REVIEW: Tales of Great Goddesses: Gaia: Goddess of Earth
Tales of Great Goddesses: Gaia: Goddess of Earth
By Imogen and Isabel Greenberg
96 pages/Amulet Books/$14.99
Billed as being similar to the Nathan Hale historic biographies, this new series from Amulet takes a look at the goddesses throughout history. In this, the second offering from the Greenbergs, we get the Greek goddess Gaia. We have her story, including the creation of the world and its inhabitants along with her participation in the battle between the Titans and her offspring, led by her youngest, Zeus.
In a brisk 96 pages, we get her story along with a nice glossary and bibliography so enchanted readers can find more to read.
Today, adult authors have been rewriting the classic Greek tales for modern readers, starting with Madeline Miller’s brilliant Circe. It’s become quite the cottage industry and it makes me realize that despite being the mother of Gre4ek creation, Gaia is a secondary character in her own story and it makes me wish the Greenbergs focused more on her. They pick up after she exists, not at all referencing the chaos that preceded her, and they more or less gloss over the cosmic incest that resulted in other beings of great power that arrived.
We get the various beings she and her son Uranus brought to life, leading to the war between her children and Cronus.
The writing has some snark to it which younger readers will appreciate but they are also expecting her to be the focal point of the narrative and a far more active participant and here the book fails to meet that.
Isabel Greenberg’s art is crude and off-putting and does a disservice to the great beings of myth, from the cyclops to the fifty-headed Hecatonchires (a mere four heads are shown). The review copy was in black and white while the finished work will be in color which may bring more zest to the pages.
There are plenty of interesting goddesses for such a middle grade series and I hope the prominent ones from around the world, not just the more familiar Greek and Norse, get their due in subsequent volumes.