King of Ithaka
by Tracy Barrett
Genre: YA Fantasy / Greek Mythology / Re-telling
Ages: 13 and up
Telemachos has long been without a father, and Ithaka without a king. Now, with suitors threatening to force his mother, Penelopeia, into marriage in order to take the kingship, Telemachos has to find out why Odysseus never returned.
Aided by a centaur and a runaway, guided only a seer's cryptic advice, he sets sail for the court of Nestor. On the way they encounter many bizarre creatures, but their biggest danger may be from their fellow men.
I have always loved Greek mythology and the Odyssey in particular. The strange lands and stranger people have a way of sparking the imagination and creating new dreams and worlds in your mind. Telemachus and Penelope, or, in this instance, Telemachos and Penelopeia, have always interested me more than Odysseus. He was off having adventures for years, while his son grew up without a father and his wife kept the kingdom together as best she could without a husband. It was interesting to read about what life might have been like for them.
This book is written in a modern style, with Telemachos and his friends speaking and behaving like modern teenagers. He spies on girls and steals alcohol, goofing off like any other 16-year-old boy might, but he isn't what I would call wild. He is very much a boy at he beginning, but hardships and experience set him on the road to being a man.
There is just a little bit of romance in this novel, but that is not what the story is about. It is about learning what is more important than strength, courage, and generosity. It is about learning to see reality instead of building too much on wishes and beliefs. It is about learning to stand on your own two feet, but still understanding the value of friends.
I give this a 1.10 in profanity for some brief mild language.
This book rates a 2.10 in sexuality for some references and innuendos, mostly of the teenager variety, but also some oblique references to prostitution.
There are several scenes of violence, most of them mild, as well as murder and attempted murder.