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QUICKSILVER by Stephanie Spinner Kirkus Star


by Stephanie Spinner

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: April 12th, 2005
ISBN: 0-375-82638-6
Publisher: Knopf

Having given the tale of Atalanta a contemporary voice in Quiver (2002), Spinner proceeds to do the same for several other myths, by viewing them through the eyes of Hermes. Though a minor player in most of them, he’s a wonderfully engaging narrator: mischievous but not malicious, hardworking, ingenious, a sardonic observer of his peers (“Seducing mortals was one of the great guilty pleasures of the gods, second only to tipping cattle and ruining the weather.”). He’s equally at ease among mortals and shades, ever eager to please his father Zeus, but so averse to violence that he swears off killing after helping Perseus slay Medusa and shuns Olympus rather than watch the Trojan carnage. Spinner gives these ancient tales a lively spin without inventing major new events or characters for them, downplays the sex and violence by leaving nearly all of it offstage, and ends on a light note, as Hermes throws off his gloom by springing Odysseus from Calypso’s smothering embrace and settling down with the nymph himself to raise “many fine children.” It’s good to be a god. (Fantasy. 11-13)