Sunday, July 1, 2007

Iris, Messenger

Iris, Messenger
By Sarah Deming
Harcourt Children's Books
Reviewed by Heather F.

I have long been fascinated by mythology. It all started in college, when I was forced to take on of those courses they make you to take against your will. You know, all just so you can graduate, but has little relevance to your chosen major? Little did I know, I would come to adore the class and score an easy A out of it. And gain a lifelong love of Greek, Norse, and Roman mythology into the bargain. Through the years I have read several great novelizations of the gods and goddesses and their lives, and I always appreciate when an author takes these characters and does something unique with them.

So it was with some excitement that I picked up Sarah Deming's Iris, Messenger. Greek mythology in one of my favorite genres of literature? I just knew I was in for a good time. Sadly, I did not put it down as excited as when I picked it up. There were good things about it. The characterization of the gods were, for the most part, spot on. I was only really disappointed in Zeus, a fat, lazy man who sits around and watches TV all day, and Poseidon, a short order cook who pines away for his errant wife. In truth, it was mainly the women goddesses who were anything like what I had come to think of them.

The plot itself was slow to get started, but once it did it was interesting enough. Young Iris has always been a dreamer. She had to be; in a world with divorced parents, the middle school from hell and teachers who don't have a clue about anything. With the advent of her 12th birthday, she is amazed to find a different sort of present at her front door; a copy of Bullfinch's Mythology. Certain pages are annotated with strange notes, the first of which leads her to Poseidon's door. And so begins a journey of adventure with gods and goddess that ends with Iris discovering herself along the way.

All in all, this is a great book for kids who enjoy adventure stories, but for those of us adults who enjoy a good children's book now and then, it's probably better to steer clear of this one.

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