Thursday, May 08, 2008


Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 151
Series : Canongate Myth Series
Reason for Reading : Once Upon a Time II Challenge

This is the first book I have read in the Canongate Myth Series. It looks at the story of the Greek Titan Atlas. He was punnished by the King of the Gods Zeus for his role in the war against the Olympians. His task is to hold up the Kosmos with no repreival date. ONe day Heracles approaches Atlas to help him with one of the twelve labours set him by Eurystheus. He has to get someone else to retrieve three of Hera's apples from Atlas's garden which are guarded by the snake Ladon.

The story is told mostly in the first person by Atlas who settles into his punnishment without questioning what would happen if he put the Kosmos down. The tale is as much about Heracles who is portrayed as the usual hero type. If he isn't killing something he is eating it or fucking it. Nice! He isn't known for thinking and when he starts to it is like a buzzing of a thought wasp in his head. To make it stop he takes to banging his head against walls. He takes the burden off Atlas for a time, holding up the Kosmos while Atlas retrieves the apples for him. He soon realises that his strength is in movement and not in bearing a burden like Atlas has to. He tricks Atlas into taking back the Kosmos before he is ready so that he can resume his regular hero activities and try to outwit his step mother Hera who really has it in for him.

I loved this short novel. It was wonderfully told with very different voices for Atlas and Heracles with lots of random scientific facts off all kinds thrown in for good measure. There is a section near the end with Laika (the first dog that the Russians put into space) which was a very random addition to the tale, but one I enjoyed. I will definitely be looking into other writing the author has done in the future and hope to enjoy the other books in the Myth series as much.

Other reviews : Things Mean a Lot

3 comments:

Nymeth said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this one too. It's my second favourite in the series, after Dream Angus. The thing about Laika was random, yes, but I also thought that it fit really well.

Marg said...

I really enjoyed this when I read it as well. I will get around to finishing off my review of it eventually.

Terri B. said...

I'm looking forward to reading this one and others in this series. I've read The Penelopiad and enjoyed the retelling of the tale of Odysseus from Penelope's perspective.