Olympian Challenger

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

"When he's near, I'm a moth circling a flame--trapped and forgetful of the danger ahead."

As a HUGE sucker for anything related to mythology... this was a such a treat to read. It's reminiscent of The Goddess Test trilogy, which I really enjoyed too. Olympian Challenger is a mix of romance, fierce battle scenes, humor and diversity.

It all started with a strange invitation:

"You’re cordially invited…
To embark on a singular journey.
If your heart is true,
And your soul heroic,
Dare to face your fears,
And your most precious wish will be granted.

If these words you can read,
Don’t breathe them to a soul,
The punishment would be severe,
That confidant may disappear.

You have until midnight."

Essentially, you're following a teenage girl and her struggle in dealing with her mother's debilitating illness, trying to keep up her grades up to get into MED school and, somehow, manage to take care of herself (just barely). One day, everyone at school receives a very strange invitation, but only Hope (our MC) is able to decipher the full message. And to win a wish? Hmm... this invitation seems very tempting. So what happens when our MC is thrown into a world she never thought could possibly still exist? Ha, not what you're thinking. Our MC here doesn't give a crap about the prize and the outrageous tests that she must go through in order to get it - she just wants to get back home, back to her mother and spend whatever time left she has with her before she's gone. I mean, that was until she met Kieron, Hades and Persephone's (smoldering) son. It was then, that maybe, just maybe, she could win this wish to save someone who she really cares about with the encouragement of someone she's gaining feelings towards. But are they reciprocated? 

Olympian Challenger did not disappoint! This was a such a fun page-turner and I am excited to see what happens in the next installment to this trilogy.
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Very good book!! I enjoyed reading this book a lot, the characters were strong and had relatable personalities, the plot was straightforward and gripping, and the romance - while not particularly memorable - did not take away from the story. Overall I would rate this book well and recommend it to others not as an all time favorite but definitely a good read!
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The Greek Mythology aspects were well done but the character development could use some work. Hopefully sequels will create more rounded characters. It will be a good suggestion for certain readers in our store and I have already talked to one customer about it who sounded interesting and would look into the book.
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It is a good book for those who are fans of Percy Jackson. This is like but it darker. Hope Diaz is a good character who is strong but suffers bouts of self-doubt. The story had a great rhythm and is good ya book.
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It took me a few days of off and on reading to get into this book, but then "BAM", I was hooked and couldn't stop reading. I have unintentionally been reading quite a few books that center around mythology this year. 

This book is well written and the story just pulls you in. All the major characters are well developed and you continuously learn more about them through their actions. I will definitely be reading the next book!

This book is about Hope who receives a mysterious invitation. While she is curious about the invitation, she is more concerned about her mom who had dementia. The night she receives the invite, she does something that lands her smack dab in the middle of Mt. Olympus. She really does not want to be in the competition that she unwittingly qualified for, but when she hears that the reward is one wish, she knows exactly what she will ask for. 

This book is about being true to yourself, bonds that are forged under unusual circumstances, a little romance, and becoming a true hero.
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The cover is very beautiful and I like it very much. The blue colors are really appealling and i like the magical thunders around it. Also the blue moon is perfectly fitting, as it even has a meaning in the story.

The writing style was fluent and easy to read. The book is written from the first-person perspective of Hope, so it was really easy for me to empathize with her feelings. The length of the chapters was appropriate. I liked the short time jumps between the chapters.

Hope is a very strong and brave main character. When someone needs help, she is always there, without even reconsidering that it might cost her her life. She has a really good heart and never looses it. Her interaction with Kieron was really fascinating. I liked the slow development of passion between the two. Kieron is also a really fascinating character. I am really fond of him, although in this first installment not so much details of him were provided. His belief in Hope was really strong and made him really sympathetic. The variety of the other challengers was really admirable. Some of them I hated to the bone, other I really liked - Gabriel, with his wish to be loved as he is and Amy with her lonliness for example. Also the portrayal of the gods and divinities was really satisfying - I think Astrid added some of her own ideas, but a lot of the characteristics matched the known stories and legends.

The story itself was really interesting. The main idea - a challenge to find a new olympian hero or heroine -was quite refreshing. The basement of the challenges on greek myths was interesting, although a lot of them were quite brutal and murderous. Especially also some challenges were not only physically brutal but on a emotional level, which can be even worse. The apathy from the gods to this things was really disgusting, but written magnificently. The dialogs between the characters were also written very compelling - it was really easy for me to empathize with the speakers.

The end of this book really fills like a end in some way - but it feels like a end to the first step of a even greater challenge, which will probably await Hope in her near future.

