I loved how O'Connor went all "Disney's Hercules" with his narrative device this time! The real stars of the show are the Muses, each depicted with her own personality and talents.
He also did well to bring us Apollo warts and all- as much as we admire him, he was frequently a not-so-nice deity. Might as well show us the radiant full story!
Apollo is one of the most difficult gods to explain because he's so "big", even as Olympian gods go. In order to convey The Shining One, O'Connor has to use a whole bag of tricks, from the serious (the narration of the Nine Muses) to the comic (the E-True Hollywood Story narration by some of the other gods). Apollo comes across as fearless (unless he's up against Hera), impulsive, vain, a devoted father and son, incredibly petty and cruel, frequently given to unrequited love, the best musician ever (and you'd better believe it...) and a pitiless destroyer.
In O'Connor's hands, Apollo isn't the sun but light itself; his destruction of the giant snake Pythia is complete when his light causes its corpse to disintegrate. Still, the overriding feeling of the book borders on spooky and the reader can't help but wonder where the light is coming from. Is this all a Freudian struggle of civilization against power, or is there something more? You won't find the answer here, but you also won't find it in Homer or Hesiod. As with all great works, the value is that it makes the reader ask the question.
Of course the illustrations are sharp and economical, and the dialogue is both deep and witty- all as we've come to expect from this series. Recommended for all fans of Greek mythology.
ipopjc thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 12
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