So, to the side there is the review scale, just because it amuses me to put up a picture that says “paella” at every opportunity. (Click to read.)
If you’re unfamiliar with the Olympians graphic novels, each book is centered around a particular figure in Greek Mythology and a few myths associated with them—for example, Poseidon is about Poseidon, but also about The Odyssey, because Odysseus was one of Poseidon’s biggest enemies.
Ares: Bringer of War is about Ares—his bloodlust, his rage, his wildness, the tearing and shredding and violence that follows him—but it’s also about our most favorite Trojan War. Yes, this is pretty much The Illiad in 66 pages, from the gods’ perspective. (How can you not love that?)
I loved Ares. Lots. Like, Ares isn’t even one of my favorite gods (even though I insist he’s the god of bacon) and I still loved this story.
5/5 Stars, no question.
Why Ares Rocked (Top 5 Edition):
detailed :: especially if you look at the G(r)eek Notes located at the back, you can see that there is a lot of reasoning and detail put into why the images are drawn the way they are
comparative :: Ares is contrasted with many other gods—Athena, Zeus, Hera—and often unfavorably; the story explores what makes Ares unique, and why he might be that way
emotional :: okay, we watched Apocalypse Now in English the day I brought Ares to school, and so I was buzzing with just the kind of ideals Ares represents and their relationship to me—it just kinda… niggled at me in an emotional way
humorous :: these books always make me laugh; Athena’s attitude and Aphrodite getting punched were probably my favorite parts, but there is always some sneaky joke that makes me grin, too (we’re looking at you, Hermes)
sympathetic :: above all, Ares is a sympathetic character, just like everyone else
The greatest struggle I’ve had with rereading Percy Jackson and Pandora is that there are good gods and there are evil gods. To Percy especially, Ares is a full-blown jerk, and he has no redemption whatsoever.
I almost thought the same thing happened in Ares. I finished the last page, kind of feeling like—wow, Ares is horrible and not sympathetic at all. But I read the note at the end, because that is always where George blows my mind, and he did, again.
Let me sum up. Several of the gods had children on the battlefield, and a lot of those children died. Yet, of all the gods, Ares is the only one who mourns. Suffice it to say that I read that book three times in 24 hours to wrap my mind around that.
In the end, I came away feeling like Ares had been justified, and that made me happy. Yes, he often represents brutality and gore and violence, and it’s terrifying and horrible, but he experiences war in a completely different way. It’s not about tactics or numbers or winning or losing—it’s about caring.
Ares is a horrifying, bloodthirsty god. It’s never enough. But at least he cares. At least he makes it matter.