“You see?' said Prometheus. 'It is your fate to be Heracles the hero, burdened with labours, yet it is also your choice. You choose to submit to it. Such is the paradox of living. We willingly accept that we have no will.”
Heroes by Stephen Fry is a gift, his Great Mythology series in general is a gift. I have loved the Greeks since I was kid, but in school it was barely touched upon. There is a lot of history and stories to wade through and I will happily let Fry do all the work for me, he's chosen cleverly to split the stories to make it easier for the reader. Book one focused on the birth and general histories of the Gods leaving room for further books to focus on other parts, and I'm glad he did. A lot of these hero stories are familiar to me, but I might not have known the whole thing, or known where the went after completing the task they're most famous for.
I also listened to this as an audiobook and I loved it, it might not be to everyone's taste though. Fry has written this with his distinct British quirky sense of humour, which translates whilst reading, but really comes into its own when he's narrating. Does he give his characters accents they would never of had, yes. Does it matter?? To me, no. It adds to the humour, adds to the silliness. I'd rather that then he butcher a Greek accent.
I can't wait for the next instalment Troy, which I've actually pre-ordered. Something I never do, but you know...when in lockdown. I was hoping it would be a book focused on the monsters and the baddies, but since watching the BBC adaptation and learning there was a lot more behind the story I'm really looking forward to it.
I really like Nemesis but I can't continue with the huge plot holes. I have way too many questions about the basic world building and technology. If science and learning are outlawed, then how were Diabolics created? It makes them seem like a new creation, but isn't new science outlawed? And where do you draw the line on blasphemy? Is learning to sew a crime? What is considered BAD learning?
Again, Nemesis is cool. But I take too many issues with the plot.
This was a quick read, and well paced.
The whole premise of the book is pretty absurd. Let me break it down. First, this girl runs away to join the circus in 2016. Most circuses by that point had gone belly-up, but this girl seems to just stumble over more than one in a tiny UK coastal town. Very unlikely.
And that leads us to Willow, our main character. She is flawed, but not in a relatable way. She has a rich daddy who owns her off on others and can't be bothered to take care of her because "she looks too much like her", his ex and mother of Willow. So Willow spends the whole book as a runaway, while recounting other escape attempts. Some seemed understandable while most seemed straight up spoiled brat moves. And that's where being flawed too much comes into play. How can I feel sympathy for a character when she is clearly in the wrong? The book opens with her ruining her step-mother's wedding dress. And by the end of the book, we still don't have an excuse for why she did it and why she hates her stepmom. Because she's young? Pregnant? We are never given a good reason, so most of Willow's behavior comes off as ridiculous and petty.
And I would like to note that for a girl so "prepared" for this runaway episode, she didn't know squat about street life. She had a list of rules to follow but not one said anything about going anywhere with strangers. She kept putting herself in incredibly dangerous situations because she was too stupid to think "hey, maybe I shouldn't tease the creepy smelly ticket seller" or "don't go into a stranger's house".
In the end, we get closure with a neat bow on top, but seriously? Nobody learned a lesson. Daddy still admitted to not really loving Willow, but he cries big fat tears of joy when she returns home to him. And let's not forget there are 17 years of distant "throw money at it until it goes away" parenting and never really even remembering she exists. You never learn why Willow hates her stepmom. You never learn why any of this had to happen. She ran away so many times she had a detective on her case all day every day, and nobody once thought to send this poor girl to therapy?! Why does a 6/8/11 year old keep running away from boarding school/home? Nobody ever seems to suggest this child might need help.
All in all, don't bother. The whole thing is stupid. And if I'm going to be technical, as the book went along, the editing mistakes got worse and worse. So, I felt no sympathy for the main character, nobody learned anything, and everyone lives happily ever after. Gag me.
This was SO MUCH FUN! to read!!! I honestly didn’t know I’d get such a kick out of reading a middle-grade graphic novel but I found myself up one night at 1 am completely wrapped up in this...
a bit about the book…
Middle School Misadventures: Operation: Hat Heist!
by Jason Platt
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 21, 2020
Genre: Middle Grade, Children's, Graphic Novel
In Jason Platt's second Middle School Misadventures graphic novel, Newell's favorite hat gets taken away! With the help of his most talented friends, he concocts the perfect plan to get it back. Operation: Hat Heist is a go!
Newell's favorite show of all time is The Captain! Newell is beyond excited when he learns that the Captain himself, Patrick O'Shaughnessy, will be at Monster Comic-Con. He can't wait to meet The Captain wearing his once-worn-by-The-Captain WWII crusher hat that his dad gave him. But when Newell brings the hat to school, it gets stolen from his backpack! Fart.
When Newell finally spots the culprit wearing his hat in the hall, Mr. Todd confiscates it and reminds the students, "There are no hats to be worn in school!" Double fart. What will Newell do?! He wants his hat back so he doesn't let his dad down and can impress his hero, but Mr. Todd refuses to return it! Just when Newell is about to give up, he receives a note from 8th-grader Ethan: "I have an idea. Also, bring your friends. They can help, too." Can Newell, Ethan, and this ragtag group of friends pull off the perfect hat heist?
In this fun and imaginative full-color graphic novel, Jason Platt sends fast-talking, daydreaming, Newell on another desperate quest to save his favorite hat before he meets his all-time hero.
This is a middle-grade buddy adventure graphic novel that goes so much further than the cover and description would at first suggest, and I loved every frame of it. Newell is an eighth-grader with a group of loyal friends, a dad who he watches their favorite show 'The Captain' with, and a very special hat that he keeps on losing.
Author Jason Platt opens the book with an 'episode' of 'The Captain' and this is the hook for the entire story; Newell shares a love for this show with his dad, and it also represents their connection. When Newell gets his hat stolen and then confiscated at school (so many lessons/horror stories!) he has just got to get it back. He can't go to Monster Comic-Con and meet his hero without it and there's no way his dad can find out about the hat being gone…again.
There are so many dilemmas and interesting situations presented for Newell in this fast-paced story, and every single one feels genuine. They all feel natural for the age group that Platt has written for (and placed me right there back at school): the school teacher you feel is out to get you, your group of friends that is your entire world, the class you hate, the things you look forward to, the worry that you will disappoint, those big emotions. But there are also high-jinks and a heist plot which is brilliant, and a major twist to the story that I was completely not expecting which displays expert story-telling.I can't even completely reveal the whole story because of it.
While a middle-grader will probably be reading this for the adventure of Newell getting his hat back for Comic-Con (and this is a very worthy cause; I go to them with my own son), there are many deeper levels to this graphic novel that I hope are absorbed and maybe discussed if read with someone else, it is also filled with beautifully-drawn artwork, and it works for other age ranges for an entertaining read.
I'll be recommending this series for the school library, and I'll be reading more of the series myself!
a little bit about the author Jason…
*A review/e-galley copy was provided by the publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in exchange of an honest review, as part of a blog tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club (FFBC). THANK YOU!*