Posted in Humor, mythology, Tween Reads

Take a tour of the Underworld with Hades in Hades Speaks

hades speaksHades Speaks! by Vicky Alvear Schecter/illus. by J.E. Larson, (Boyds Mill Press, Sept. 2014). $16.95, ISBN: 9781620915981

Recommended for ages 10-14

Greek mythology fans, Myth-O-Mania and Percy Jackson fans, this one is for your collection. Take a walk through the Underworld, with the man himself, Hades, as your guide. Learn all about the Fields of Elysim, the Hall of Judgement, and a lot of ancient Greek history, with some very tongue-in-cheek commentary (Romans – you may be a little put out).

Hades is the rock star of the Greek myths. He’s Poseidon and Zeus’ big brother, but he’s managed to find himself the black sheep – is it because of the dead thing? The final judgment thing? Whatever it is, Zeus isn’t thrilled, and he lets readers know all about it.

The book is written in a style that tweens will appreciate – written from Hades’ point of view, the god of the Underworld is full of snark as he takes the reader on a guided tour of his realm, and loaded with information that he imparts while always making sure the reader knows that he or she isn’t safe there. Not just about the Underworld, Hades gives details about “his people” – the Ancient Greeks – including the Greeks’ funeral rites, differences between Roman and Greek myths, various curses throughout ancient Greece, and famous ancient Greeks (who dwell in various areas of the realm), including Plato, and Aristotle, the guy responsible for homework.

The art, running throughout the book, is gorgeous, rendered in stark black and white with sharp angles (lest you find yourself relaxing!). There’s a map to guide you on your journey, complete with locations of the Titan’s Pit in Tartaros, Charon’s boat on the River Styx, and Persephone’s Grove. There are chapter heads and full-page illustrations of Hades, his black cape menacing and yet, drawing your eye to him. It adds a great vibe to the book: think Edward Gorey meets Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.

The book rounds out with a glossary, a bibliography, and an index. This is a solid addition to any library – personal, school, or public – with a population that’s interested in Greek myths. And fans of Rick Riordan’s Red Pyramid series, rejoice – Anubis, Egyptian God of the Dead, is writing a book next.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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