Book Review: Wings of Olympus by Kallie George

39855066._SY475_Wings of Olympus

Kallie George

4/5 stars

Release Date: March 5, 2019

Publisher: HarperCollins

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Take flight with Pippa and her winged horse in this heartfelt two-book series about a young girl who must win the hardest race in ancient Greece in order to stay with her closest friend.

This new series from acclaimed author Kallie George is perfect for horse lovers and fans of Greek myths alike!

High on the slopes of mighty Mount Olympus, among the sun-splashed meadows and sparkling waters, glide the winged horses of the ancient gods. Here up high is normally no place for a lost, parentless girl like Pippa. But once every hundred years, the gods and goddesses descend to the mortal realm to choose jockeys for their winged horse race—and Pippa is one of the lucky children chosen to ride.

With her undersized, impetuous winged steed, Zephyr, by her side, Pippa has to confront the greatest challenge of her life: achieving victory in a race across the sky.

No one expects Pippa and Zephyr to win, or even finish, this death-defying race. A poor orphan who’s spent her life working in stables, Pippa doesn’t seem to belong in the world of the gods. And while she loves Zephyr with all her heart, he’s smaller than the other winged horses racing. But if Pippa and Zephyr don’t find a way to win, the gods will separate them—forever.

To stay with Zephyr, Pippa will have to work harder, train longer, and dare more bravely than her competition. In a race filled with petty, jealous gods and goddesses and a host of ruthless riders, Pippa must prove that love is greater than might.

This stirring adventure series by beloved author Kallie George is perfect for fans of the Percy Jackson books and The War That Saved My Life.

Review:

WINGS OF OLYMPUS by Kallie George is a charming, middle grade novel that readers will immediately connect with. I saw parts of myself in the protagonist, Pippa, and her winged steed, Zephyr. I fell in love with this novel very quickly and it’s exactly the kind of thing I loved to read as a child. It combined two of my favourite things – horses and Greek myths. I am avidly awaiting the next instalment of this series!

This novel is set in Ancient Greece, on Mount Olympus. Once every hundred years, twelve children are chosen as riders, to participate in a winged horse race. A race of the gods and goddesses. The winner gets to stay on Mount Olympus as a demigod, and their winged horse becomes Zeus’ new steed.

“Aloft wings beat and feathers fly, hark the horses of the sky!”.

Pippa is an orphan, a foundling with no knowledge of her parents and family, and forced to rely on the pity and generosity of others. I immediately connected with Pippa. Her surprise and self doubt at being chosen, at perhaps even winning such a grand race, was something I’ve felt before. She soon works to overcome those doubts, to win so that she can stay with Zephyr forever. Pippa’s love for Zeph, and his for her, was incredibly strong!

I did have a few problems with the novel. Secondary and minor characters turned out to be flat and cliche. Many would immediately hate or distrust Pippa, way too easily and without any solid reasoning behind it. I assumed it was because she’s a foundling and I guess that’s bad for Ancient Greek society? But it was never explained why foundlings are bad or useless, not even by the very characters who held these opinions. I could assume why because I already have some knowledge of Ancient Greece. However, the reader should not have to draw on their own knowledge, the author needs to provide that on the page. This mostly happened at the beginning, so I think the author might’ve been trying to get the reader to quickly like and connect with Pippa. I liked Pippa but not because minor characters hated or ignored her.

The novel also could’ve had more female characters. The gods and goddesses served as patrons for their riders and horses. Half of these patrons were goddesses but only two riders were female. I think we need to be critical of things like this, especially when it comes to children’s literature.

Overall, it was an incredibly, entertaining novel and I’m excited to read the sequel! I loved most of the riders and horses, and I hope I get to read about them again. There were a couple plot twists near the end that I never saw coming and it made me love the book even more. I did not see that ending coming but it was absolutely perfect. I recommend WINGS OF OLYMPUS for MG readers who love animals and Greek myths!

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