Reviews for Heroes of Olympus


Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
This adaptation of Freeman's adult book Oh My Gods! covers "Gods," "Goddesses," "Heroes," and "Lovers." Longer chapters--"Hercules," "Oedipus," and "Odysseus," for example--retell those myths in greater depth. Language is accessible (Aphrodite to Anchises: "Calm down"); story variants are mentioned. A useful "Directory of Gods, Goddesses, Monsters, and Mortals" is appended, but no sources are given. Glos.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 March #1
A numbing catalog of "Gods, Goddesses, Monsters, and Mortals" from Greek and Roman mythology, condescendingly "adapted" for younger audiences from a juicier version for adults. Spun off from Freeman's Oh My Gods! (2012) but hardly differing in page count, Calkhoven's methodical treatments of 60-some classical myths and legends only rephrase and tone down Freeman's language. She leaves most of the (nearly continual) sex and violence in but describes it euphemistically or in dryly factual ways. The retellings arbitrarily blend Greek and Roman versions of names (Zeus, Hercules) and inconsistently render some in English ("Sky" rather than Uranus and "Earth" rather than Gaia, but only proper names for all of their offspring). The dozens of headed entries begin with "Creation" and, after Cronus castrates his father (or, as it's put here, "slashed Sky's flesh") the war between gods and titans. Thereafter in no particular order (except that the Roman entries come last) come short accounts of individual gods and demigods mixed with topical overviews ("Goddesses," "Heroes"), genealogical recitations and short summaries of epic tales ("Troy") or legends ("Scaevola"). Original sources for all of these get scarcely a mention, and though many of the tales are not among the usual suspects, readers needing reminders of who Despoina, Otus, Ephialtes and dozens of less familiar figures are will get no help from the spotty annotated cast list at the end. An opening promise of "beauty and magic and disturbing twists" goes unfulfilled in this monotonous parade of ancient names and detached barbarism. Illustrations not seen. (Mythology. 12-16) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 March #4

This competent introduction to Greek mythology, adapted from Freeman's recent adult title Oh My Gods, begins with a description of Creation, followed by sections on major and minor deities, heroes, lovers, and such stories as the fall of Troy and the founding of Rome, among other popular tales. A great deal of space is devoted to Zeus's love affairs and, more often, rapes. Other gods generally receive a page or two, although some who are naturals for a young audience--like Ares and Athena--are given little space. The heroes' tales receive significantly more attention, though they are mostly told in a pedestrian third-person style that fails to convey much excitement. As part of one of Hercules's labors, for example, Freeman writes that he "found the bull and wrestled it to the ground. Then he borrowed a trick that his father, Zeus, had used with Europa. He rode the bull across the sea and back to the mainland." Adequate as an overview, but there are stronger choices available, particularly Donna Jo Napoli's 2011 Treasury of Greek Mythology. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. Agent: Joelle Delbourgo, Joelle Delbourgo Associates. (May)¦

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 October

Gr 6 Up--Adapted from Freeman's adult title Oh My Gods (S & S, 2012), this overview of classical mythology covers much territory. Beginning with "Creation" and Zeus stepping up as "leader of the immortals," the book is divided into broad sections with two- to eight-page segments describing an array of "Gods," "Goddesses," "Heroes," and "Lovers" (included here are tales such as "Procne and Philomela" and "Glaucus and Scylla"). Chapters focusing on "Hercules," "Jason and the Argonauts," "Odysseus," and other well-known adventures are lengthier, and the final section touches briefly upon Roman myths. While Zeus and his interactions with the mortal women "unlucky" enough to catch his eye are allotted 14 pages, other deities get briefer treatment (Athena is given about 2 pages with the story of Arachne squeezed in). The stories unfold with plenty of violent encounters, sexual conquests, alliances and betrayals, ambition and revenge, and harrowing twists of fate. However, despite the high drama, the detail-laden writing seems almost workmanlike (Theseus's heroic feat is described: "He killed the Minotaur and then led the youths and maidens out of the twisting Labyrinth by following the thread"). Presented in shades of black and gray, the digitally rendered illustrations add muscle to the text with sophisticated, graphic-novel-style depictions of the characters and their endeavors. While this volume could be used as a survey-style introduction, readers looking for greater artistry and emotional depth would do better with works such as Donna Jo Napoli's Treasury of Greek Mythology (National Geographic, 2011).--Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal

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