Tuesday, February 5, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams

Heroes in Training, #1
by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams, illustrated by Craig Phillips
Aladdin, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4424-5263-3
Middle Grade Fantasy (Mythology)
Grades 2-4
Purchased for review.


After pulling a magical thunderbolt from a stone, ten-year-old Zeus goes on the adventure of a lifetime in this thrilling start to a brand-new series!The terrible Titans—merciless giants who enjoy snacking on humans—have dominated the earth and put the world into chaos. But their rule is about to be put to the test as a group of young Olympians discover their powers and prepare to righteously rule the universe....      Ten-year-old Zeus is mystified (and super-annoyed) by the fact that he keeps getting hit by lightening. Every. Single. Year. He also longs for adventure, as he has never been far from the cave where he grew up.  Zeus gets his wish—and a lot more than he bargained for—when he is kidnapped by dangerous, giant Titans! In self-defense, Zeus grabs the first thing he sees—an actual thunderbolt he pulls from a stone that is covered in mysterious markings. Zeus is the only one who can decipher the markings, and sets off on a quest to rescue his fellow Olympians from the evil Cronus. Armed with his trusty thunderbolt (named Bolt, of course), Zeus is on an adventure of a lifetime—and a journey to fulfill his destiny as King of the Gods.


It's refreshing to find a fun fantasy book for the early chapter book crowd.  So many fantasies these days are so long and detailed that younger children have a hard time reading them (not that they don't try).  This is a fun depiction of Zeus and his siblings before they became the gods and goddesses of Olympus. While I have little liking or respect for the adult gods and goddesses of Olympus, I found myself liking Zeus as a gutsy, determined kid. I also laughed at the presentation of Bolt (Zeus's thunderbolt), he really seemed to have a personality and the rather clumsy and forgetful Oracle, who was somewhat helpful, uh, maybe (giggle).   The plot moves along quickly, perfect for young or reluctant readers and the illustrations add a nice touch. I am definitely adding this series to my library collection.

Be sure to check out the second and third books as well.



  1. This sounds like a great book for younger middle graders and will get them in the mood for Percy Jackson. Thanks for reviewing it.

  2. I had trouble with the mythological series from these authors ever since the togas on the Greek characters... I'll have to take another look.


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