- Also check our best rated Children’s Book reviews
Atalanta and the Arcadian Beast (Young Heroes (Harper Paperback)) Paperback – 1 Mar 2004
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
|5 star (0%)|
|4 star (0%)|
|3 star (0%)|
|2 star (0%)|
|1 star (0%)|
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
As we join the story, Atlanta is out hunting with her adoptive father when something large and out of place starts stalking them. On the run and desperate to get back to their cottage, her father is injured by this large, unknown beast. Arriving home, Atalanta manages to wound the animal, driving it off...but it's too late for her father, he's mortally wounded. He does manage to hand off a ring with a ring and tells her that it is her only clue as to her origins. From there Atalanta packs up and goes out to the woods with Urso, her bear brother. At first tracking the beast, but then when that proves to be fruitless, she becomes enmeshed in returning to a more wild life, living with Urso and being alone in the woods and even meeting the god Pan who gives her clues to what lies ahead in her young life. Her wild and free life comes crashing to a halt when she is captured by a group of hunters while trying to protect Urso inaugurating her return to life with humans. This is the start of her true adventure in joining the mythic hero Orion (who is pompous and full of himself), going to a true city and meeting royalty, and asserting her abilities when those around here would rather treat her otherwise.
Yolen and Harris don't box Atalanta into a tom-boy stereotype; yes, she is fierce, independent, a talented hunter, a swift runner, and clever...but she's not JUST that. Her character isn't a static caricature, she grows and develops as the story goes on and I think that is a lot of the draw here. It's action paced, but it also has a strong human element that draws the reader in and that combined with the strong action and genuine fear/terror that the beast evokes...that's what makes Atalanta and the Arcadian Beast so enjoyable. There is a lot going on here, loss, friendships, adventure, conflict of emotions and characters, compelling plot points all...in the end, it's a believable backdrop to the later story of Atalanta. Once again Yolen & Harris weave together just the right amount of adventure, historical fact, everyday life (of both the "common people" and royalty), and Greek mythology to give the reader a satisfying glimpse of what Atalanta's early life might have been like! I give this book a solid A; it's engaging, entertaining and just plain old fun...a great read for mythology lovers of any age!!
Atalanta was abandoned in the forest as a baby, and raised until the age of four by a bear. Then her bear-mother was killed, and the feral child was taken in and raised by a childless couple, until her mother died. One day an enormous creature attacks the cottage, killing Atalanta's father. Before he dies, he gives her a ring that is the only clue to where she might come from. But Atalanta doesn't particularly want to be with humans, as she informs the nature-god Pan.
She teams up with an old playmate (a bear) whom she calls Urso. She rescues Urso from a village of hunters, and spends time near other humans -- until the hunters come upon a monstrous winged lion. She teams up with Urso and the legendary hunter Orion to hunt down the winged lion.
As with the previous two books, this one has plenty of action, lots of trivia about Greek mythology, legend and everyday life, and the gods and heroes bob in and out of it. Artemis (kind of petulant) and Pan (likably weird and quirky) both make appearances, as does the skilled but rather boastful Orion (who was immortalized as a constellation -- Orion the Hunter, and Orion's Belt).
Atalanta is a good heroine -- she craves freedom, has a strong sense of herself, and defnitely grows and changes over the course of the story. Orion is as he should be, proud but pretty likable. Urso is proof that you don't need dialogue to be a good character -- he's a bear, but he has more likability to him than most fictional characters who DO talk. And I liked Pan, of course.
Yolen's writing is quick and sometimes humorous, though this is a more somber book than "Odysseus." The dialogue isn't hard to understand, and she shows an exceptional ability to make legends and myths very palatable. And the sense of menace and danger around the winged lion is very believable.
Fans of Greek myth and fantasy will enjoy "Atalanta and the Arcadian Beast" -- a solid, fast-paced, well-written story of the Age of Heroes. Hope this series has many more books yet to go...