Reviews for Hades : Lord of the Dead


Booklist Reviews 2012 January #1
O'Connor makes a couple of very clever moves in this fourth book in the Olympians series. First off, he takes readers on a tour of the underworld as if they had just died themselves ("Hopefully, after you died, a loved one placed a coin in your mouth"). Then, just as Hera (2011) was really the story of Hercules, this book is really the story of Persephone. In O'Connor's depiction, she could well be the world's first goth girl as she rebels against her overly protective mother, Demeter, and embraces her dark side, black eyeshadow and all. Another winner from a top-notch series. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
The fourth book in this series relates the major myth about the Greek god of the Underworld, in which Hades kidnaps and marries Demeter's daughter, Persephone. This graphic novel's lively format brings a modern sensibility to the ancient myth and makes it accessible to a wide audience. The author's notes and character biographies provide additional information. Reading list. Bib.

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Kirkus Reviews 2011 December #2
A tempestuous mother-daughter relationship makes up the centerpiece of O'Connor's latest carefully researched and simultaneously fresh and funny Olympian portrait. Snatched down to the Underworld in the wake of a screaming fight with her mother Demeter ("Butt out of my life!!" "You ungrateful brat"), raging adolescent Kore (meaning, generically "The Maiden") initially gives her quiet, gloomy captor Hades a hard time too. After grabbing the opportunity to give herself a thorough makeover and changing her name to Persephone ("Bringer of Destruction"), though, she takes charge of her life--so surely that, when offered the opportunity to return to her remorseful mom, she lies about having eaten those pomegranate seeds so she can spend half of each year as Queen of the Dead. O'Connor expertly captures both the dramatic action and each character's distinct personality--Demeter in particular, with her big hair and temper to match, is a real piece of work--in easy-to-follow graphic panels. Effortlessly folding in other familiar and not-so-familiar tales of figures associated with his title character, he opens with an eerie guided tour of Hades' realm, closes with fact boxes about each of the major players and in between ingeniously preserves the old tale's archetypal quality without ever losing sight of its human dimension. An outstanding addition to a first-rate series. (notes, study questions, resource lists) (Graphic mythology. 8-14) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 March

Gr 6 Up--O'Connor explores the story of overprotective Demeter; her spirited daughter, Kore (aka Persephone); and Hades, Lord of the Dead. This retelling will encourage readers to think about these characters' motivations, see how and why each of them was conflicted, and empathize with their struggles. This book is atmospheric, with descriptions and images of the Underworld that are so captivating that readers will pore over those pages again and again. O'Connor's illustrations, filled with lots of color and haunting illuminations, are well suited to this exciting story and will attract even the most reluctant readers. Several resources for curious readers, including an Olympian family tree, character profiles, endnotes, and lists of recommended books and websites, are included. An author's note explains that it's technically Demeter, not Hades, who is the Olympian, but since the story is about three mythical characters, he decided to put Hades front and center because he would be the biggest draw.--Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library

[Page 190]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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VOYA Reviews 2012 April
Despite the title, and breaking from his usual custom of combining multiple myths about his title god, this newest entry in O'Connor's fabulous Olympians series is actually a retelling of Persephone's abduction.  The decision to use a single myth pays off enormously: instead of grappling with multiple, sometimes contradictory, stories, O'Connor focuses on developing characters and themes.  By reorganizing the details of the story, O'Connor keeps the main lines of this beautifully simple creation myth while subtly transforming it into a multi-layered modern narrative, complete with mystery, romance, and pathos.  Moving the timing of one crucial event, for example, changes the motivations of several characters, adding multiple levels of betrayal and manipulation. In this version, Kore (Persephone's pre-abduction name) loves her mother, Hestia, but feels trapped.  Her abduction becomes a chance for her to find out who she wants to be, including finding love with her abductor, Hades--a love which explains for O'Connor why later Greek myths refer to Persephone only as Queen of the Underworld, never mentioning her time on Olympus. If there is a flaw, it is O'Connor's uneven sense of dialogue; but since this unevenness errs on the side of colloquial speech, it is unlikely to bother the young teens of the target audience who may find it more approachable. O'Connor's artwork remains as strong as ever, especially in the glorious illustrations of the underworld.  It is hard to imagine later books in the series surpassing this one, but O'Connor seems to have new surprises each time out.--Mark Flowers 5Q 4P M J Graphic Format Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.

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