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Thalia would approve

By Fiona Gregory, editor

Aug 10, 2011: When I was a teen, I went through an ancient Greek mythology phase. This would have been a major geekfest for me then, and even now I really appreciate seeing the Greek gods getting some love, when the current vogue tends to run to Celtic or East European mythology.

It’s a very rich vein! and I can assure readers, although the tone of these tales is light and playful, as befits their narrator, the author really knows her Greek mythology. She does a beautiful job of taking its nasty aspects and inconsistencies, and making it all not only make sense, but funny. Check out her retelling of the episode between Athena and Hephaestos that resulted in the founding of the city of Athens.

The gods are casually cruel to mortals, and spiteful toward each other, and even the light-hearted Thalia has to tread carefully sometimes. This doesn’t prevent her from pushing her ability to play tricks and ham it up for a laugh as far as she can. As a former Greek mythology fangirl, I will note that the one false note the author’s characterizations of the Pantheon crowd sounds for me is with Athena – I feel Amethyst is making her too girly, whereas I think of the goddess of wisdom as tough, no-nonsense, and relatively dignified.

A great light but erudite read: the Greek gods as you’ve never seen them before.

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A Greco-Roman sitcom

By G.S. Williams, author of No Man An Island

Aug 8, 2011: "Thalia’s Musings" are an amusing diversion. She’s the Muse of Comedy, and she and her sisters are the sources of creative inspiration in the world. Given her nature, Thalia enjoys practical jokes, sarcasm, witticisms, puns and general playfulness.

Here’s an excellent summary of who she is, in her own words: "Hera likes me because I’m the unofficial jester of the Olympian court, and she can always count on me to deliver pure, brazen snark to the other goddesses and gods." And that’s what her narrative style is—snark. Enjoyable, bubbly, tongue-in-cheek snark.

The serious god Apollo has been made supervisor of the Muses after some pranks, and so he prinicipally rains on Thalia’s parade, which is ironic given that he’s one of the sun gods. She gives him a hard time about his many lost loves, he thinks she should be more serious.

While reading this I find that I picture it as an ancient Greek sitcom—think the cast of Friends or Cougar Town lounging around in togas and laurels, poking fun at one another over everything and nothing. It’s enjoyable, without really needing much in the way of plot besides the next funny scrape Thalia gets herself into, much like I Love Lucy. It’s just fun to read, and doesn’t need to be more than that.

I like that the gods and goddesses are fairly modern in their perspective, while dealing with ancient mortals, instead of being "historically" in character—it adds a farcical fun element. The tone of this is what’s great about it, and it’s not meant to be taken too seriously.

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