Dionysos: The (sadly) final installment in a brilliant series

Dionysos by George O’Connor science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsDionysos by George O’Connor

Dionysos by George O’Connor science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsWith Dionysos, writer/illustrator George O’Connor’s OLYMPIANS series comes to an end after 12 titles and at this point, having reviewed a third of them and read more, all’s that need be said is either now you can complete your collection or, if you haven’t yet purchased any — and really, why haven’t you? —, now you can go out and get the whole thing. Because it’s simply great, start to finish. We’ve reviewed these previous installments: Zeus, Ares, Artemis, Hermes.

Every book in this series has been a five (including the ones I didn’t get around to reviewing), and this one is no different and for all the same reasons. Fantastic retelling of stories both familiar and not-so-familiar?  Check. Wonderful sense of voice? Check. Distinctive characterizations? Check.  A refusal to dumb down the stories, the vocabulary, the syntax, or to sand off the rougher, darker edges of the myths? Check. Moving moments? Check. Artwork equally effective at conveying quietly human expressions and awesomely cosmic events?  Check. Great backmatter? Check.  The only complaint I have about this final episode in this superlative series is that it is the final episode in this superlative series.

Writing about his goal in the author’s notes at the end of Dionysos, O’Connor tells us he wanted to write “the series I always wished I could read when I was introduced to Greek mythology.”  As a reviewer, a reader, a teacher, a parent, and a lover of myth, I would amend that to say O’Connor has crafted a series I wish everyone will read as their introduction to Greek mythology.  And as their reintroduction.

Teachers — stock the entire series on your classroom shelves; I don’t care if you teach elementary, middle school, or secondary.  Librarians, stock this series on your shelves and preferably more than one full set so no kid has to wait overly long.  Parents, buy this series to read with your younger children and then keep it on the home shelves for them to read on their own and get more out of as they age.  Nor, I want to make clear, should these books be read solely by the young or by those who haven’t yet read the Greek myths.  They’re a treasure for all,  young or old, steeped in the stories or barely recalling them from high school.  As Dionysos says at the end, “To the Olympians: Long may they reign!”

Published in March 2022. In the final volume of the New York Times–bestselling Olympians graphic novel series, author/artist George O’Connor focuses on Dionysos, the god of wine and madness. The Olympians saga draws to a close with the tale of Dionysos, the last Olympian, and maybe, just maybe, the first of a new type of God. His story is told by the first Olympian herself, Hestia, Goddess of the hearth and home. From her seat in the center of Mt. Olympus, Hestia relates the rise of Dionysos, from his birth to a mortal mother, to his discovery of wine, his battles with madness and his conquering of death itself, culminating, finally, in his ascent to Olympus and Godhood.

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BILL CAPOSSERE, who's been with us since June 2007, lives in Rochester NY, where he is an English adjunct by day and a writer by night. His essays and stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other literary journals, along with a few anthologies, and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of Best American Essays. His children's work has appeared in several magazines, while his plays have been given stage readings at GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Playhouse. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, or teaching, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course or the ultimate frisbee field.

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