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King of Ithaka

por Tracy Barrett

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When sixteen-year-old Telemachos and his two best friends, one a centaur, leave their life of privilege to undertake a quest to find Telemachos's father Odysseus, they learn much along the way about what it means to be a man and a king.
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Points for trying to subvert the canon. Massive loss of points for how badly it's done.

I totally approve of the addition of centaurs to the Odyssey; I can even grit my teeth and handle the portrayal of Odysseus as a cold, violent, selfish husband. I can handle Nestor and Menelaus and Helen all being remixed into darker versions of themselves. I can even handle the erasure of Eumaois (O my swineherd!).

But dude. Writing characters as damaged and broken and kind of sociopathic is one thing, and holding them to totally anachronistic standards is quite another. Compassion: not a Bronze Age virtue, and critiquing your Bronze Age characters for lying, stealing, and sneaking is you-the-author projecting onto these amazing, complex characters, who in canon behave with a hell of a lot more consistency and historical accuracy than they do here, and considering how much of a historical mish-mash the canon is, I am officially unimpressed.

And Telemachus is seriously an idiot here (the episode with the not actually a violation of xenia is the prime example), and I just can't deal with a book where the protagonist is this stupid. ( )
  cricketbats | Mar 30, 2013 |
You may be familiar with the story of Odysseus returning after many years to his wife Penelope but this book presents the story of his son, Telemachos, who was still a baby when Odysseus left. Telemarchos leads a carefree life on Ithaka but is worried about the possibility of his mother marrying again so decides to set out to seek his father.
This is a great adventure story featuring believable characters and would appeal to readers aged 12 and up. ( )
  RefPenny | Sep 19, 2011 |
Okay. I need to start by saying that I’m a complete and total classics nerd. I have a degree in classical studies, I’ve read countless papers on classical mythology, and written several myself. So when it comes to rewriting something like THE ODYSSEY, well, you’d better do it well if you want to impress me, because my eye is beyond critical.

So when I first heard about KING OF ITHAKA by Tracy Barrett I was scared. I was scared that I would hate it even though it looked so good. A reimagining of Telemakos’ part of THE ODYSSEY? Telemakos is my favorite character. I have a freaking cat named Telemachus. I knew I had to read it, but I also knew that if it wasn’t everything I wanted it to be, I would be sorely disappointed.

That said, I read every page of KING OF ITHAKA, my critical eyes wide open, turning pages as quickly as I could. It’s a fast-paced adventure story that doesn’t dumb down a single thing for its younger audience — a mistake I’ve seen in many mythology-based books. The characters are sympathetic and believable while being true to their classical originals. And the twist ending is to die for.

If you don’t know much about THE ODYSSEY, well, you should! Still, I think you’ll enjoy this wonderful, honest adventure novel as a historical fantasy. And if you’re a total ODYSSEY nerd like me, you should definitely check it out. ( )
  EKAnderson | May 9, 2011 |
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When sixteen-year-old Telemachos and his two best friends, one a centaur, leave their life of privilege to undertake a quest to find Telemachos's father Odysseus, they learn much along the way about what it means to be a man and a king.

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