Thursday, March 5, 2015

Thursentary: Ares, by George O'Connor

It has been a while since I’ve posted a review, but George O’Connor is the kind of writer where it would just feel wrong NOT to talk about a book that gave me such a hangover.

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.


Have you read Ares yet? (You should.) Does this sound like something you’d want to read? 


  1. This sounds really entertaining! I read the first Percy Jackson, and I think I stopped reading the second after Mark of Athena came out because too much was happening and I was having trouble following it.
    I've never heard of these, but I believe I'll add it to my (rather extensive) list.

    1. I sort of grew out of the series; it was too simple for me. But hey, not every series works for everyone.

      Let me know what you think, if you try it!

  2. I'm not really into Graphic Novels, but this one sounds good :)

    1. Oh? Why not? :( But yes, this is my favorite graphic novel series. :)

  3. This book sounds really neat--I LOVE Greek mythology, so I'd better give it a try!

    1. YES YES DO IT DO IT I think George puts a really unique spin on the stories, so... Yeah. READ IT. And, when you finish, tell me what you think!


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