Lore Olympus #1
Admittedly, I had no idea what Lore Olympus was when our sales rep for the publisher sold it to me back in the spring. When he told me that the print run kept increasing and he suggested more copies, I said sure. Then we sold those 12 copies in one day when the author announced we were participating in selling it with a collectable pin. And then everyone at the store, and I mean everyone told me how much they loved it and how had I never heard of it and I had to get more so they could have their copies. So then I finally realized, I should probably read it.
From the publisher marketing:
Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love–witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of the best-known stories in Greek mythology from creator Rachel Smythe.
Persephone, young goddess of spring, is new to Olympus. Her mother, Demeter, has raised her in the mortal realm, but after Persephone promises to train as a sacred virgin, she’s allowed to live in the fast-moving, glamorous world of the gods. When her roommate, Artemis, takes her to a party, her entire life changes: she ends up meeting Hades and feels an immediate spark with the charming yet misunderstood ruler of the Underworld. Now Persephone must navigate the confusing politics and relationships that rule Olympus, while also figuring out her own place–and her own power.
This full-color edition of Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated webcomic Lore Olympus features a brand-new, exclusive short story, and brings Greek mythology into the modern age in a sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel. This volume collects episodes 1-25 of the #1 WEBTOON comic Lore Olympus.
Given everyone’s excitement for the book, I did start reading with tempered expectations – usually if someone, or multiple someones, rave about something, I tend to avoid it, but my curiosity did get the better of me here.
I really do enjoy a good Greek mythology retelling – from watching the Muppet fairytales and Fairytale Theater as a kid to listening to Stephen Fry’s Greek mythology trilogy, it’s definitely one of my favorite subgenres so I was very familiar with the relationships of all the gods to each other in Lore Olympus, something that isn’t fully explained in Lore Olympus for neophytes. I highly recommend doing some basic Greek myth Googling prior to reading if you are not confident in your Greek god identifications by sight (i.e. knowing that Hermes has wings on his shoes is helpful).
Lore Olympus not only has great pacing, but leaves you the first book leaves you on a cliffhanger and so I immediately downloaded Webtoon because I had to know what happens. And then I went down a rabbit hole and kept reading through what will most likely be the second book (out next summer). I really enjoyed where the story goes and I’ve been reading a few episodes on the app every few days and I’m enjoying it more and more as I go. I also found another great comic on the app which I’m excited was just released in a physical format as well so my review for that one will be coming soon!
Art style wise, I wasn’t a super huge fan, but I can see how, when creating the book chapter by chapter, a quick style is helpful – the gods are predominantly identified by color so once you parse out who is who, it’s easy to follow along in that regard. Character development wise, I didn’t really get a strong sense of everyone, they’re a bit light on personalities and interests outside of their established domains of Olympus, and for the most part, personality wise, they are reduced to their stereotypes – Hades dark and broody, Zeus a total bro, Artemis a man hating virgin, etc.
I am, however, excited to see where the story as a whole goes and it definitely feels like there is a plan and there will be an actual ending for the story as well which I always appreciate. Also, for a content warning, there is a sexual assault, and it debatably passes the Bechdel test.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Where to Buy
In the USA, I recommend purchasing through BookShop or your local independent, in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers! Independent bookstores are vital parts of every local community and I wholly endorse supporting your local stores versus Amazon.