The Odyssey

0763642665Odysseus can’t catch a break. After offending the god Poseidon, he endures 20 years of challenges and misfortune. Trapped by a Cyclops, shipwrecked in a supernatural storm, and ensnared in the caves of a nymph, Odysseus must overcome these obstacles and more, while, back home, his wife and son fend off suitors hoping to take his throne. His attempts to navigate home are filled with magic, prophecies, and assistance — as well as hindrances — from the gods. His homecoming is a bloody battle against the traitors hoping to steal the kingdom from him.

Author/illustrator Gareth Hinds bring Homer’s classic tale of Odysseus’s plight to life in this breathtaking graphic adaptation. Hinds explains in his final notes that, although he prefers to break from realism, he included just enough historical touches to give authenticity. He rewrote much of the material, but used direct quotations when it was appropriate. This ability to combine newly imagined material while also staying true to Homer’s ancient poem will delight readers regardless of their familiarity with the original work.

Hinds’ illustrations range from quiet, moody panels to wild, action-filled battle scenes. Nearly every watercolor-and-pencil panel could serve as a standalone artwork. Hinds uses clever storytelling techniques throughout, including a mini-comic-within-a-comic to narrate a minstrel’s song about the Trojan War. When the reader sees an image of a Trojan horse, the nature of the song is clear. This creative framing device is just one example of many wonderful surprises in this book.

This graphic adaptation of an English Lit staple will obviously have its place in the classroom and would be a great companion to anyone studying Homer’s epic poem, but will also be enjoyed by fans of ancient mythology. Rick Riordan’s blurb on the back cover is no coincidence — hand this one to teens who love the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and are looking for their next great read.

The Odyssey
by Gareth Hinds
ISBN: 9780763642662
Candlewick, 2010
Publisher Age Rating: 12 and up

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