The myth continues in the tenth year of the fabled Trojan War where two infamous gods of war go to battle. The spotlight is thrown on Ares, god of war, and primarily focuses on his battle with the clever and powerful Athena. As the battle culminates and the gods try to one-up each other to win, the human death toll mounts. Who will win this epic clash of power? And how many will have to die first?
I know we’re supposed to write a regular review, but since we were lucky enough to see him in person, my daughter Delia and I are telling you why you should jump into his series about the Olympians.
Five Things We Love About George O’Connor and His Books: 1. He’s funny. Delia kept talking about O’Connor’s jokes the whole way home from the book talk/signing. She especially loved how O’Connor explained his inspiration to draw the Olympians, his process (“Mama, he doesn’t erase!” “He draws so fast!”) and how his Aphrodite is a mix of two superstars she’s heard of: Sofia Vergara and Beyonce. As for Ares, O’Connor knew he had to depict him with bloodlust, but in Ares’ defense, he is also one of the few gods to actually care about his half-human children. My daughter also kept repeating how O’Connor interpreted the story of the Olympians as the saga of one messed up powerful family (because it’s true!).
2. He knows his stuff. O’Connor doesn’t just do yet another retelling with little basis in the actual legends. He revealed that he researches and reads book after book about Greek mythology and the Olympians. He could rattle off some obscure facts that blew the kids (and adults away), and he said it’s that research that give him a glimpse into the Olympians’ personalities, some of which he feels have been misinterpreted in popular culture. He joked, for example, that while Ares is likely to bring war and chaos to your doorstep if you’ve wronged him, it’s Apollo you’re likely to die meeting, because Apollo kills nearly every human he comes in contact with one way or the other. And if you’re wondering which gods are O’Connor’s personal favorites, they’re HERA, HERMES and the demigod HERACLES.
3. You don’t have to read them in order. ARES is the seventh Olympian book, but you don’t HAVE to read it seventh. In fact, the Books of Wonder bookseller recommended my daughter read the goddess books (ATHENA, APHRODITE, HERA plus HADES first, and then go back and read ZEUS and POSEIDON). She wanted my daughter to connect with the goddesses first (plus HADES is a lot about Persephone and Demeter), and it worked for my girl. My son did read them in order and prefers them that way, but since each story focuses on a different god, you can still approach them by your favorite or whichever drawing strikes your fancy the most.
4. He inspires kids to delve into history and legends. Watching O’Connor share his enthusiasm about mythology was contagious. The kids and parents kept throwing out ideas about other legends to cover (“Write about Agamemon!” “Do you think you’ll do anything with the Norse gods?”). Delia was so pumped she wants to know more about the gods coming up in O’Conor’s series: Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Hephaestus, Hestia, and Dionysus (who I think doesn’t get his own book but pops up in the others).
5. He doesn’t sugarcoat or talk down to kids: Despite writing a graphic novel for kids and teens, O’Connor doesn’t talk DOWN to them, and he certainly doesn’t stray away from unavoidable facts about the gods. Zeus was a horrible husband who stepped out on his wife Hera, possibly the only being he was scared of; Hera was, with understandable reason, horrible to Zeus’ illegitimate children; Hades may not be all evil like he’s portrayed in movies, but he’s so lonely he didn’t know how to treat Persephone at first. O’Connor presents the world of the Olympians in a truthful, gripping, approachable, and artistically dazzling manner that will delight readers young and old. AND if you meet him, he’ll autograph your books in this most amazing way:
@GeorgetheMighty gives the best autographs! My daughter is thrilled, and we both think he’s a fabulous speaker. If you have Tweens these are the perfect books. A photo posted by Sandie Chen (@urbanmama1) on