Posted in Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Historical Fiction, Teen, Young Adult/New Adult

The Iliad goes graphic: Gareth Hinds interprets the epic into a graphic novel for teens

The Iliad, Adapted and Illustrated by Gareth Hinds, (March 2019, Candlewick Press), $27.99, ISBN: 9780763681135

Ages 13+

A companion to 2010’s award-winning adaptation of Homer’s The Odyssey, Gareth Hinds adapts Homer’s epic and manages to capture the breathtaking scale. The Iliad is the first part of the epic poem that recounts The Trojan War, introducing readers to legendary characters including Achilles, Hector, Paris, and Odysseus. Hinds gives readers a dramatis personae of important Greeks and Trojans; he also provides illustration of the cantankerous, trouble-making Greek gods, dividing them up between Titans and children of Zeus.

Flowing the story as dialogue between an omniscient narrator (Homer) and the characters is a big help to readers who may be cowed by the epic poem in its original form; Gareth Hinds brings life to the characters and creates landscapes and battle scenes that really engage readers. The drama is more intimate when one feels like a bystander as Hector and his wife, Andromache, say their goodbyes as he goes off to fight Achilles; seeing the gods interfere in the outcomes of battle will have some readers yelling at the book like we yell at our TV screens (okay, the reader in question is me). There’s just so much material to interact with here: an epic story that’s endured for millennia; maps, and notes all come together to make this a great volume to keep on hand for your students, kids, and patrons.

Gareth Hinds’s The Iliad has starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. You can find tour dates for Gareth Hinds’s Iliad tour on his website. Candlewick Press has a free, downloadable educator’s guide available.

Gareth Hinds is an award-winning graphic novelist who has some great, epic classics to his credit, including Beowulf, Macbeth, and the works of Edgar Allan Poe. ELA teachers and librarians, get copies of his work into your students’ hands!


Posted in Fantasy, Tween Reads, Young Adult/New Adult

Fire and Ice meet in Frostblood

frostbloodFrostblood, by Elly Blake, (Jan. 2017, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), $17.99, ISBN: 9780316273251

Recommended for ages 12+

Ruby is a 17 year-old girl living with her mother, learning the healing arts, until the soldiers come to her village. Ruby’s also a Fireblood – she has power over heat and flame, however unrefined – and in Ruby’s world, ruled by the Frostbloods, Ruby’s kind is hunted down. Her mother is killed trying to protect her, and Ruby is imprisoned, shackled to a wall and tormented by her captors. Rescued by rebel Frostbloods, she’s trained to wield her power in the hopes that she can melt the Ice Throne that warps the king’s mind and increases her power, returning peace to the land. She has one chance to destroy the throne, or it will mean certain death for the monks who have sheltered her and the Frostblood she finds herself falling in love with.

Frost Blood is the first in a new fantasy series that pits ice wielders against fire users in an age-old conflict, and I’m on board for this. This first installment has solid world-building and creates a nice history of fire and frost for readers. I cared about the characters, I got angry at some characters, I was invested. Medieval-world fantasy fans will grab this one, for sure. Display and booktalk with Sarah Maas’ Throne of Glass series, Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series, and Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha (Shadow & Bone) series.


Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Teen, Uncategorized, Young Adult/New Adult

Blog Tour: Poet Anderson … Of Nightmares – and a Giveaway!


Jonas Anderson is a teenager who’s had a recent run of hard luck. His parents are dead, recently killed in a plane crash, and his older brother, Alan, is in a coma after a car crash. Jonas is no ordinary teen, though – he’s also Poet Anderson, a Lucid Dreamer – someone who can walk around in dreams and interact with other dreamers – who’s on the run from REM, an evil being who lives in the Dreamscape. Poets like Jonas are special dreamers; they can guide lost dreamers who accidentally find themselves in the Dreamscape. And REM wants to use Jonas to gain entry into the Waking World, where he can spread his terror net even wider, controlling everyone’s dreams and trapping them in a world of nightmares.


Poet Anderson …Of Nightmares is the first book in a new YA/New Adult series by musician Tom DeLonge, who you may remember from Blink 182, and New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young. Conceived of by DeLonge as a multimedia experience, there’s also a soundtrack, a comic book series, and an prequel animated film, Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker, which won Best Animation at the Toronto International Short Film Festival last year. And the animation is truly gorgeous, just take a look:

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Poet Anderson …Of Nightmares is kind of like The Matrix, but with dreams. We live in two separate realms, but a handful of people can move between the Dreamscape and the Waking World, fighting evil and protecting the rest of us regular dreamers here in the Waking World. Jonas, despite having a brutal run of it recently, deals with his grief, knuckles down to stay in school and hold down a job while learning more about his talents. Jarabec, a Dream Walker who becomes Jonas’ mentor in the Dreamscape, helps keep him safe while educating him and training him for battles to come. Jonas is a likable character who you want to root for; you want this poor kid to catch a break for once.

The characters surrounding Jonas are also vivid, coming off the page and taking up space in your imagination. Jarabec is a gritty, curmudgeonly mentor that you respect and ultimately love. The Dream Walkers – the foot soldiers in this battle – will both irritate and impress, like the antiheroes they kind of are. Night Terrors will make you think about all the crazy times you thought of the monsters in your closet or under your bed and wonder whether you were maybe just a little right after all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this first book, and was very happy with the way DeLonge and Young left a thread for the next book hanging there, dangling, waiting for readers to take the bait.

The first book is available right now, and for more information about the graphic novels, music, and full animated video, check out Tom DeLonge’s website, To the Stars Media. To join the book club community, find out about the director’s cut of the book with rich media content, visit the Eden Hotel Book Club.

Want your own copy of Poet Anderson? There’s a giveaway! Good luck!


Just click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Poet Anderson …Of Nightmares, by Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young
Hardcover, 368 pages, $17.99
ISBN: 978-1-943272-00-06
Publication Date: November 1, 2015
Distributed by Simon & Schuster