Greek mythology is intricately woven into our daily lives. We name days of the week, months and celestial bodies after the gods and goddesses. We speak a language where many words are derived from the names of characters in those familiar myths. So it isn’t crazy to think we know those old stories pretty well, right?

I’m going to have to admit ignition so much of the mythology that I thought I knew. What I know are the most popular and famous stories that end up repeated in movies and alluded to in books. A lot of the things I thought I knew were partial truths, and for a book nerd like me, that’s hard to admit.

The good news is there is a cure for ignorance….reading! So I’m reading George O’Connor’s Olympians series.

  • Zeus – King of the Gods
  • Athena – Grey-Eyed Goddess
  • Hera – The Goddess and Her Glory
  • Hades – Lord of the Dead
  • Poseidon – Earth Shaker
  • Aphrodite – Goddess of Love
  • Ares – Bringer of War
  • Apollo – The Brilliant One
  • Artemis – Wild Goddess of the Hunt
  • Hermes – Tales of the Trickster

The school owns the whole set except for Hermes, it’s too new, so I’ve decided to educate myself on the great but imperfect Olympians.

I have read up to Ares, though I plan to finish the books today. Each book not only explains the origins of the highlighted god, it also shows their personality through interactions with the other Olympians. The stories also include side stories, like Athena helping Perseus defeat Medusa or Hera’s vendetta against Heracles. 

I like that O’Connor thoroughly explained how it all started, with Gaea and Oranos, then Kronos taking over and Zeus’s eventual coup with the help of his brothers Hades and Poseidon. O’Connor repeats parts of the story in each story as necessary.

The pages of the books are numbered because O’Connor gives us Geek Notes (with an ‘R’ added to make them Greek Notes) that explain his graphic panels. He uses a lot of historical, literary and artistic references and most of us would just miss them. His author’s notes also are worth reading, as he takes the time to explain why he designed the characters and pursued their stories as he did. He also makes sure to tell us when there are contradictions in the myriads of stories.

I really appreciated the family trees in the front on each book – I referred to them a lot! The other thing I love are his character pages that give specs on each leading character, not just the gods, goddesses and heroes.

I can see why my students love this series. It’s a nice companion to the Rick Riordan books and all the other Olympian-based fiction on the shelves.

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