I’m sure you are now fully aware of my love for Greek mythology. When author Nicole Walters approached me to see if I wanted to read and review her first book, Charis: Journey to Pandora’s Jar I wasn’t sure whether it would be appropriate for my daughter (it is!) but I knew I wanted to read it! Read on to find out how YOU can read the first three chapters.
Author: Nicole Walters
Year Published: 2013
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Recommended Age: 9+
What it’s About: In a battle of good versus evil, unsuspecting humans are unaware that there is a battle to retrieve Pandora’s mythological jar with the Spirit of Hope still safely trapped inside. Hades, ruler of the Underworld, along with his trusty co-conspirators, the wretched Erinyes Sisters – Megaera, Tisiphone, and Alecto – will stop at nothing to find the legendary jar and ensure that Hope remains hidden from humankind.
Enter Charis, a 21st century teenage heroine with a mysterious birthmark in the shape of wings on her back who is haunted by strange dreams. We meet Charis and her best friend Gabe, in present day America, as they face typical adolescent scenarios including completing exams, experiencing the effects of those notorious teenage hormones, and preparing for a school play, coincidentally about Greek Gods and Goddesses.
Little does Charis know that she is the Chosen One – that is, the one destined to open Pandora’s Jar once again, releasing Hope into the realm of Gaia (i.e., Earth) troubled by wars, violence, and civil unrest, and ultimately restoring the balance between good and evil. But Charis won’t have to face this tall task alone. While some of the Gods will stop at nothing to prevent her from opening the jar, she also has some of the most legendary Gods and Goddesses to assist her including Hermes, the Messenger God, Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, and Nike, the Goddess of Victory.
My Thoughts: Nicole Walters creates a riveting tale featuring a strong role model in Charis, an intricate and suspenseful plot, and an important message about the state of the World we find ourselves in currently. As mentioned in previous reviews, I am a big fan of Greek mythology and Walters does a great job of weaving in mythological legend and history with present day themes and concerns. Walters grabbed my attention in the first chapter, had me rooting for Charis and her allies the rest of the way, and now has me eagerly awaiting the next book!
Charis is portrayed as a strong, sensitive, and confident teenage girl. She places value on the relationships she has with her family and her best friend Gabe, and appropriately and respectfully stands her ground when she is bullied by another girl. When informed by Athena of what is expected of her with regards to releasing Hope from Pandora’s jar, she pushes back her doubts and bravely accepts what is her destiny. I can really see how Charis would be a good role model for my own tween daughter. My only issue is that I’m still unclear as to Charis’ origin. I understand that she is somehow “related” to Hermes (thus the wings on her back), but I do feel that more elaboration is necessary. Perhaps in future books?
Nicole Walters is a fantastic story-teller. The story unfolds quickly and the perspective changes from Charis to the Greek Gods and Goddesses involved in the story (i.e., Hades, Athena, Hermes, and so on) building a clever and intriguing plot to the final climax as each party contemplates what is at stake with regards to the legendary jar. Just when you think you can anticipate what will happen next… well, let’s just say that you can expect the unexpected.
I did want to mention briefly that I felt the opening chapter was a bit dark and ominous. After reading the first chapter, I was concerned about letting my 9 year old daughter read it, but I have to say that the rest of the book did not have that feel. There are moments throughout the book that are intense, especially the parts with the Erinyes sisters, but by the time I finished reading the book, I told my daughter that she should read it and that I thought she would enjoy it after all.
My Bottom Line: Nicole Walters has created the female equivalent to Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson in Charis. If you love Greek mythology, are looking for a strong female central character and appreciate exceptional writing skills, I highly recommend Charis: Journey to Pandora’s Jar by Nicole Walters.
Who Would Like This Book? Any tween or teen who loves stories weaving mythology with real life problems they may face in school would enjoy this book. Ages 9+.
Mom Rating: ★★★★★
Mom Rating: ★★★★★
* I was given this book free-of-charge by the author in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own. *
About The Author
Nicole Y. Walters lives in Seattle with her husband. She has two grown sons, good boys, who call their momma regularly. Nicole loves a great many things in life . . . green apples with almond butter, the smell of puppy breath, and the feel of the words “I love you.” She also thinks writing is pretty cool too. Charis: Journey to Pandora’s Jar, is her first novel, and it was a joy for her to write every word. Inspired by Nicole’s own journey, Charis: Journey to Pandora’s Jar is a book about friendship, faith, courage, and the power of the one and all, but most of all, it’s a book about the compelling promise of hope.
For more information about Nicole Walters and Charis: Journey to Pandora’s Jar please visit the website: http://nicoleywalters.com/
*** Click HERE to Read the First Three Chapters of
Charis: Journey to Pandora’s Jar by Nicole Walters ***
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