Tag Archives: Greek Mythology

The Blood of Olympus, Rick Riordan

Blood of Olympus, Rick RiordanThe Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

First Published: 2014

Pages: 514 (Paperback)
Form: Novel
Series: Heroes of Olympus #5

Rating: 4/54/54/54/54/5

Seven Heroic Demigods.
One Final Quest.
The Greatest Sacrifice Yet.

‘The ruins are up there,’ Piper promised. ‘I saw them in Katoptris’s blade. And you heard what Hazel said. “The biggest -“‘
‘”The biggest gathering of evil spirits I’ve ever sensed,”‘ Jason recalled. Yeah, sounds awesome.’

After surviving many deadly quests, Percy, Jason, Annabeth and their friends face one final challenge: defeat an army of giants before the Earth Mother, Gaia, finally awakes and brings about the end of the world…

It finally came out in paperback! Which means I am finally finished with the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus series. Sad days! Heroes of Olympus took a couple of books to really grow on me, I did not love it instantly in the same way I loved Percy Jackson, and I still think the previous series is superior, but I grew to love HoO and its characters far more over these five books than I was ever expecting when I picked up The Lost Hero. And I am genuinely sad to see it end.

The Blood of Olympus, concludes the story of the fight against Gaia (Mother Earth) and her giant offspring’s attempts to weaken the gods by setting their Greek and Roman aspects off against each other, and destroy the world. The time for Gaia’s resurrection is finally drawing close and our cast of Greek and Roman heroes must race against time across Greece to the Acropolis at Athens to prevent it, knowing that at least one of them is prophesied  not survive the encounter. Meanwhile our secondary heroes, Nico and Reyna, must return to America to forge peace between the Greek and Roman camps before they wipe each other out.

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Goddesses, Whores, Wives, & Slaves, Sarah B. Pomeroy

Goddeses, Whores, Wives, & Slaves, Sarah B. PomeroyGoddesses, Whores, Wives, & Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity by Sarah B. Pomeroy

First Published: 1975
Pages: 
265 including notes & index (paperback)
Form: Non-Fiction, History, Ancient History, Women’s History

Rating: 4/54/54/54/54/5

What did women do in ancient Greece and Rome? Did Socrates’ wife Xanithippe ever hear his dialogues on beauty and truth? How many women actually read the histories of Herodotus and Thucydides? When pagan goddesses were as powerful as the gods, why was the status symbol of women generally so low? Why, in traditional histories, is half the population effectively invisible?

This unique and important book spans a period of 1500 years – from the fall of Troy to the death of Constantine. It examines all the available evidence – literary and archaeological – and reconstructs the lives of women from all classes of society.

My last couple of forays into non-fiction historical writing have been kind of disappointing, three-star affairs. This book, however – whether it’s the more academic tone or simply the subject matter – I really enjoyed. First published in the 70’s it probably contains some disputed or out-of-date ideas and evidence by now, but it was one of (if not ‘the’) first academic texts to thoroughly examine women’s roles in Ancient Greece and Rome. So, as a woman who is interested in Ancient Greek and Rome, and who gets irritated with 50% of the worlds population being treated as unimportant – and sometimes completely forgotten –  by history textbooks*, I had to read. Continue reading

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Usborne Greek Myths for Young Children

Greek Myths for Young Children

Greek Myths for Young Children by Heather Amery
Illustrated by Linda Edwards

First Published: 2000
Pages: 128 including pronunciation guide (Hardback)
Form: Picture book, short stories

Rating: 4/5 = I really liked it4/5 = I really liked it4/5 = I really liked it4/5 = I really liked it4/5 = I really liked it

The Greek myths are wonderful stories, full of brave heroes, terrifying monsters, powerful gods and goddesses, battles and great adventures. In this book, they are retold in a way that young children can listen to and understand, and older children can enjoy reading the tales for themselves.

Beautifully and imaginatively illustrated by Linda Edwards, this is a book that will be a source of interest and pleasure for the whole family.

One of very many children’s books on Greek mythology, I picked this one up mainly because it’s Usborne (I grew up on Usborne books and I have a certain amount of loyalty to them despite the fact that they keep putting out gendered shit like this) and because the pictures inside are pretty dang gorgeous. With so many of these sort of books about though it’s always worth flipping through a few in the bookshop, maybe reading a couple of the stories, and getting the one that works for you.  This one, I have to say, doesn’t quite work for me. It’s very good, perfect for the purpose I got it for – which was to ensure my Greek storytelling event later this month is age appropriate  – and I’ll be keeping it in my library of Greek myths, but it’s far too kiddified in places for my own personal liking. For public storytelling where I don’t know how (over)sensitive or protective children’s parents are it’s great. For my own kids/nieces/nephews (if I were ever to have any) I would want something that didn’t gloss over Theseus leaving Ariadne, or pretended that Jason and Medea didn’t murder her brother.

