Hannah Messenger and the Gods of Hockwold

Hannah Messenger and the Gods of Hockwold

By Author / Illustrator

Bryony Pearce

Genre

Myths & Legends

Age range(s)

9+

Publisher

UCLan Publishing

ISBN

9781915235978

Format

Paperback / softback

Published

06-06-2024

Synopsis

The Gods of Olympus and their descendants have lost their memories. They think they are ordinary humans. Only Hannah Messenger and her friends know who they really are. And that means when the God's objects of power start to go missing, only Hannah and her friends can stop the thief.  A MG urban fantasy about learning that real power is in the friendships you make.


"It's always fun to read a new book inspired by the Greek myths and this one's a hoot."   Louisa,  ReadingZone.com


Find out more from Bryony Pearce, and enjoy our Q&A with the author!


Reviews

Louisa

It's always fun to read a new book inspired by the Greek myths and this one's a hoot. The plotting is tight and pacy, and draws on motifs and back narratives from well-known myths to make a satisfyingly original new story. 


In Hannah Messenger and the Gods of Hockwold, 11-year-old Hannah Messenger is the granddaughter of Hermes. She lives in the tiny village of Hockwold, near Cambridge, where Zeus, Hera and the rest of the Olympians have retired from duties and live shielded from prying eyes by the magical powers of the marker stone. At the start of the book, Hannah's biggest worry is how to control her new powers - unpredictable wings on her feet that propel her upwards at the most inconvenient moments. Then she and her best friend Dylan (grandson of Dionysus, whose new power allows him to produce unlimited strawberry laces from his pockets) discover that the marker stone has mysteriously moved and havoc is brewing - in Hockwold and the world beyond. There's no use turning to their parents and grandparents for help - they seem to have forgotten they are gods and demigods and have started doing normal human things like washing cars and sending emails. It's up to Hannah, Dylan and their friends Amy (granddaughter of Aphrodite) and Alastair (grandson of Prometheus) to save the day.


It took me a couple of chapters to get into the story, partly because I couldn't quite decide on the target audience; although the jacket and blurb seemed aimed at children, some of the jokes and language in the opening pages felt more adult. Once I was hooked, though, I was carried happily away on a series of rollicking riffs on the Greek myths and gobbled the lot in a couple of sittings.


The jaunty, vernacular style will appeal to children who are looking for a light read for fun, or to young adults who are still developing reading fluency. Just encourage them through those first few pages.


222 pages / Reviewed by Louisa Farrow, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+

Janet

In a small enclave near Cambridge live the descendants of the Greek gods. Hannah Messenger is the grand-daughter of Hermes, currently in prison. Entry to Hockwold is past a large stone beyond which everyone is a descendant of the gods. The community is headed up by Zeus (retired) and his wife Hera, who is really retired - living in an urn.


Hannah, Dylan, Amy and Alistair are coming in to their powers when the symbols of the gods' powers - staffs, apples etc - begin to disappear along with the stone, allowing tourists to enter the enclave, but also more alarmingly, their parents become human. Hannah’s mother even begins to send emails!  The four try to find out who has done this, which also means releasing Hermes from prison, but the culprit is closer to home than they think....


This is a clever story, although the reader will need to bone up on their Greek gods. The tone is jokey which occasionally jars, along with the odd the Americanisms, like poop, kiddo etc. Hannah is the leader of the four 11-year-olds, and her friendship with Dylan is put severely to the test, while the frailties of Amy and Alistair are also laid bare.


There is the lovely touch in the tortoise Dolio, who lives in Hannah's bag and needs constantly feeding, and the not-so-lovely picture of the strawberry laces which turn into snakes. The plot takes the reader through various mishaps of ideas that go wrong, such as a tree house being burnt down with the children in it, and the splendid picture of Elsie the two-headed dog!


The deeper meaning of the story, that things happen to children which can colour their actions and need to be understood, plus the message that the world is safe in the younger generation's hands, is subtly told and the story ends well.


222 pages / Reviewed by Janet Fisher, librarian

Suggested Reading Age 11+

 

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