Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
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Clever novelization of the various Hermes myths.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

The gods are petty, vain, and jealous.


Perseus cutting off Medusa's head is a bit gruesome, then he uses it to kill enemies. Trojan war fighting, Tantalus kills and cooks his son, Prometheus has his liver pecked out. None of this is described.


Gods seduce mortals, goddesses take off their clothes for the judgment of Paris, Andromeda is chained naked to a cliff.


Hell is used appropriately.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drunken parties among gods and mortals.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is based on Greek myths, which were violent and sometimes sexual. Though the author doesn't shy away from these aspects, she doesn't wallow in them either -- she mentions them and moves on.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6 and 8-year-old Written bypeony April 9, 2008

Snappy re-telling of Hermes myths, really enjoyable for Greek myth fans

Some violence and gruesome bits are pretty much unavoidable with the Greek myths -- but they're not wallowed in or dwelt on in this version. Indeed, Herme... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byohhellothere December 5, 2010
Teen, 16 years old Written byawesome critic May 29, 2010

Is this book worth it?

This book is very quick, and seems to be just like a text book, except it doesn't explain things good at all. The characters come and go without much descr... Continue reading

What's the story?

Hermes, messenger god and son of Zeus, tells of his involvement in some of the major Greek myths and stories. In between running Zeus's errands and conveying souls to the underworld, he helps Perseus defeat Medusa, negotiates between Demeter and Hades for the return of Persephone, arranges the Judgment of Paris, copes with the flood of dead souls from the Trojan War, and frees Odysseus from the nymph Calypso, only to fall for her himself.

Is it any good?

Though the tales are ancient, Spinner invents a modern, ironic, somewhat snarky voice for Hermes that fits his mythological character and adds to the enjoyment of his story. On Zeus: "Joking with my father when he's testy is like challenging the Gorgons to a staring contest. Bad idea." On Hades: "a walking bad mood." The Furies: "as gleeful as undetected felons at a public execution."

Parents and teachers will be glad that, unlike so many attempts to modernize and add humor to Greek myths, this one hews very closely to the original stories. Even the humor grows organically out of the tales and existing characters of the gods, not through anachronism or adding a street-slangy patina. The updating comes in the telling, not by altering the myths, making it useful for classes studying ancient Greece.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Hermes' aversion to war, which the other gods enjoy, and his desire for his father Zeus's approval. How could you find out more about these myths if you wanted to?

Book details

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