five Percy Jackson books; the Broadway musical based on The Lightning Thief; and the movie adaptations of The Lightning Thief and The Sea of Monsters.

Characters from the Disney+ series Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Image Credit: Disney+

Riordan is head of Rick Riordan Presents, an imprint of Disney-Hyperion Publishing that showcases middle-grade series focused on different mythologies from throughout the world. While these books do not take place in the same world as Percy Jackson, Riordan notes on his website, “They are not extensions of Percy Jackson’s world, but I can safely say that if you like my books, you will probably love these.”

The prolific author also has several unrelated adult and middle-grade books. His ability to connect readers to characters makes for a compelling and joyful reading experience, regardless of age. So let this guide be your encouragement to finally take on the books that have become so beloved by audiences of every demographic. And keep in mind, the only “right” way to read them is in whatever way you enjoy most.

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Caroline's passion for Star Wars has led her to join the Youtini team as a Content Creator, where she hopes to share her thoughts and insights on Star Wars books, comics, and shows with the community. She is excited to be a part of the team and is ready to help in any way she can, whether it's writing, podcasting, editing, or producing. With her background in digital news production and her love for Star Wars, Caroline is a valuable addition to the Youtini team.