Book Review: Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess

September 25, 2010

All of us are born naked, helpless, and defenseless.

Not so Pallas Athena.

I may have mentioned a time or two that my daughter is interested in Greek mythology. Hence, why I checked out Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess by George O’Connor from the library. The book is a collection of stories about Athena, the goddess of war, in graphic novel form.

What I Liked

– O’Connor’s artwork is fantastic. The pictures are clear and crisp; the action is easy to follow.

– The book includes Athena’s origin story (born fully grown and clothed from Zeus’s forehead), how she came to be known as Pallas Athena, another account of how she gained the name Pallas, the story of Medusa (and Perseus), and the story of Arachne. The thread that connects the stories (aside from Athena herself) are how each of Athena’s adventures allows her to add to her aegis, and the framing device is that the Fates are spinning the tale.

– This book is another good primer on Greek mythology. At the end of the book, O’Connor includes an appendix with a list of his resources as well as more information about the characters featured in the story. He also has notes on the story to clarify some plot or word questions that readers may have–and also to subtly advertise/tease upcoming books.

– As someone who just finished the first Percy Jackson book, it was a lot of fun for me to see the elements of Perseus’s story and how Rick Riordan uses/changes it to fit into the narrative of The Lightning Thief.

What I Didn’t Like

My only complaint is that I don’t feel Athena was really developed as a character in her own right–something I didn’t know I was expecting until the story was over. It sounds weird since everything is about her, but in a lot of ways, she is just jealous or a fighter, but with no real depth of character. And let’s be real: that’s why I read retellings.

In conclusion: Nice graphic depiction of the stories of Athena, but it would’ve been nice to get a little extra character stuff about Athena in there, too.

YA Reading Challege: 26/75

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