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Hera's Terrible Trap (Hopeless Heroes) Paperback – 22 Feb 2018
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A thumbs up from this house. Bring on Hera! --Linda, Books Of All Kinds
A magical adventure --Donnie, 9
These books are awesome. --Alex, 8
About the Author
Stella graduated with a law degree, but always found writing to be her passion. Before long, she left her 'sensible' job and plunged into the world of publishing. She has now written over 30 books. As the daughter of Greek immigrants, Stella was steeped in Greek mythology, and she uses her love of Greece in Hopeless Heroes.
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It would probably be a good idea to start with the first book. In that one we meet Tim Baker and his Mom, set up the background to the tale, break a vase that releases Hercules from a trap that was set by Hera, and have a rousing adventure with poor dim Hercules, set in modern times. We come to know and like Tim and become rather fond of Hercules, who comes across as a well-intentioned but slightly goofy character.
This second book picks up where the first left off. Tim is bored and lonely at home and Hercules is back in ancient Athens. Tim ends up being transported to ancient Athens and his adventure involves mostly Tim and Hercules' daughter Zoe, with cameos by Hera, Theseus, a gorgon, and some other familiar figures. The plot revolves around keeping Hera from re-trapping good-natured and slightly gullible Hercules. If there's a problem with the second book, it's only that the author sort of assumes that the reader knows Tim, is familiar with the first book, and already has a grasp of the underlying premise. An effort is made to bring in new readers, but it really all works much better if you've read Book One.
In any event, Tim remains a clever, good-hearted and engaging kid. Zoe is a bit of a spark plug with some ancient Greek girrrrl power and she serves quite nicely as an appealing and fully realized second main character. Lively drawings add some extra personality and highlight the action. The adventure itself involves lurking, sneaking, escaping, finding one's way in a maze, and gorgon outsmarting, so there's plenty of action. The dialogue is fairly sharp, and there are a few sly or edgy lines to keep things a bit jazzy and pointed. This doesn't seem to be intended to teach a lot of Greek mythology; it's built more about borrowing Greek characters and introducing their stories to add color and interest to the festivities. Given that this seems aimed at a younger reader that struck me as a fine way to go.
The upshot was that this was fun and snappy, with an agreeable angle and engaging characters. I thought it to be an entertaining and nicely crafted find.
(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
This is a great story for the lower end of MG readers. This is the second book starring young Tim Baker, the first being "Here comes Hercules", who has accidentally released Hercules from imprisonment in a vase, thus earning the anger of the goddess Hera. This tale follows Tim as he finds himself on Olympus and with a lot of help from Zoe (Hercules' daughter) attempts to retrieve the jar, which he needs to return home. A brilliant look at Greek Myths and a truly funny read for younger readers. The next book in the series called "Arachne's golden gloves" is due out later this year and I am really looking forward to reading it.
Back at home, he is just in time to catch Hermes trying to fly off with the ancient vase that had kept Hercules imprisoned. Quick thinking on Tim’s part, enables him to grab hold of the vase – but instead of keeping it in his bedroom, both Tim and the vase are transported to Ancient Greece. The upside of this, is that he gets to see Hercules again – and to meet Hercules intelligent and adventurous daughter, Zoe. The downside is, that Ancient Greece also contains the terrible Hera and her vicious peacocks.
Tim and Zoe have to get back the vase before Hera can use it to trap Hercules again. They are (sort of) helped out by two great Greek heroes – Theseus and Perseus – and discover that the vase is much more important than anyone had previously thought.
As with “Here comes Hercules”, this book is a great introduction to Greek myths and legends. The illustrations of all the Greeks, as they strike their poses, could have been copied directly from ancient Greek vases. Only Tim, and the people of modern times are drawn ‘normally’.
I loved the way in which ancient myths and heroes were woven into this story. And particularly liked the portrayal of the hero Theseus as a vain pop-star type, followed by myriads of adoring female fans.
I can recommend this book to children of all ages, and am really looking forward to the next ancient Greek instalment.
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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