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Charis: Journey to Pandora's Jar by Nicole…

Charis: Journey to Pandora's Jar

by Nicole Y. Walters

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A copy of this book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book! It was a super fun read, and full of surprises. Charis (means 'Grace' in Greek) is a young girl who is incredibly curious. Charis is of mixed race; I can't even remember the last time I read a middle grade novel with a main character who was mixed race. Being of mixed race myself, it felt kinda satisfying :)

I loved how the myth of Pandora's Jar was incorporated in this story. The main gods involved were Hermes, Hades, Athena, and Nike. It was refreshing to see some of the gods who aren't usually included. For instance, Nike was a main character -- and I really liked how her backstory was explained. She was a fierce warrior goddess, but also full of love and tenderness. Her bonding with Charis felt natural. The gods and goddesses helped Charis, they didn't drop a huge responsibility on her and then leave her to save the world. I liked that because it was realistic. Charis's bravery was as striking as if she would have had superpowers. Aside from a unique birthmark, she doesn't have magic powers, but she's a very special girl.

The voices of Gabe (Charis' best friend) and Charis were very authentic. They used slang and it felt natural, which I know can be difficult to do sometimes. I felt like I was reading about a real family. I can't tell you how much I've been reading lately where the family dynamic is totally bogus. It feels fake. And I'm not saying it because there were two parents, or being of the racial element (although that does help). It's because Charis and her brother Presley actually love each other. Shocking! He's nice to her, caring, and she looks up to him. My brother and I were and are the same way. It always bothers me because it seems the majority of books show siblings who hate and continually antagonizing each other.

Another thing that impressed me was the way the villains were portrayed. Hades (yes, he's the bad guy) was different. He wasn't completely evil. Yes, he wanted to get rid of mankind and increase his kingdom. But, why did he feel guilty about it? It's because he was multi-faceted. He was not totally evil, nor was he good. Basically, he was acting out of selfishness but he had a conscience that was present. The same goes for the Erineyes sisters. They were acting out their belief that Charis was evil, which is what they were told by Hades. However, even Alecto questioned Hades order when she met Charis. This was a good approach; versus just picking hades and saying "ok he's the evil bad guy because he's Hades," you know?

My only criticism is I felt the myth was explained a little too much. Since it's embedded in the play Charis' school is doing, it was explained there and to Charis by the gods. I'm not sure if this is necessary for kids who read this because of the complexity of the myth? But, for me at least, I didn't need that. One thorough explanation would've been sufficient. Also, the first part of the book was a little slow as far as pacing.

I was half expecting Charis to find the jar, open it and release hope in the world. The end, happily ever after. What I got instead, was a big fat surprise. I loved the ending in that it was totally unexpected and I think it takes a lot of guts to end a MG novel this way. I'm definitely going to be reading the next book.

I recommend this book for lovers of mythology and a unique take on the Pandora myth. ( )
  Diamond.Dee. | Jul 3, 2015 |
I have to admit that I was a little unsure before I started this book. It is not normally something I would pick up to read. However, once I started reading Charis: Journey to Pandora's Jar, I was HOOKED! I had a hard time putting the book down. There are so many mysteries and drama that I could not imagine what was going to happen next!

Charis appears to have a normal life for 13 year old girl. She has a warm loving family, friends that are beyond true, and middle school with all it's drama. Her special birthmark has always intrigued her but she doesn't know why. When she starts having strange dreams she is a little worried about what is happening. When she starts receiving visits from the Gods, she is certainly intrigued, a little hesitant, and a little scared.

I don't want tell you too much about this book because I do not want to spoil any of the exciting story line for you. I will tell you that I really admired Charis for all that she goes through. This is one brave girl. I also admired her friend Gabe for sticking with her, and helping her through her adventure. This young man is a true friend, even when things were a bit dangerous he was right there for Charis.

Greek mythology intrigues me and I really enjoyed learning more about it in this book. I think anyone who enjoy Greek mythology will enjoy this story. I think middle school age children, maybe even a little younger (depending on their reading taste) all the way up to adults will enjoy this book.

I am so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and choose to read this book. I found the story to be nicely written and exciting enough to keep me flipping pages very quickly. I know that I would certainly love to read more and I hope the author may be writing another book to make this a series. I would be intrigued to see what happens with Charis, her family, friends, and the Gods next.

I was given the opportunity to read this book for a blog tour, so that I may share my thoughts with you. As always it has been my pleasure to share my thoughts with you on Charis: Journey to Pandora's Jar. ( )
  MinDaf | Feb 4, 2014 |
I read the book only because it’s for the book club, and the book club chose the book only because one of the members knows the (local) author. I’m guessing it's younger than a YA book, even though the heroine is 13 years old. Borrowing heavily from the Pandora’s Box story, this version is revamped to Pandora’s Jar and that “Hope” was never let out of the Jar. The heroine of the story, Charis, is a reincarnated Grace whose mission is to open the Jar and let Hope out to save mankind. There, you have the whole story. Skip the book.

The author attempted to make the book 'smart' by mixing in (borrowing) a lot of Greek Mythology. Those were the best parts. The less than smart parts were attempts in making the story ‘urban’, with several ‘what tha’ tossed in. Completely unnecessary. Also, “Zeus made it with Metis to create Athena”. Is ‘made it’ supposed to be urban for sex or is it a typo for ‘mated’. Argh. I appreciated the Harry Potter books and Hunger Games books for being true to the language and having an original story. This is a borrowed, revamped story with an unaccomplished goal for an ending, ready for a sequel. Oh, heck no!

Oh yeah, along the way, Charis learns she’s special, strong, brave, and her curiosity is good. Lesson of the book. Check.

My rating went lower and lower as I write this review. Bah humbug. ( )
1 vote varwenea | Aug 23, 2013 |
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Thirteen-year-old Charis Parks has five days to save mankind. What she thought was mere mythology has become her reality .. she alone must reverse the curse of Pandora's Jar. If Charis is to fulfill her destiny, she has to face her fears against the darker forces of Hades and the blood-thirsty Erinyes Sisters who help him. Together with the gods and her best friend Gabe, Charis takes a fantastic journey to Pandora's Jar where she must release the only spirit that remains trapped inside -- the spirit of Hope. Or else ...… (more)

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