Superpowers, godly relatives, enchanted weapons, funny sidekicks, cute animal companions . . . There’s a lot to envy about the life of a mythic hero. But these heroes are often a target for creatures that make us want to hide under the covers. As the old saying goes: “With great power comes . . . a lot of creepy, nasty monsters you’re obligated to fight.”
With the spookiest day of the year rapidly approaching, we wanted to shed some light on the most horrifying monsters, ghouls, and demons from across the Rick Riordan Presents imprint. Bear in mind that though many of these creatures are inspired by ancient cultures and stories, there’s a chance they’re still out there, stalking the night and hunting their next prey.
Chupacabras from the Paola Santiago Trilogy by Tehlor Kay Mejia
As we learned in Paola Santiago and the River of Tears, these hairless demon dogs primarily haunt the southern region of North America. Chupacabras love to chase cars, bury sticks, and suck the blood from livestock. Under most circumstances, you should absolutely not approach an adult chupacabra, but certain chupe puppies (like Pao’s pet Bruto) can make great companions if you bond with them early.
Haints from the Tristan Strong Trilogy by Kwame Mbalia
Haints are hateful, evil spirits from African American history and folklore. Two big bad haints, King Cotton and Patty Roller, gave Tristan Strong and his friends a lot of trouble by trying to overthrow the gods of Alke. Manipulative and cruel, haints often hide their true demonic forms behind false smiles and well-tailored clothes. Not that we trust anyone who only wears all white anyway.
Vampires from Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting by Roseanne A. Brown
All you need to know about mythic Ghanaian vampires such as the adze, the bonsam, and the sasabonsam can be found in Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting. They drink blood, they hang from trees, and there’s an entire underground organization known as the Abomofuo dedicated solely to getting rid of these things. That’s enough to inspire us to give the side-eye to every single firefly we see in the wild from here on out.
Poj Nxtoog from Pahua Moua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee
Definitely the most tragic of creatures on this list, poj ntxoog are the ghostly remains of humans whose souls have been trapped by evil spirits. Poj ntxoog may be victims, but that doesn’t make them any less deadly. Just ask Pahua and Zhong, who were almost eaten by a group of these spirits in their quest to save Pahua’s brother, Matt. Or maybe don’t ask, because it was a really traumatic experience.
Nergal’s Demons from City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda
Nergal, the Mesopotamian god of disease, is absolutely obsessed with infecting the entire planet and turning the human race into poxies. To achieve his goal, Nergal usually conscripts an army of demons to battle his foes. The efficacy of these monsters can vary greatly from demon to demon. Some are highly proficient in combat, and some, such as Rabisu, are hopelessly pathetic. But kind of cute at the same time. . .?
Bináá’ yee agháni from Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
Giant shape-shifting vultures with the power to paralyze their enemies with just a glance are scary enough. But when a certain bináá’ yee agháni named Mr. Charles utilizes his power to achieve a high position at a massive oil and gas company . . . Well, is there anything scarier than unregulated fracking and environmental destruction?
Ghosts from the Thousand Worlds Series by Yoon Ha Lee
What’s worse than being haunted by a restless soul? How about an entire planet filled to the brim with vengeful ghosts? Across the Thousand Worlds, ghosts may be helpful, harmful, or totally neutral. But if there’s one thing that all residents of the Thousand Worlds can agree on, it’s that the Fourth Colony should be avoided at all costs. Unless, of course, you’re a new Space Forces cadet hunting for her missing brother. Just another reminder of Kim Min’s impressive bravery.
Even with the powers of a fox spirt, we wouldn’t dare set foot on the Fourth Colony. Then again, after thinking about all these monsters, we don’t even want to leave the house.
Do you have a favorite monster from the Rick Riordan Presents imprint? Are there any in particular you wouldn’t want to come across in a dark alley? Be sure to let us know!