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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

ARC Review: Olympian Challenger by Astrid Arditi

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38104178-olympian-challenger
Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
A hero’s tournament. A defiant contender. Does one girl have the courage to take on Mount Olympus?

Hope’s world doesn’t have room for heroes. She barely has time for schoolwork, swim team, and taking care of her ailing mother. But when she’s invited to a mysterious tournament, the all-powerful hosts won’t take no for an answer.

Transported to Mount Olympus, Hope comes face to face with her new trainers—the pantheon of Greek gods. While other contenders train hard to gain a fighting edge, Hope searches for a way out. Instead, she finds a gorgeous shadow god who may just convince her to stay…
As each round unfolds, the ultimate prize draws closer—the granting of her heart’s deepest desire. If she survives the final challenge, her mother’s cure would be within reach…but only if Hope can ignore the tournament’s dark purpose.  

Review:
As a fan of Greek mythology, I was drawn to Olympian Challenger (along with it's pretty cover art) by Astrid Arditi.  The book launches almost straight in with Hope, and every other seventeen-year old in New York, being invited to a mysterious challenge.  The challenge turns out to be a Hunger Games-style competition to see who will become the next Hero to fight on behalf of the gods.  One could enjoy this book for the retelling of many classic Greek myths, but there were also many flaws.

What I Liked:
Greek Mythology:
I enjoyed how the author wove various Greek myths into the story.  Each challenge is centered around a particular Greek myth. This gives the characters an opportunity to learn about each Greek story, and find a way to win the challenge.

What I Didn't Like:
"Missing Parent" Syndrome:
If you have read some of my other reviews, one of my most hated tropes is the "missing parent".  This book takes that trope to the extreme by making ALL the teen characters without at least one parent!  The book's explanation is that having the blood of Greek Gods makes people go insane.  I thought this was exploiting a painful situation for a teen to make it seem like some kind of badge of honor.  It's not.

Romance:
Hope is instantly drawn to a "bad boy" minor god, the son of (who else) Hades.  He "used to be bad", but he's changed and is now a great guy.  But he is haunted by his past.  This was such a cliche!
  
Lack of Originality:
Much of the book reminded me of The Hunger Games.  There was the competition where, after   learning about weapons, the challengers had to showcase their talents in order to attract "sponsors".  The competition, itself, seemed to be happening mostly for the entertainment of the gods, and residents of Panem, oops, I mean Olympus.  And most of the competitors die in gruesome ways.

And, until the very end of the book, Hope and the other teens don't seem very concerned or upset that other kids are getting killed as entertainment.  I found that very disturbing.

Characters:  
Most of the characters were two-dimensional, each having just one distinguishing feature.  There was the angry foster kid, the handsome, but evil, jock, and the one gay character.  All were mostly stereotypes.




Rating: 

Release Date:  July 3rd, 2018

Author:  Astrid Arditi

Publisher:  Self-Published?

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Pages: 348 Pages

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  Although this book was full of Greek mythology and adventure, it was quite unoriginal.

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