Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book review - Olympia Heights by Amy Leigh Strickland

Recommended for: Die Hard Greek Mythology fans
Rating: 3 Stars - Liked but cannot recommend

The first thing that attracted me to this book was the cover. I first want to say how all the covers in this series are really well done. The colors make them pop, and the artwork is well done. I do know that they took pictures of models against a green screen and photo shopped it. You may want to check out the books just to look at the covers.

After having just read “Pantheons,” I did get a strong feeling of “didn’t I just read this?” I am finding that many modern day stories centering on mythology involve a group of children/teenagers grouped together in a school. In this story, the school is called Olympia Heights and the kids are not direct descendants of the gods, but reincarnations of the gods themselves. I have to say the way they come to this conclusion and their complete lack of skepticism is remarkable.

The plot revolves around a series of arson that happens around town and the teenagers, referring to themselves as “The Pantheon,” take it upon themselves to investigate and stop the occurrences because they have special abilities.
The main character Zach, who is the reincarnation of Zeus, (see what the author did there) is nicknamed lighting because he is struck by lightning at a football game. He also can conjure lightning whenever he wants. He also tends to cheat on his girlfriend, who happens to be the reincarnation of Hera.

The best aspect of the story is the filler in between the chapters. Strickland gives brief retellings of the traditional Greek myths we learned in school. They are interesting retellings. You do need at least a basic knowledge of Greek mythology to understand them though.

My overall disappointment with the story is based on the plot however. Yes, these are the Greek gods going up against the Titans again. I should be expecting that. The problem is that the plot feels like an afterthought or just an excuse to end the story. Most of the time, you are learning about the individual members of the Pantheon. They give clues as to which god they are and you have to decipher who they are. Again, if you do not at least have a basic knowledge of Greek mythology you could be lost easily.

Overall, this is not a bad story. I did enjoy reading it. I cannot give it my recommendation though. If you have a good knowledge of Greek mythology and really like anything having to do with it, then you will probably like this. If you are merely a fan of fantasy or urban fantasy, there are better stories for you. If you want to learn about Greek mythology this is not your story.