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The Son of Neptune, Rick Riordan

The Son of Neptune, Rick RiordanThe Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

First Published: 2011
Pages: 519 including Glossary (Paperback)
Form: Novel
Series: Heroes of Olympus #2

Rating: 4/5 = I really liked it4/5 = I really liked it4/5 = I really liked it4/5 = I really liked it4/5 = I really liked it

Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, god of the sea, has woken from a deep sleep and come face to face with two snake-haired ladies who refuse to die.

But they’re the least of his problems. Because Percy finds himself at a camp for half-bloods, which doesn’t ring any bells for him. There’s just one name he remembers from his past. Annabeth.

Only one thing is certain – Percy’s questing days aren’t over. He and fellow demigods Frank and Hazel must face the most important quest of all: the Prophecy of Seven. If they fail, it’s not just their camp at risk. Percy’s old life, the gods and the entire world might be destroyed . . .

Yay! Percy’s back! And he’s still awesome. Just in the first chapter I felt myself enjoying the book more than I had at any point in The Lost Hero. There’s the fun and goofiness I like. With Percy there to play off rather than boring boringface Jason, the monsters instantly became more memorable and unique. I have to confess I can barely remember a single ‘random encounter’ from The Lost Hero but Stheno, the gorgon who set up a font as a supermarket worker and has ‘gone native’, chasing heroes around offering free samples, will definitely stick in my mind. For the first few chapters things were well on track for a five star read.

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The Lost Hero, Rick Riordan

The Lost Hero, Rick RiordanThe Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

First Published: 2010
Pages: 554 including God-List (Paperback)
Form: Novel
Series: Heroes of Olympus #1

Rating: 4/5 = I really liked it4/5 = I really liked it4/5 = I really liked it4/5 = I really liked it4/5 = I really liked it

OLD ENEMIES AWAKEN AS CAMP HALF-BLOOD’S NEW ARRIVALS PREPARE FOR WAR

When Jason, Piper and Leo crash land at Camp Half-Blood, they have no idea what to expect. Apparently this is the only safe place for children of the Greek Gods – despite the monsters roaming the woods and demigods practising archery with flaming arrows and explosives. But rumours of a terrible curse – and a missing hero – are flying around camp. It seems Jason, Piper and Leo are the chosen ones to embark on a terrifying new quest, which they must complete by the winter solstice. In just four days time. Can the trio succeed on this deadly mission – and what must they sacrifice in order to survive?

From Amazon description (actual blurb is useless)

Percy Jackson was always going to be a hard act to follow, let alone top. To Riordan’s credit he manages the first goal but falls very very short of the second. Heroes of Olympus, a new series set in the Percy Jackson world follows fast on the heels of the last series. At first it seemed almost too fast – only a few measly months have gone between the final showdown between Gods and Titans and already the next big threat is rising up, some deities just can’t catch a break! Riordan’s knowledge of Greek (and Roman!) mythology placated me somewhat there though, it’s as fast paced and action packed as ever. Where it doesn’t fare so well  is the new characters and the shift from first person to third-person limited narration. No Percy Jackson in this book, no charmingly hilarious oddball narration. Instead we get three new characters; Jason, Piper, and Leo who shift between third person point of view chapters – allowing us to witness just how vapid and boring two of their personalities are.

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Tales of the Greek Heroes, Roger Lancelyn Green

Tales of the Greek Heroes by Roger Lancelyn Green
Introduction by Rick Riordan

Publisher: Puffin Books
Pages: 270 (Hardback)
Form: Novel

Rating:

Ah, Greek mythology, one of my pet passions. Like most people my introduction to the world of Greek mythology came through a children’s book that retold some of the more popular and enduring legends – Heracles, Odysseus, and Jason. That particular book will always have a very special place in my heart (and on my bookshelf). It wasn’t, however, this book. Continue reading

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Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian, Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

Publisher: Puffin (Penguin)
Pages: 361 (Hardback)
Form: Novel
Series: Percy Jackson #5

Rating:

‘Most people get presents on their sixteenth birthday, I get a prophecy that could save or destroy the world.’

That’s how it is when you’re the son of Poseidon, God of the Sea. According to an ancient prophecy, bad things will happen when I turn sixteen – because I’m the one who gets to decide the fate of the entire world. But no pressure.

This is the one where Kronos, Lord of the Titans, is beginning his attack on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Oh and the dreaded (and not to mention enormous) monster Typhon is also heading our way. So it’s me and forty of my demigod friends versus untold evil…

Can Percy stop the rampage of the Titans, to save Olympus and himself?

Another five stars for Percy Jackson! Riordan really pulled it out of the bag for a gripping, action filled, and surprisingly emotional finale.

The Last Olympian moved away from the standard Percy Jackson formula a lot: it’s not just Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and guest half-blood of the book – everybody is involved – and there’s no ‘road trip’ element either. Everything is firmly set and grounded in New York, the site where the final battle between Titans and demigods will take place. After four books of fun, but slightly formulaic adventures this was a breath of fresh air and just what the series needed to end on a high note – it genuinely felt epic, high-stakes, and exciting – a proper all out battle, not just Percy and his friends upsetting things. As one character says it’s like the Trojan War all over again and in a lot of ways it is – complete with the devastating feud between Achilles and Agamemnon (this time between the Ares and Apollo camp cabins). Continue reading

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