I think O'Connor is getting better as this series goes along, so many interwoven voices and points of reference to play with now...
As usual, the real genius here is depicting the Olympians as the Ancient Greeks likely knew them in their imaginations, i.e. fallible beings that still manage to be sympathetic if we take their formative experiences and relationships into consideration. Striking down Niobe's children to punish her blasphemy against her Mother Leto obviously strikes us Moderns as a barbaric and petty thing to do, but in an ancient context wherein respect for family and lineage was paramount it makes a bit more sense, even if it is still chilling (as it was always meant to be, no doubt).
This series has my unreserved recommendation now, can't wait to read the volumes I haven't yet gotten to!
Some of the Greek gods are difficult to "write for", particularly if they don't seem to have as much agency as, say, a Zeus, Hera or Athena. Artemis is one of the gods; she's represented in mythology as cold and independent (and when she's cold, she can be downright cruel), but she's also the goddess who's most likely to protect the vulnerable. A tricky character to get right, but O'Connor nailed it as usual.
Artemis' disdain for marriage, the protectiveness she feels toward her mother Leto and her inclination toward swift retribution can all be traced to her mother's persecution while waiting to give birth to her twins (courtesy of Hera, of course). Both Artemis and Apollo are marked by their mother's ordeal, but Artemis, having seen her mother labor with Apollo, may be affected more deeply. Although she can't see into the future as Apollo can, she can see everything that's happening in the present. It's therefore fitting that she uses the charm she inherited from her father Zeus against him when she binds him to a promise that she will be free and wild and will never have to marry or have children, thereby avoiding any of the dangers her mother encountered.
I was surprised by how "deep" the volume got, but it's stayed with me a little longer than most of the other installments of this series. Kudos again for his vibrant illustrations--yes, that's exactly what Orion should look like--and he even managed to make me laugh out loud with the "mythological-creature factoid lightning round" in the notes.
Recommended for fans of Greek mythology who like their stories profound but also with a wink.
ipopjc thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 12
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