Thursday, January 24, 2013

Heroes in Training #1 & 2 by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom 
Poseidon and the Sea of Fury
by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
Series: #1 and #2 in the Heroes in Training series
Release Date: August 7, 2012, December 4, 2012
Publisher: Aladdin
Pages: 112, 128
Received: Review copies from author
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

After pulling a magical thunderbolt from a stone, ten-year-old Zeus goes on the adventure of a lifetime in this thrilling start to a brand-new series!The terrible Titans—merciless giants who enjoy snacking on humans—have dominated the earth and put the world into chaos. But their rule is about to be put to the test as a group of young Olympians discover their powers and prepare to righteously rule the universe....   

After gobbling down the Goddess Girls series, I was eager to try Joan and Suzanne's latest MG Greek series, Heroes in Training. Of course, I wasn't let down!

Whereas Goddess Girls are decidedly girl books, Heroes in Training will appeal to boys just as much as girls. There is definitely crossover between the two series with regard to audience age, but I think Heroes in Training dips into the younger end of MG a little more (which will delight the younger siblings of my Goddess Girls library girls who have found the Goddess Girls series tempting but a little above their level).

Compared to Goddess Girls, Heroes in Training has shorter chapters and more straightforward focus on plot over character development. As a result, I didn't fall in love with the characters as much as I did with the Goddess Girls. Actually, I didn't even have much feelings for them one way or another. There's nothing wrong with them, but the plot definitely takes precedence. Which is totally fine. The intended audience really isn't looking or ready for complex character development.

The plot is so fast and fun that it's easy to get swept up in the events of the story and focus on little else. The action starts right away and doesn't let up. Greek myths are more directly re-told than not, but all the slower bits are stripped away, diving straight into the action. It's like a lesson on Greek mythology, but told in a totally kid-friendly, cartoon-episode way. It's also pretty funny (love the oracle and her foggy glasses!).

Book one, Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom, introduced readers to Zeus and set the stage for the coming battle against the Titans.  Poseidon and the Sea of Fury picks up right where book one left off but also introduces Hera and Poseidon. The character dynamics combined with Greek myth focus strongly reminded me of the Percy Jackson series (though this series is set IN the myths, whereas Percy Jackson was set in modern times).

These vibes absolutely delighted me,  because now I have a series I can give readers who desperately want to read Percy Jackson (their older siblings read it, they liked the movie) but they are too young to actually read those books on their own. Heroes in Training fills the void perfectly and gives them a series that can be Just For Them until they're old enough to transition to Percy Jackson.

Each book ends pretty much right in the middle of the story, giving a feeling more like a serialized novel than a more traditional series. I imagine this approach would frustrate readers immensely if installments were published once per year, but thankfully Heroes in Training seem to have a rapid publishing schedule with only a few months between each book. This should keep excitement high and will guarantee avid and frequent re-reads.  Heroes in Training should be a solid purchase for libraries and personal libraries.

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key

Do you have any questions about Heroes in Training that I haven't addressed?

Feel free to ask in the comments!

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  1. I think I'm more interested in the Goddess Girls books but I'm loving the covers for this new series-action-filled and so cute in its cartoon style.

    1. I think the Goddess Girls books have more to offer older readers, but this series had surprising staying power in my mind. I watched Wrath of the Titans the other day and found myself thinking about these books. The covers (and interior illustrations!) are absolutely perfect.

  2. Oh my gosh. How seriously ridiculously adorable! Hahahahaha! All about the boys! ;) Love it...I'll have to look into this a bit more, but I'm interested. Great review!

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

    1. It is SO cute! And definitely boy focused, but Hera is in there and she's very Annabeth-ish (from Percy Jackson).

  3. I'm confused, though--is the intended audience girls or boys. I mean, I know there isn't supposed to be any such thing, but let's face, there is. Like, would my little Goddess Girl thief like these, too?

    1. Hm, I'm not sure. Definitely good for boys, but I think girls will like it too. Hera is a significant character and I think she'll play even more of a part later on. But its focus is more on the boys so far. Sooo...I guess it depends why your thief likes Goddess Girls. The books are different for sure. These are a lot more action-oriented whereas GG have much deeper character development and ties. Can't hurt to introduce her though (just put lojack on it).

  4. Oh how fun!! Your glowing reviews of the Goddess Girls series made me hunt them down and I'll be sure to keep an eye out for this series as well. :)

    1. I hope you enjoy them! I am SO happy to hear you decided to pick up the GG books!!

  5. I'm glad you still liked them - even if it wasn't an epic love like with the GG's - I'm planning to buy these at some point, I just need to make up my mind :D

    1. They are good books to own, I think. Especially if you know a lot of kids. It's so much easier to push a book on someone when you can literally push the book on them :P


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