Refreshing main idea, nice variety of characters, unsparing brutality, empathizable emotions - I give the book 5 out of 5 stars :)
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This book was very well written with great story line and interesting and unforgettable  characters, I am sure Astride got as much enjoyment in writing this story as I did reading it. It was a another book I could not put down until I finished  it. Will certainly want to be reading the second book in this series.
I would like to thank NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review another great book.
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Well written book with interest twist and turns. Most of the idea seems very cliche and predictable at the beginning but the ending was very new and surprised me a tad.  Story about kids who align with certain greek get suck into an alternative universe where they must face trials to be name the hero. The main heroine at first seems very strong but as the story progresses she acts childish, so character consistence doesn't show growth. The romance in this book is cute if not cliche. Seems like there will be another book. Good read for someone who enjoyed the Percy Jackson series.
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It's hard to read this book and not get immediate comparisons to the superior "Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief." Obviously it's different enough to not be exactly the same, but you don't want your readers reading your story and constantly comparing it to another, much more famous work. 

I had several issues with this book--among them the heroine's early and easy acceptance of being transported to Olympus ("Oh, I guess I'm in Olympus now with gods. Cool."), the framing of the world and death (the beginning makes it sound as if the gods/heroes will protect the competitors if anything happens to them, giving them ambrosia to heal severe and serious wounds; then later competitors start dying left and right. For real, gone forever type dying. Despite the fact that humans can be easily resurrected and the afterworld is literally a hop, skip and a jump away from where they are), a made up god to be the romantic love interest (when your reader is super familiar with Greek mythology, this kind of thing is very disconcerting), etc.

I also don't understand why if the importance of this competition is to find a true hero why the gods would allow murderous a-holes to compete. Greek heroes were HEROIC. They didn't sacrifice their friends to save their own skins. If they messed up, they paid for it. Kids in this competition are serious sociopaths, and you'd think that would concern the gods just a little. It doesn't. 

And obviously something bad is going on--the gods need a hero to open the portals between the human world and Olympus. And this never raises a red flag for the heroine, despite her constantly telling us how selfish and vain and malicious the gods are. 

The absolute worst thing though, and what knocked the rating of this book down from a four to a two (and had me seriously considering a one) was that the prize in this competition was one wish. One wish and the gods would grant you anything you desire. The heroine wants to heal her mother who is suffering from dementia. It's all she talks about the entire book. Then when she gets the chance to make the wish (sorry if that's a spoiler, but I think it's fairly obvious from the get-go that the heroine is going to win), she makes the absolute stupidest wish in the history of time. She doesn't save her mother. And even if she wasn't going to do that would you, I don't know, wish for world peace? An end to human suffering? No more hunger? Something that would make the world a better place given that she's now the hero of mankind? I literally groaned out loud and if this had been a paperback, I would have thrown it. And she saves one friend with her wish and I was like, "What about her other friends?" Including the one who she paid tribute to in her fashion choices? Why was his life so much more important than anyone else's? And couldn't she have wished, "I want all the competitors in this competition brought back to life and sent back to earth?" Saved everyone with one fell swoop? Or how about her sensing that the gods are up to no good and saying, "I wish that no resident of Olympus could hurt any human in any way ever again?" Thus ensuring that she could protect her mother from the god who keeps threatening to harm her? Bad, bad, bad ending. Stupidest choice ever.

This book is also obviously intended to be part of a series, so while one part ends it's left very open-ended for the series to continue. I won't be reading any of the other books as I can't get over the stupidity of the heroine's final wish.
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Olympian Challenger has a beautiful cover that will entice younger teens who love mythology and the Rick Riordan books. The story and characters felt not fully fleshed out though, and the plot was jumpy and ill-paced. The (many, many) Greek gods and heroes are introduced in a roll-call fashion; some are not described at all and others thrown suddenly into the plot, so it is difficult to keep track of who they are. This book will find a niche of readers, I think, but it won't really live up to the Percy Jackson fans' expectations.
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This book a gave me serious Percy Jackson vibes, and I honestly couldn’t be happier about it. I mean, I am a huge Percy Jackson and Greek mythology nerd, so it started off with everything in its favor. Sadly though, it didn’t quite land in the favorites bin.
So, Olympian Challenger tells the story of a girl who ends up as a contender to be the next Olympic hero, the only thing is, she ends up there by accident. As she tries to figure out a way home to her ailing mother, she is put through trials and tribulations following the stories of her mentors, the great Olympic heroes that came before her. This lot includes as Heracles, Jason, Adrienne and a handful of others. Throughout the story she struggles with her inner turmoil; to return home or to continue on.
The Pluses:
+ The Greek mythology, duh. I love all things related to Greek myths and stories. I just find them so fascinating. This book managed to blend the two worlds, ancient and modern, together relatively seamlessly, with only a few unexplained hiccups along the way.
+ The characters are wonderful. They’re so sweet and lovable and yet, they still have their realistic faults. But they’re also all so different from each other. They are completely their own people, with unique quirks and flaws.
The Minuses: 
- The beginning is very stilted and strange. The author leaves you hanging for far too long before explaining what’s happening with the main character. I had to set it down a couple time because I just couldn’t get into it.
- The flow of time in this book is very off. When I was reading it felt like weeks had gone by for the characters, when in reality it only been days. This make the whole book feel a bit unbalanced, which took away from the enjoyment of the story.
Overall, I look forward to re-reading this book when the sequel drops next year. The challengers are relatable and the gods, detestable. I enjoyed how the story was interwoven with stories/myths of the path, instead of just plunked into current-day Olympus.
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I found this book on Netgalley and thought it sounded like a good read so I grabbed it up. I haven't read a book on mythology in a very long time and I really did like the sound of this one.  It was a good story, clever, adventurous. It had a lot in it and I thought it was well written. I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped but I think it was more my mind wasn't in the right mood. I was having issues with so many books at this time. I was in a bit of a slump. So I think I would have enjoyed it more another time but even with my mind somewhere else, I still thought the book was really good and I do want to read more. 

