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Readers Advisory: Aphrodite: Goddess of Love by George O’Connor

Aphrodite: Goddess of Love

by George O’Connor

First Second, $16.99 hardbound, ISBN-10 1596439475, December 2013

In volume six of Olympians, graphic novel author/artist George O’Connor turns the spotlight on Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Look for the same thoroughly researched and wonderfully accessible comics storytelling as O’Connor tackles the story of the Aphrodite from her dramatic birth (emerging from sea-foam) to her role in the Trojan War.

Aphrodite rises in the sixth volume of O’Connor’s excellent Olympians series. O’Connor continues the series’s tradition of stellar art and fully realized characterizations. His Aphrodite, a brunette, dusky-skinned temptress with turquoise eyes, is definitely believable as the most beautiful goddess on Olympus, and for once her character is explored beyond the shallow, capricious sexpot usually depicted.

O’Connor’s treatment of the Judgement of Paris particularly impresses. As he says in his afterword, the original myth has Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite acting out of character with very flimsy motivation. A beauty pageant between the three dominant goddesses on Olympus, two of whom don’t generally value beauty? Really? O’Connor develops the motivation as a rivalry for power, not vanity, and once Aphrodite wins the apple, she carelessly tosses it away.

O’Connor draws Aphrodite as voluptuous and sensual but doesn’t go into fully nude territory. While the dialogue does feature just a couple of double entendres, they’re fairly tame, so this remains a safe bet for middle grade through teen age ranges.

Recommend to: Students of mythology, fans of Percy Jackson

To buy or not to buy: A great choice for public and school libraries.

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