Monday, April 11, 2011

The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Graphic Novel/Historical/Mythology

Release Date: 10/12/2010

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About the Book: Homer's epic poem about Odysseus trying to return home after the Trojan War transferred into a graphic novel format.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I had to seek this one out and read it after The Odyssey knocked out my pick One Crazy Summer in SLJ's Battle of the Kids Books. I mean, how could something beat out my pick, One Crazy Summer?? I had to know!

It's an impressive undertaking to transfer this poem into a graphic novel format. Some might think because it's a graphic novel it would be easier to read, which isn't the case at all. It's still a very dense book with a lot of detail and a lot of story. It's also not toned down at all for young readers. I think it's easy to say, oh this is The Odyssey, so we can hand this over to Percy Jackson fans! But this is not the lighthearted, funny story of Percy. This is The Odyssey, complete with gore, fighting, blood, backstabbing, sex, betrayal, and death. Sure, some fans will enjoy it, but it's not an easy read and though both stories deal with Greek Mythology, they are very different.

For the most part I enjoyed the graphic novel, although the ending where there was blood all over the palace and suitors speared everywhere was a bit gross. (Like I said, it is very gory and I'm a chicken when it comes to gore!!) But the way the author kept true to the story and almost brought it to life through the illustrations is quite impressive. He also had to pare down the text so it would fit within the confines the graphic novel panels. I don't think he lost the meaning or the beauty of the poem and the art and text work together well to tell the whole story.

I do think it would be interesting to use this version in the classroom so readers can have a visual element to go along with the text. I think a lot of readers would respond to the story even more if they had both. An excellent graphic novel and a fantastic version of a classic story, Gareth Hinds version of The Odyssey is worth checking out.

I have to add my side tangent about The Odyssey. I always get annoyed at Odysseus. He goes off and cheats on Penelope with various goddesses, because you know, he was under a spell and all, and Penelope stays and home and fights off the advances of many suitors-for 17 years. Doesn't really seem all that fair if you ask me! But hey, the book is still good, even with my gripes!:)


  1. I really liked the Odyssey and the Iliad. The Aeneid was the one that I trouble getting through lol

  2. I can't wait to pick this one up, but I'm a Greek Mythology geek. Loved "The Odyssey" and "The Illiad". I do agree that I hated the double standards of gender in the myths. It's not that different, unfortunately, from our world today.

  3. Thanks for the heads up about the gore. I have 5th grade through 12th using my library, so I need to know my books from an "appropriateness" standpoint! I will make sure and take a good look at this one. I love Hinds' adaptations, though -- Beowulf has seen heavy circulation among the middle and high schoolers. Maybe it's BECAUSE of the gore factor!

  4. Yan-I always liked the Odyssey too and it was one of my favorite HS units in English class.

    Rummanah-Yeah, the double standard annoys me. But other than that, it's a great book. I hope you get a chance to pick it up!

    Anne-it could be the gore factor!:) I think I was expecting a younger adaptation at first (to hand over to the tween Percy fans) but this one isn't an easier version which I thought it would be. But I still think some tweens will enjoy it.

  5. I read this graphic novel as well and included it in my class library. I already taught the Odyssey this year, but I plan on using this next year. Nice review :)

  6. I think that this adaptation is great for adults and teens...I really got a much better understanding of The Odyssey after reading it. Even though I studied the text in high school and college, this was so much easier to work with.


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