I wasn’t sure of the target audience when I requested this one, but I’d say it was aimed at middle grade and above – many of the stories are toned down for the reader, for example Aphrodite’s birth is originally quite a bit more graphic than it appears in this book. It is definitely not one for young children though – I feel like the names and events would be too much to take in, and much of the humour would probably go right over their heads. It was quite nice to have these humorous moments that relied on a previous knowledge of Greek mythology: for example, Ares’ and Aphrodite’s flirting as a nod to their later affair, hints of Zeus’ infidelity, Aphrodite wondering why she has little effect on Athena, Hestia and Artemis, who were the three virgin goddesses. Despite this, I think it is a great way for those unfamiliar with Greek mythology to learn a little about it.
The representations of the Olympian gods were quite ‘standard’, as you’d expect them to appear, with the exception of Hera. Often represented as beautiful, being the ‘motherly’ wife of Zeus (despite some of her horrific acts), Hera looks more like a stern school-mistress in this, with her sallow skin, gaunt cheeks and hair pulled high and tight. It was an interesting representation, more accurately representing her personality and jealous character than some other works.
As for the artwork, it wasn’t outstanding but the forms were nice and the artist chose a lovely colour palette. My favourite image was the first full one we saw of Aphrodite, just as she comes out of the ocean with a dress made of seawater and flowers sprouting up at her feet.
Recommended for mythology fans, and a great read for anyone wanting to read more about the Greek legends. The author includes a small notes section and profile on Aphrodite at the back, for anyone wanting more information.