I don’t know.
Something about this book series does not sit well with me.
It is one of many books using teens as the heroes. Harry Potter, 39 Clues, Percy Jackson, and now this series all have mere children being thrown into the fray without being given much choice in the matter. It seems to be the trend, isn’t it? To have heroes and heroines in their early teens?
That’s not my main problem with this one, though. I am, as of now, quite unsure as to what exactly I don’t like about this series, but I think it’s the purist in me that’s having trouble accepting this series as something that is “legit.”
What I do know is that I am uneasy with the use of and allusions to mythology from all over the world. Actually, come to think of it, the mythology used came mostly from the Western world. I sort of understand where the author is coming from when he decided to use mostly Western characters, but the main conflict, much like the one in the Percy Jackson series, has to do with the end of the world. The problem is that while Rick Riordan has made it clear that his books focus on Greek mythology and has reasonably explained the transfer of Greek power to the Americas, Michael Scott has, so far, given readers nary an explanation to the use of Western mythologies only when it was the whole world at stake. Where, then, were the Chinese and Japanese creatures? The monsters of the Malay cultures? Areop-Enap of Micronesia had a brief role, and s/he was barely Asian. The best I can remember is Gilgamesh, the Sumerian King, who had a brief role in Book 3. Only Greek, Roman, Celtic, and Nordic mythologies were interwoven, with a smattering of Egyptian mythology–the closest to Asian mythology as you can get although, technically, it’s African–in this fantastic tale of immortality and dear old sibling rivalry. Scott merely says, “Oh this here goddess, I mean, Elder, is related to this one but they don’t appear in the same mythologies.”
Scott is lucky his target audience is children or those in their early teens; their minds, most likely devoid of any knowledge of any of these mythologies, would gobble up every single word in a heartbeat and believe them without a doubt.
Older readers, however, might question the relations between the so-called Elders. Egyptian goddess Bastet is the sister of Roman god Mars Ultor, also known as Ares in Greek Mythology? Prometheus has a sister named Zephaniah, which is a Hebrew name? And where was Epimetheus? And he and Zephaniah are related to Celtic twin warriors Scathach and Aoife?
I believe that Scott came prepared in writing this series, but I also believe that his attempts to bring these mythologies together is a Herculean task that he fails mightily. While it would be much simpler to accept the notion that all mythologies truly are interconnected–and I do believe they are–, the connections are simply too far-fetched and ignorant of the rest of the elements that make up these mythologies to be acceptable.
The way I see it, Scott used whatever mythological god or creature was most convenient to his story without properly explaining why those characters were chosen or even using their original backgrounds. True, some needed no explanation (Prometheus teaching fire magic? But of course), but the others? The Witch of Endor was originally a biblical character in the Old Testament, so how come she became related to the Greek titan Prometheus?
I’m not really sure what my point is any more. All I know is that there are a lot of things in Scott’s series that are too contrived to be logical and believable in a work of fiction. Are the novels well-written? To a certain degree, yes, but it all reads too much like Percy Jackson and the 39 Clues for comfort. If you want action and don’t care about the historical and mythological bases for these novels, then by all means, read them. If you, like me, are a sucker for myths, then I suggest you throw your knowledge out the window first before reading else you’ll find yourself scratching your head more than once, like I did.