Wednesday, December 29, 2010

YA BOOK REVIEW: The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds

When I saw that there was a new graphic novel version of Homer’s epic story of Odysseus wandering his way back to Ithaca from Troy, I thought I’d have a look. I’ve never read a graphic novel before, but I’ve been curious about the genre since it seems to be exploding in popularity. Moreover, I've read several adaptations of The Odyssey over the years and almost always enjoy seeing how different authors present the material.

The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds is a fine rendition of the tale. (I’m not going to summarize the familiar plot.) This version is a very quick read. (Almost too quick-which may mean I didn’t ponder the pictures as much as I should have?) It builds tension nicely at the end. And it is a beautiful book. The artwork is impressive.

If you like graphic novels and want a taste of this classic work, I recommend the book. If you want a quick overview of what happens in the Odyssey and enjoy illustrations, I also recommend this. I think what keeps me from being more glowingly enthusiastic is that I’m just more of a words-on-a-page person than a visual person. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but somehow I prefer the thousand words. I’m not very good at scrutinizing panels of pictures and figuring out what’s going on. I need the labels or the dialogue bubbles. Is that impatience on my part or is it just a difference in the way my brain works?


  1. Glad to see your positive review of this as I just ordered it for my library's graphic novel collection. Now I can't wait to look at it myself!

  2. Interesting review. I'm not so sure about the whole graphic novel thing either. I know they are increasingly popular here too, but don't know if I "get it" either. I know it's just another way of story telling, but I don't know that it's for me. I generally don't like childrens picture books that are wordless- I'd certainly never prefer one over the magnificent rolling rhyme of Dr Seuss for instance. I'll have to try an adult version at some stage, probably with a library copy. Having said that I'm not that familiar with The Odyssey, so this might be a good one to look at.