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Heroes of Olympus
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Heroes of Olympus

3.8 40
by Philip Freeman, Laurie Calkhoven (Adapted by), Drew Willis (Illustrator)

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Accessible, fast-paced retellings of the most important classical Greek and Roman myths, adapted for middle graders.

Ancient myths continue to have modern relevance—for thousands of years they have been the basis for plays, operas, paintings, and movies. And in these retellings from acclaimed writer and scholar Philip Freeman, classic tales from


Accessible, fast-paced retellings of the most important classical Greek and Roman myths, adapted for middle graders.

Ancient myths continue to have modern relevance—for thousands of years they have been the basis for plays, operas, paintings, and movies. And in these retellings from acclaimed writer and scholar Philip Freeman, classic tales from Greek and Roman mythology find new life and inspire aspiring writers, artists, and musicians. Adapted from the lengthier Oh My Gods and specially tailored to a younger audience, these irresistible stories of philandering gods, flawed heroes, and tragic lovers portray the fundamental aspects of humanity and are filled with entertaining drama and valuable insights. Sixty dramatic illustrations enliven the book.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This competent introduction to Greek mythology, adapted from Freeman’s recent adult title Oh My Gods, begins with a description of Creation, followed by sections on major and minor deities, heroes, lovers, and such stories as the fall of Troy and the founding of Rome, among other popular tales. A great deal of space is devoted to Zeus’s love affairs and, more often, rapes. Other gods generally receive a page or two, although some who are naturals for a young audience—like Ares and Athena—are given little space. The heroes’ tales receive significantly more attention, though they are mostly told in a pedestrian third-person style that fails to convey much excitement. As part of one of Hercules’s labors, for example, Freeman writes that he “found the bull and wrestled it to the ground. Then he borrowed a trick that his father, Zeus, had used with Europa. He rode the bull across the sea and back to the mainland.” Adequate as an overview, but there are stronger choices available, particularly Donna Jo Napoli’s 2011 Treasury of Greek Mythology. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Agent: Joelle Delbourgo, Joelle Delbourgo Associates. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—Adapted from Freeman's adult title Oh My Gods (S & S, 2012), this overview of classical mythology covers much territory. Beginning with "Creation" and Zeus stepping up as "leader of the immortals," the book is divided into broad sections with two- to eight-page segments describing an array of "Gods," "Goddesses," "Heroes," and "Lovers" (included here are tales such as "Procne and Philomela" and "Glaucus and Scylla"). Chapters focusing on "Hercules," "Jason and the Argonauts," "Odysseus," and other well-known adventures are lengthier, and the final section touches briefly upon Roman myths. While Zeus and his interactions with the mortal women "unlucky" enough to catch his eye are allotted 14 pages, other deities get briefer treatment (Athena is given about 2 pages with the story of Arachne squeezed in). The stories unfold with plenty of violent encounters, sexual conquests, alliances and betrayals, ambition and revenge, and harrowing twists of fate. However, despite the high drama, the detail-laden writing seems almost workmanlike (Theseus's heroic feat is described: "He killed the Minotaur and then led the youths and maidens out of the twisting Labyrinth by following the thread"). Presented in shades of black and gray, the digitally rendered illustrations add muscle to the text with sophisticated, graphic-novel-style depictions of the characters and their endeavors. While this volume could be used as a survey-style introduction, readers looking for greater artistry and emotional depth would do better with works such as Donna Jo Napoli's Treasury of Greek Mythology (National Geographic, 2011).—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
A numbing catalog of "Gods, Goddesses, Monsters, and Mortals" from Greek and Roman mythology, condescendingly "adapted" for younger audiences from a juicier version for adults. Spun off from Freeman's Oh My Gods! (2012) but hardly differing in page count, Calkhoven's methodical treatments of 60-some classical myths and legends only rephrase and tone down Freeman's language. She leaves most of the (nearly continual) sex and violence in but describes it euphemistically or in dryly factual ways. The retellings arbitrarily blend Greek and Roman versions of names (Zeus, Hercules) and inconsistently render some in English ("Sky" rather than Uranus and "Earth" rather than Gaia, but only proper names for all of their offspring). The dozens of headed entries begin with "Creation" and, after Cronus castrates his father (or, as it's put here, "slashed Sky's flesh") the war between gods and titans. Thereafter in no particular order (except that the Roman entries come last) come short accounts of individual gods and demigods mixed with topical overviews ("Goddesses," "Heroes"), genealogical recitations and short summaries of epic tales ("Troy") or legends ("Scaevola"). Original sources for all of these get scarcely a mention, and though many of the tales are not among the usual suspects, readers needing reminders of who Despoina, Otus, Ephialtes and dozens of less familiar figures are will get no help from the spotty annotated cast list at the end. An opening promise of "beauty and magic and disturbing twists" goes unfulfilled in this monotonous parade of ancient names and detached barbarism. Illustrations not seen. (Mythology. 12-16)

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt


I love stories about ancient gods and heroes. Magical stories set in strange and ancient worlds were my favorite bedtime reading when I was young, and they still are today. What could be better than Zeus wielding his mighty thunderbolt or Hercules slaying monsters?

