The Iliad by Gareth Hinds

The IliadThe Iliad by Gareth Hinds
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had a vague idea that the Iliad was about the Trojan War and originally a poem, but not much more. This version in everyday English prose made it much more tractable. The story itself is rather repetitive and unpleasant, but apparently thrilling to readers (or listeners since it was probably based on oral stories) of its day. What’s new about this version is the illustrations, done in comic book style. That’s both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. They seemed too childish for the material and just not artistic enough. I’ve seen many illustrations in books that are higher quality. On the other hand, this book is classified as a Young Adult book, at least in my local library and perhaps having that familiar style would make it more appealing to young readers.

I did learn quite a bit about the original work, including the fact that it covers only two years of the Trojan War which was a 10-year war, and that Homer himself may have been fictional. Also, the war, as told by Homer, was largely decided by various gods helping or hurting mortals and often at odds with each other. In the end, it was a bit tedious to read with scores of cumbersome Greek and Trojan names in paragraphs like X killed Y and Z, Q killed P and twenty others, etc. At least it was something different. I read it because it is nominated for our book club.

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