Book Review: Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons by Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris

Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons by Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris is the second book in the Young Heroes series. I have not read the first book, so I am hazarding a guess that each book can stand on its own. It seems that each book chronicles the adventures of young heroes from mythology. Hippolyta is a true amazon, she is proud and brave, living for the thrill of the hunt and for the friendship of her fellow female warriors. She is a skilled hunter and loving sister.  Then, because her mother demands it and in defiance of the laws of her people, she must take her newborn brother to his father in Troy, where she finds herself in new and terrible dangers. In order to save her people, Hippolyta must defy the gods, with the help of a boy. In the process she learns what it really means to be an Amazon; finding the courage to change her world.

Alright, I need to start by saying I love Jane Yolen- from her dinosaur picturebooks right through to her fantasy fiction. Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons is no exception to that statement. I have always loved mythology, and seeing some of the lesser know stories taken and expanded upon makes me happy, to see it done well and by Yolen makes me giddy.

Now on to Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons. I liked the detail put into laying out the Amazon civilization and complications that arise, as well as the power struggles inherent in the system. I liked the in depth characterization of even some of the secondary characters, which occasionally left me wishing that everyone would get some follow up. Hippolyta's personal growth, coming to care for her infant brother and then her younger brother Tithonus, is tremendous. She grows as a warrior and a person as she faces dangers including a hungry sea monster and an angry goddess. She learns to think beyond what she was taught and to trust in what she feels is right.

I greatly enjoyed Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons, and look forward to exploring the rest of the Young Heroes series from Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris. There is action and dry humor through out the book, while offering a new look at mythology. Readers that enjoy coming of age stories, action adventure tales, quests, and mythology will find themselves very happy while reading.
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