Well…Maz Evans has done it again! Just when I thought I had the feels trip of a lifetime in Simply The Quest, the third book in the series Beyond The Odyssey comes in with the strength of Zeus and punches me right in the feels. So yeah, excuse me while I just nip off to cry into the pages of this book…
Elliot Hooper’s life has got worse. To save his mum he must now go beyond the mortal realm on an odyssey of his own. What of the heroes and monsters he’ll meet? Odysseus himself, Poseidon, a Cyclops or three, not to mention the ever-evil Daemon of Death. At least he has cosmic shipmates to help: Zeus, Virgo and Hypnos. Right?
This is no ordinary boat trip and it might just take them to the bottom of the ocean for a potion that may not even exist…
This series is no ordinary series. Yes, there are tons of giggles, silly jokes – and in this one we even have a fidget spinner – but under the surface is a serious topic seldom spoken about; young carers. These are the children who look after a parent, guardian or perhaps even a sibling who are unable to look after themselves. On top of that, they’re juggling school, homework and missing out on many things children their age could be doing. Elliot is a young carer for his mother, who has early-onset dementia. It’s truly heartbreaking to see her deteriorate and Elliot doesn’t know what to do or how to help. He’s shouldering her care, debt, the worry of the house being sold, and now social workers who want to come and look at his home life. It doesn’t help things when he’s also got lodgers who happen to be a collection of Greek Gods. While trying to be helpful, they are sometimes a hindrance and this agitates Elliot to no end.
In Beyond The Odyssey, Elliot is dead set on finding Panacea’s potion, said to cure any illness. He needs this potion to help his mum, to help her get better again. But trying to convince Zeus to help him cross the sea to get it is another matter. Being manipulated slyly by Hypnos, Elliot doesn’t know what to do and who to turn to. His feelings are bubbling together to create a fierce potion – fear, anger, sadness, confusion – and with closest God friend Hermes in poisoned slumber, he feels he has nobody to turn to. Maz writes these scenes so cleverly, while also managing to weave her brilliant sense of humour into every scene. Hilarious moments include Circe running a town fuelled on fast food and social media, Zeus and Poseidon arguing, and clever character names. Ms Givings, Mr Trick? I was in hysterics!
Maz Evans writes so well for children. I hate people thinking that kids books should include nothing but happiness – books are meant to be educational as well as entertaining. Series like the Gods series introduce children to things in life they may not have experience with, and I think that is an incredibly thing for a book to do. We have one more book in this series, but I am certain Maz will continue to give us these incredibly gifts.
Final thoughts: Tearjerking for both laughter and sadness, this book is a brilliant instalment to the series. 5/5