When we use the word “myth” today, we usually mean a story that isn’t true. The ancient Greeks used the word “mythos” to mean anything spoken—tales told by great bards and poets in story and song. The Greek and Roman myths were traditional tales that held important meanings, whether they were true or not.

The Greeks had their own stories, but they were also a people of the wine-dark sea. Everywhere Greek colonists settled, the stories of their gods and heroes flourished. They were quick to adopt new tales, and stories flowed into Greece from places like Asia Minor, the Nile valley, and Mesopotamia. When Phoenician traders introduced their alphabet to the area around the Aegean Sea, the Greeks adapted the symbols to their own language and began to write their stories down.

Sometime around the year 750 BC, a poet named Homer recorded the greatest of all the Greek stories: the story of the Trojan War. Others wrote down other tales as well, and throughout Greece, festivals were devoted to tragedies and comedies about the gods, goddesses, heroes, and monsters of ancient times.

Far to the west, a small village on the banks of the Tiber River in Italy had begun to expand beyond its seven hills. The Romans inherited a rich mythology from their own ancestors, but they added many of the Greek stories and made them their own. As Rome grew and its power extended across the Mediterranean and beyond, the Romans spread the ancient myths throughout their empire.

In this book you’ll find modern retellings of all the major Greek and Roman myths. These stories are so full of beauty and magic and disturbing twists that today’s readers can still find truths in the ancient tales.

May you never lose your love for old stories.

Meet the Author

Philip Freeman is Qualley Professor of Classics at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and a former professor of classics at Washington University in St. Louis. He was selected as a visiting fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton for January 2012. He earned the first joint Ph.D. in classics and Celtic studies from Harvard University, and has been a visiting scholar at the Harvard Divinity School, the American Academy in Rome, and the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. The author of several previous books including Alexander the Great, St. Patrick of Ireland and Julius Caesar, he lives with his family in Decorah, Iowa. Visit him at PhilipFreemanBooks.com.

Laurie Calkhoven is the author of many books, including George Washington: An American Life and Harriet Tubman: Leading the Way to Freedom. She lives in New York City. Visit her at LaurieCalkhoven.com.

Drew Willis is an art director and illustrator working in New York City. Visit him at DrewWillis.com.

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Heroes of Olympus 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Will you all SHUT THE HELL UP. This is not a chat room. This book has nothing related to demigods. Stop giving this one star just because it's in the same category when you search heroes of olympus. You haven't read the damn book, sheesh.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You can tell that every rick riordan dicksuck comment on these reviews are made by children who cant even form proper sentences
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very descriptive and i love how it doesnt seem like a childs book, i believe that even adults could read this book! I dont see why anyone who loves greek mythology woukdnt like this amazing book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
&heart &heart &heart &heart &heart &heart &heart &heart &heart &heart &heart &heart &Star &star
HorseAnimeFreak More than 1 year ago
LOVED IT!!!! it's the best Greek Mythology book i have and that's saying A LOT!!!!! hehe anyway it was a REALLY good book would defiantly recommend it to ANYONE who either wants to get in to Greek Mythology or just wants a good Greek Mythology book :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Has a graphic ass rape, forced diarreah eating scene .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book stinks and if you want a good greek/roman myth book get them from Rick Riordan. This book is terrible compared to Ricks books. RICK IS BOSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who reads this horrible crap?this is not an entertaining.:(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just brilliant.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hellow everyone welcome my name is chiron bios are on result 8 keep an out out for the cenataur post i would be happy to meet u all
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
&#19998 &#1857 &#3002
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Join the thistleclan at gue allresults
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I havent even reaf this and it seens like a total rip off of percy jackson, and i am not one ti judge by covers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ball sucker
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wste of money and i would never read this vook if i knew it was just this bad
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is Pst laaaaaaaaaaaaaa :( ;(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am like so in love with greek gods thst you have to read theis book i would of gieave a six or 7
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Retards better and funnier. You can find him on the mark of athena reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the greek gods
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great retelling of beutiful stories of ancient greece and anyone who says riordan is better for writing stories loosly based on this they obviously never read original myths ( this is coming from a riordan fan) bithes