Lore Olympus worthy addition to this year’s Battle of the Books

Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe is a comic modern retelling of the Greek myth “The Taking of Persephone” that has been running on Webtoon since 2018. Persephone has been sheltered by her mother in the mortal realm for her whole life. Now she is ready to take control of her life in the big city of Olympus, but shortly after she arrives she meets the handsome Hades, the feared king of the underworld. Now she faces a whirlwind of gossip, uncovered secrets, scheming enemies and unexpected friends as her friendship with Hades blooms into something more. 

Lore Olympus has a plot filled with twists and turns with bite-size episodes perfect for a quick read or for binge-reading. The plot is incredibly creative and well thought out. Smythe’s passion for Greek mythology is clear by the way she incorporates the rich mythos and lore of the Greek Pantheon and applies them to a modern setting. 

With retelling, authors sometimes get lazy because the story is already written for them, but Smythe did not disappoint, and the way it tackles relationships, both healthy and toxic, is incredibly important for audiences. Although the toxic aspect, which includes rape and domestic violence, may be triggering to readers, so digression is advised. As a survivor of dating violence myself, I related to both Hades and Persephone’s respective experiences. I appreciated how realistically it’s portrayed and how the author used her platform for talking about such important issues. Although it didn’t go as in-depth into this, I do appreciate how it talked about domestic violence towards males as it is an overlooked aspect of the culture of rape and abuse. Hades and Persephone’s love and respect for each other is a heartwarming and important model of a healthy relationship for its younger female demographic. 

I did notice a few mistakes, especially in the early seasons with typos and off-center text. It is pretty common for webcomics to have more mistakes than a novel, but it is still disappointing to see. The webcomic is being published into a graphic novel, and the mistakes seem to be corrected in them and the art style updated. 

I am concerned about how small the volumes of the graphic novel version are. There are two volumes published and the third one is coming in October, but all of the volumes only contain about 25 episodes, and considering that season one has 115 episodes, it would take five volumes just to finish season one! If that continues, that could potentially be 12 volumes for all the seasons if season three has the same amount of episodes as previous seasons and the volumes continue only to be 25 episodes. I hope they group larger amounts of episodes together for future volumes so fans don’t have to spend as much money and take up space on their bookshelves. 

It’s clear to see why this was a pick for the 2023 Battle of the Books competitions, but it is available to anyone on Webtoon, and volumes one and two are under the graphic novel section of the library.

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