Title: Ares: Bringer of War (Olympians #7)
Author: George O’Connor
Publisher: First Second
Check this book out on Goodreads.
The myth continues in the tenth year of the fabled Trojan War where two infamous gods of war go to battle. The spotlight is thrown on Ares, god of war, and primarily focuses on his battle with the clever and powerful Athena. As the battle culminates and the gods try to one-up each other to win, the human death toll mounts. Who will win this epic clash of power? And how many will have to die first? (Source: Goodreads)
The Trojan War rages on Earth as the Gods watch. Some can’t help but to get involved, mainly Ares and Athena the two Gods of War. Finding themselves on opposites sides of the war the Gods all divide fighting amongst themselves and interfering in men’s war. Adapted from Homer’s Iliad this story focuses on the work of the Gods in deciding the fate of Troy.
I loved this book. I have been waiting for this to come out for ages, because I absolutely love this series. George O’Connor consistently combines beautiful art with interesting and well adapted storylines to make some of my favourite Greek mythology books. Ares is no exception to this. This story focuses on the Trojan War, with Ares’s involvement sort of highlighted. I think this is an interesting choice, and while at first I thought “why are you doing this” it really only seems natural, this is also the story I think of when I think about Ares. I think the only bit of trouble I had with this book was that it felt too fast, like so much time was spent dealing with the huge number of people that there were in the War that things just flew by. This wasn’t a huge deal though, I still loved the story and art.
Taking on the whole of the Iliad is obviously a pretty big task, but O’Connor really focuses on the Gods and looks at what they do to effect the war. I really liked this because my favourite part of the Iliad was the stuff that happened with the Gods (well and also everything with Patroclus and Achilles). It was definitely really interesting to see the divide that happens with the Gods, which was a really interesting aspect of the Iliad that often goes ignored. I definitely think O’Connor pulled off the adaptation really well. The only thing that’s not so great about it is that because the Iliad is such a huge story with so many characters that it gets a little out of hand and you wind up with whole pages just listing characters, which is a little too much in such a short graphic novel. I think it was a lot better than I expected though, because even in the original text there are just pages and pages of names, so this definitely tones in down quite a bit. I think one of the most interesting things O’Connor did in this book was to present Ares as something other than this chaos creating warmonger. Ares is a father, and a caring father at that, which is one of the most interesting aspects of his character. I loved that this eventually became the focus, that Ares wants to save his children and to honor them in their deaths. This for me took the story from being okay to being fantastic because O’Connor created this depth that would not have existed otherwise.
The art was, of course, amazing. It’s of course on par to the stuff in all the other books in the series. O’Connor designed such great looks for the characters, which are well suited to them and also memorable. There’s one page that really stands out to me in this book. When Ares gets stabbed (p. 36!) the text of his screams covers the entire page in this essentially translucent text and the whole page is red. And it looks amazing! I love the art in this book so much, for me that was what drew me in initially to this series. One of the other great things is that O’Connor includes full page pictures and bios of the main characters at the end of each book, which are beautiful and super interesting.
I absolutely love this book and can’t wait for the next one in the series. I highly recommend this series in general and this specifically.