Rummanah Aasi

Description: More than three thousand years ago, two armies faced each other in an epic battle that rewrote history and came to be known as the Trojan War. The Iliad, Homer's legendary account of this nine-year ordeal, is considered the greatest war story of all time and one of the most important works of Western literature. In this stunning graphic novel adaptation -- a thoroughly researched and artfully rendered masterwork -- renowned illustrator Gareth Hinds captures all the grim glory of Homer's epic. Dynamic illustrations take readers directly to the plains of Troy, into the battle itself, and lay bare the complex emotions of the men, women, and gods whose struggles fueled the war and determined its outcome.

Review: Hinds' latest graphic novel is an ambitious and compelling adaptation of Homer's The Illiad, an epic poem that covers the tenth year of the Trojan War. Though the story of the whole Trojan War is complex and long, Hinds reminds faithful to the large plot points of the war in particular the internal conflict between two Greek leaders (Achilles and King Agamemnon) as they seek to conquer the city of Troy, the rage of Achilles, and the death of Trojan prince Hector. There is a lot to cover in this graphic novel adaptation, but Hinds does a great job in highlighting the main events without dragging down the pace of the graphic novel. I also really liked how he included the Zeus and the other gods and goddesses's involvement as fickle and meddlesome war agents, regularly resorting to acts of trickery, mischief, and deadly interference as they played with mortal lives.
  Of course the book is mainly focused on the battle scenes since it's covering a war, but it surprisingly does not rely on gore for their dramatic effect even though there is plenty of blood and violence. Instead, the artwork consisted of pencil, watercolor, and digital illustrations propel readers from scene to scene, shifting from neatly organized panels during moments of peace to angular layouts during times of physical and emotional strife.
  The graphic novel does capture the story's "war is glory" attitude and hypermasculinity but it also shows the emotions involved in the war. The themes of glory, pride, hubris, as well as the harrowing sorrow and desolation of women and children of the conquered. Even Hinds' Helen is aware of the destruction brought by her arrival (though Hinds notes that the reasons for the Trojan War is possibly many). I appreciated the purposeful color palette assigns each god his or her own vivid, monochrome hue, while a subtle red and blue color scheme helps differentiate between the Greeks and Trojans. Due to the sheer size of characters it was a bit confusing at times to identity who is who. Some panels have large text panels, but the text was necessary to understand the plot. There is extensive back matter which includes an author’s note, a map, extensive notes, and a selected bibliography for further reading. Hinds has succeeded in creating an accessible adaptation of a great epic poem for those who are encountering Homer for the first time as well as those who are already familiar with the original work. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong violence in the graphic novel, but not gratuitously gory. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.

If you like this book try: The Age of Bronze series by Eric Shanower, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (for a more personal insight to the character)
2 Responses
  1. I'll confess to never reading the Illiad and, yes, I am have guilt about it. Perhaps a graphic novel is the way for me to finally get around to it.

  2. This sounds awesome. I remember reading Homer when I was in grade school, it is confusing, but I think having pictures like this would make it easier!

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