Goddess Girls: Athena the Wise

This is the last Goddess Girls review for awhile! Still waiting for Book 7, Artemis the Loyal, at the library! And Book 8, Medusa the Mean comes out today!! I’m pretty excited to read something from Medusa’s point of view!

I don't know why Athena let Heracles be front and center on her own cover

Summary of Amazingness
By Patricia
Athena’s dad Zeus tells her to “help out” Mt. Olympus Academy’s newest student, a determined mortal named Heracles! Hercules must complete 12 Labors set by his lame cousin Eurystheus within one week to earn his place at MOA! Since Eurystheus is such a tool, the labors mostly involve catching or killing giant beasts, and Athena has her work cut out for her convincing Heracles to use his brains as well as his strength. Plus, since they’ve been spending so much time together, rumors are flying around school that they are in like with each other!!! How embarrassing! But could it be true?? Also, snotty mortal weaver Arachne challenges Athena to a weaving contest, and then weaves an insulting tapestry about Athena’s fly mom. So, pissed, Athena turns her into a spider as per her Revenge-ology textbook’s suggestion of “things to turn mortals into”.

Or, you know, just stab her face, whatever

Faithfulness to Original Mythos
By Steven
I admit, this one threw me for a bit of a loop; much as I love ragging on the mangled mythologies in these books, this one did a better than usual job of staying on target. So long as we overlook the bits made entirely out of whole cloth (Athena joining Hercules for half his tasks on Zeus’ assignment, Athena’s crush on Hercules and its attendant middle school drama, etc.), the only major departures from the original are those of omission. Hera is strikingly absent for a work about Hercules, and his parentage is (as usual for these books) tactfully not mentioned, but the Twelve Labors get a pretty decent coverage, albeit with slightly more interference from Athena than in the original. The tasks (not to mention Eurystheus) are rendered fairly bloodless, but this is a tween-age novel, so that’s to be expected. The only significant departure is actually not about Hercules at all, but rather regards Athena and Arachne; Arachne’s hubris is depicted fairly enough as is the spirit of her spiteful weaving (according to the Ovidian version, anyway), but the contents of both girls’ tapestries are rewritten extensively from the original. In Arachne’s case that makes sense for the book’s audience (her original is pretty much the laundry list of philandering shape-shifting gods shown in flagrante delicto), but Athena’s is changed from the original series of cautionary tales about contests between mortals and gods (and their inevitable outcomes) to Hercules’ labors, apparently as a later plot point. At least they kept the temple of the Twelve Olympians intact as the main piece. In summary, though, it’s pretty true to the story. Grab a copy of Ovid or Hesiod if you don’t believe me.

Steven read two actual books to write the above paragraph! This is why he's the expert

Tween Girl Life Lessons
By Patricia
1) Even if things seem impossible at first, there’s usually a tricky, riddle-like solution if you just use your brain.
2) Boys are strong, but kind of dumb.
3) Even if you like-like a boy, he should never try to kiss you under false pretenses.
4) In middle school, talking to a boy is a sign of betrothal.

Strong, but dumb

Steven’s Favorites!
Character: Tie between the Erymanthian Boar (or is that bore?) and Eurystheus, the cowardly king
Part: Zeus and his Cosmo-esque Temple Digest magazine. “Corinthian, Ionic, or Doric? What your choice of columns says about you!”
Thing I Learned: Little known fact; Revenge-ology is an exact science. Not sure about the proper response? Consult your text-scroll for handy tables!

Patricia’s Favorites!!
Character: Zeus. He only drinks “Zeus Juice”, which I think is code for ouzo, and sends Heracles on this ridic quest all to have something stylish to depict on his new temple’s walls.
Part: Athena defeats the hydra by confusing it with math!
Thing I Learned: The gods should sometimes show mercy to stupid mortals… j/k always turn them into animals lol!

Previously: Persephone the Phony

Or read them in order:
Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, Book 5, Book 6

2 responses to “Goddess Girls: Athena the Wise”

  1. Caitlin says:

    I am perpetually pleased at how successful this recommendation was for you!

    • pladd says:

      lol Steven might be less pleased. But I think he’s only complaining about reading them in a fruitless attempt to salvage his reputation. We all know he secretly loves it.

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