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Perseus by Geraldine McCaughrean
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Perseus (edition 2011)

by Geraldine McCaughrean, Cynthia Bishop (Narrator)

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332338,203 (4.33)1
Member:wisewoman
Title:Perseus
Authors:Geraldine McCaughrean
Other authors:Cynthia Bishop (Narrator)
Info:Full Cast Audio (2011), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD
Collections:My Library, Read in 2011, Audiobooks
Rating:****
Tags:Children's/YA Fiction, Mythology, Audiobook

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Perseus by Geraldine McCaughrean

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Geraldine McCaughrean's Perseus is a wonderful retelling of the story of Perseus of Greek mythology. When the Oracle tells King Acrisius that his grandson will someday kill him, he locks his daughter Danae in a tower to prevent her from ever conceiving a son. But Zeus, king of the gods, visits the lonely girl in a shower of gold. Soon Perseus is born, and he and his mother are set adrift in the ocean by the terrified Acrisius. They are rescued by a fisherman, Dictys, and in his poor hut Perseus grows to manhood.

Goaded by the evil king Polydectes (who wants the boy out of the way so he can marry the fair Danae), Perseus sets out on a foolish quest to bring back the head of Medusa. But Perseus doesn't know that every person who looks into Medusa's eyes is turned into stone by her incredible ugliness. How can he hope to kill the hideous Gorgon when he can't even see her without dying himself?

Along the way the story accommodates such fascinating concepts as free will versus fate, the attitude of the gods toward humanity, the role of destiny in human decisions, and what happens when a human wields supernatural power. These questions—some quite weighty—never impede the story, but provide a pleasing depth to Perseus's personality and choices. The adventure is more than just cutting off the Gorgon's head.

This is Greek mythology, and it isn't going to be G-rated. The Greek pantheon is peopled with philandering gods, jealous wives, passionate lovers, tricksters, schemers, and liars. In short, the gods act like humans, only they have more power. I appreciated McCaughrean's sensitivity to these elements of the story, which she handles very well. They are not excised (what story would be left without them?), nor are they glossed or rushed over. They are just part of the story, written with the same taste and skill as the rest.

This was my first McCaughrean title, and it won't be my last. I enjoyed her minimal but elegant prose; her simplicity is refreshing. She does an excellent job of making the heroic characters of Greek mythology more accessible and understandable for the modern reader, and I think the intended audience of children (according to the back cover, ages 8 to adult) will find it a compelling tale.

At three and a half hours, this 2011 Full Cast Audio production is a fairly quick read. For the most part the actors did their parts very well (though there are a few lines with a rather stilted delivery among some of the male parts). I also really liked the main narrator, Cynthia Bishop, whose warm voice strikes just the right tone for the story. All in all, this is an excellent version of the Perseus story and one I would recommend to readers of any age.

Thank you to Audiobook Jukebox for the opportunity to review this title. ( )
2 vote wisewoman | Nov 6, 2011 |
I love this lady's stuff, I really do. I discovered her when I bought a book of Fairy tales for my daughter's birthday a few years back. Her writing is a delight to read aloud, not to mention just read for yourself. She's re-told many of the old classics and won awards for her original stories.

This re-telling of the story of Perseus is a slim volume, perfect for those kids who have discovered the Greek myths through Rick Riordan and want the true story. ( )
  wiremonkey | Feb 5, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812627350, Hardcover)

What does the future hold in store? Is it ever a good idea even to ask? There was a time once when the Three Fates sat in the corner of the young world and knitted like grandmothers for each newborn infant. They wove and worked and patterned each day of a man's life, from the first stitch to the last casting off. And in those days, there were oracles, too, fortune-tellers so sharp-eyed that they could see into the future, so unkind that they were prepared to say what they saw there.

In this second of four books in Geraldine McCaughrean's Heroes series, following the acclaimed Odysseus, readers follow Perseus as he lives the fate the oracles have declared, an impossible quest to kill the hideous, snake-haired Medusa to save his mother from marriage to an evil king. A power struggle among the gods both hinders and helps him along the way, and Perseus manages to find true love when he rescues the breathtakingly beautiful Princess Andromeda from the horrors of a bloodthirsty sea monster in this entrancing retelling of the classic myth.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:15 -0400)

What does the future hold in store? Is it ever a good idea even to ask? There was a time once when the Three Fates sat in the corner of the young world and knitted like grandmothers for each newborn infant. They wove and worked and patterned each day of a man's life, from the first stitch to the last casting off. In those days, there were oracles, too, fortune-tellers so sharp-eyed that they could see into the future, so unkind that they were prepared to say what they saw there. In this second of four books in Geraldine McCaughrean's Heroes series, following the acclaimed Odysseus, readers follow Perseus as he lives the fate the oracles have declared, an impossible quest to kill the hideous, snake-haired Medusa to save his mother from marriage to an evil king. A power struggle among the gods both hinders and helps him along the way, and Perseus manages to find true love when he rescues the breathtakingly beautiful Princess Andromeda from the horrors of a bloodthirsty sea monster in this entrancing retelling of the classic myth.… (more)

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