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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Book Review: Perseus by Geraldine McCaughrean


Perseus by Geraldine McCaughrean
Unabridged, 3 hr. 28 min.
Full Cast Audio
Cynthia Bishop & Full Cast (Narrators)
September 12, 2011
★★★★☆

Genre: Greek Mythology, YA

Source: Received from publisher as part of Audiobook Jukebox Solid Gold Reviewer Program
“In this second of four books in Geraldine McCaughrean's Heroes series, following the acclaimed Odysseus, readers follow Perseus as he lives the fate the oracles have declared, an impossible quest to kill the hideous, snake-haired Medusa to save his mother from marriage to an evil king. A power struggle among the gods both hinders and helps him along the way, and Perseus manages to find true love when he rescues the breathtakingly beautiful Princess Andromeda from the horrors of a bloodthirsty sea monster in this entrancing retelling of the classic myth”.
First I should point out that this is not a novelization of the classic myth of Perseus but rather a retelling. We do not really get into the thoughts of anyone but instead follow the story of Perseus as he slays Medusa, takes down Atlas, fights various kings, saves a princess, and kills a sea monster (not necessarily in that order). This book really helped to flesh out my knowledge of Perseus – all I knew came from a video game that I had played where he was one of the heroes you requested to slay Medusa. As this is a retelling of a myth, I’m not going to critique the character or plot development. At 160 pages (the paperback version) I think that this is a pretty sufficient retelling – you don’t feel like you are losing out on anything.

There is one thing that irritated me throughout the story – all of the pantheon of gods were referred to by their Greek names (like Zeus, Hera, and Artemis) with the exception of one – Hades was constantly referred to as Pluto, his Roman equivalent. This broke the continuity for me and was frustrating. I think to stick with the Greek names would have made the most sense as the story is taking place in Greece.

While McCaughrean’s books are intended for a YA audience, Amazon suggests 4th – 8th grade, this was still the enjoyable read for an adult. It didn’t feel like the story had been watered down for youths.

I certainly am interested in checking out the other Heroes that she has written about.

★★★★★

This was one of the best audiobook productions I have listened to in awhile. As the name of the publisher suggests, this is a full cast production. You have a different actor for each character – even the minor ones. This really helps to flesh out the characters even more and gives a good feel for their personalities – especially the gods. The storytelling was well paced and dramatic. There were tiny musical interludes between chapters – it reminded me of harp and drum music. This just helped to break up the chapters and didn’t take away from the story – they were approximately 5 – 10 second clips. I would certainly listen to one of their productions again.

Geraldine McCaughrean also has written 3 other books in her Heroes series Odysseus, Theseus and Hercules. You can visit the author’s website for additional information about her books.

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).




Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

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