Wednesday, June 4, 2008

While you're waiting for Camp Half Blood...

Last time I mentioned discussing a few books you might like that tackle the themes of mythology in similar ways as Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books. Well, there's a slew of them out there:

First, I'll mention The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu. This is the first in the Chronos Chronicles series, books about kids who discover that the Greek gods are alive, and that they have to act in order to save the world from evil plotters who are using the gods' powers to get what they want and destroy anything in their path...

Well, that's not new--that paragraph could describe any one of a number of series. So what makes this special? Well, the plot is more specific: Philonecron is a demigod who's set his sights on Hades's throne. Heroes Charlotte and Zee discover Philonocron's plot and descend to the underworld to stop him from stealing the shadows of children to create an evil army to overthrow Hades! Also, the witty writing keeps thing moving at a good clip, and Ursu delves into a part of Greek myth you don't see in some of these other series--she really focuses on Hades, his wife Persephone, and the Underworld.

Pantheon High is a series of graphic novels/OEL (that's "Original English Language") manga about the high school where the modern day sons and daughters of gods from several ancient pantheons go (thus the title). Again, kids tackle mythology to save the world, but there's two-fold delights here. First, it's in comics form. The art is a little overly "manga-ized" (why do characters descended from Greek, Norse, and Egyptian gods look just as asian as the sons and daughters of Japanese gods?), but it's got a great sense of action and there's some good visual gags that you can't get in prose.

Second, the four main characters are the son of Hades, the daughter of Tyr (Norse god of battle), daughter of Ra (Egyptian god of the sun), and the son of Benten, the Japanese goddess of Luck. This series goes a step further than the others by combining mythologies from all over the world. These heroes have to take on the sons and daughters of some of the most evil gods in all the pantheons to stop a plot to catapult the son of Loki, the daughter of Chronos, and others into full-fledged god status!

Not every book based on Greek mythology is a series--tomorrow, I'll highlight some stand-alone titles that both deal with the Trojan war and Helen of Troy

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