Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Review: Hades Speaks! by Vicky Alvear Shecter

Title: Hades Speaks!: A Guide to the Underworld by the Greek God of the Dead
Series: Secrets of the Ancient Gods
Author: Vicky Alvear Shecter
Illustrator: J.E. Larson
Format: Hardcover, 128 pages
Pub. Date: September 1st 2014
Source: Blog Win

Book Description:

Hades, god of the dead, welcomes readers on a dangerous tour of his underworld kingdom, filled with monsters, furies, giants, and vampire demons. Along the way, he reveals ancient death rites and sinister curses, tells hair-raising stories, and cracks jokes to die for. With his witty voice and ghoulish sense of humor, Hades is the perfect guide through this fresh and imaginative work of nonfiction that reads like a novel. Includes a glossary, bibliography, and index.



It's no secret that I love mythology. I have a degree in ancient civilizations and classics for a reason! No matter if they're historical texts or picture books, I'm always a sucker for myths. Of the Grecian pantheon, my favorite god is the often misunderstood and underrated Hades. So when I saw this book, I had to give it a go. I wasn't disappointed.

Hades Speaks! is a book that stands apart to me because it's actually written from the perspective of Hades giving the reader a tour of the Underworld. That's such a cool way to present this information, especially since it's a middle grade-ish age book. It makes learning fun, and makes it easy to forget that you're even learning at all.

I appreciated that Hades wasn't boring or cookie cutter. He had some depth and development as a character. He was bitter towards his siblings and a bit of a complainer- which if you've read anything about Hades, that's pretty accurate. But he cracks a few jokes and just wants to clear up his side of history that pop culture has gotten wrong. There's even a reference to Harry Potter & Fluffy.

The journey through the afterlife of the fallen Greeks is a very enjoyable one. There's a good flow. The information is explained by way of story telling, so it's not just an information dump of Greek facts. You're introduced to different monsters and underworld inhabitants that aren't really mentioned much, at least here in the US. (Shoutout to my girl Hecate who never gets much representation).

There's also illustrations throughout the book. They're well done, and really accentuate the texts.

If you, or your children, are interested in learning about Greek gods, this book is a great way to learn. Hades Speaks! should be a welcome addition to any classroom or library. I look forward to reading other books about the gods in this series.


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