Hope is a teenager with a lot going on in her life. Trying to get through school and taking care of her sick mother. Her days are busy and her life is full. She just wants to get through the day she is in. Everything changes when she receives a mysterious invitation. She planned on ignoring this invitation but an accident happened and she ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She now finds herself among the gods. She is told she is a descendant and they are looking for the next hero. There is a series of tests, and lessons to learn, and new friends and enemies. The only thing Hope wants to do is get back home to her sick mother. What she gets is a new outlook on her world. 

There were many things I did like about this book. I liked the main character, I liked the plot, I really enjoyed the tests. It was written well and it was really different than anything I have read in YA in quite a while. It wasn't completely unique, there are many similar stories out there, but I haven't read one in a while and it does have it's own set of differences that set it apart from the others. 

The main character was a breath of fresh air. She did have her issues and a couple of times she was a bit irritating. She was a very loyal daughter and friends. She has a very honest and innocent and caring heart. She wanted what was best for others, never herself. Sometimes her selflessness got in the way of the bigger picture. I never thought I would say this, but it's so true. Her biggest fault was she couldn't see past the obvious. She had a one track mind and it was hard for anyone to get her to take off her blinders. Other than that I really liked her. She was just good. Sometimes I need to read a book where the main character is just good. 

There were other really fun characters too. The book was full of good and bad and in between. There were so many fighting to be that last standing hero so they can get their prize. They weren't all good either. It seemed the gods didn't know what to look for in future heroes. It was fun to see though how each one ended up on Mt. Olympus and which god brought them in. 

The story was full of relationships, family, and friendship. Relationships was definitely a focal point of the story and watching the relationships form and the characters bond, well I just love this kind of thing. 

The tests were really fun too. Sometimes I felt they did get a little confusing, but again focus issues. They were interesting though and a fun way to work through the story. They were creative and they were very relative to the story. I really enjoyed this part of the story. 

I think the main issue I had with the book was the pacing. I think this wouldn't have been such a thing if my mind wasn't having issues focusing at the time, but it was. 

Really good read with a good story and great characters.
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Good start to the series.  I love mythology, especially Greek mythology so I was excited to start this read. Hope receives a cryptic invitation and by accident ends up in Mount Olympus. Once there she enters a competition to become a champion and win the prize of a single wish. Although Hope rather be at home with her mother, she realizes winning is the only thing that can help heal her mother and make her life whole again. I really enjoyed watching Hope grow and the friendships she made. I can't wait to see what is next for her and if her love story works out.
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I loved this book. I was first I was drawn in by the cover and then the description. I was a huge fan of the Percy Jackson books, so I was definitely intrigued on another story based off of Greek mythology. This was a winner! I couldn’t put it down once I started reading. I am anxiously waiting for the next one!
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I loved this book. It is well written with a great plot and characters. I was engrossed from start to finish. I can't wait to read more books by this author. I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from Netgalley.
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Astrid Arditi's, Olympian Challenger, is her first push into YA fiction. Olympian Challenger is the start of a forthcoming urban/mythology YA series, which was released February 2018. NetGalley provided me an ARC copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. Now that that's all out there, I'm going to put it bluntly, I would've read this in one day if I didn't have to work.

[meme image]
Me and this book. For real.

Olympian Challenger is the story of Hope Diaz in the middle of a potentially fatal competition to determine the next Hero of Mt. Olympus. The book starts out with every senior in NYC receiving mysterious invitations, but only a few can read the full message. Hope reads hers, but doesn't care, she's got bigger concerns. However, in a situation of wrong place wrong time, she ends up fulfilling the requirements of the invite and following another teen to Mt. Olympus. There she makes friends and enemies and as per the rules of YA falls in love.

Arditi's main character, Hope Diaz, deviates from many of YA protagonists I've read recently. She's neither too perfect nor too imperfect. As much as I love a YA series, a MarySue lead is a always a bummer. Hope Diaz is no MarySue. She's a sympathetic character, who makes a lot of efforts to put things into reasonable perspective. At times it seems like she might be a little bit too mature, but given the backstory, it still feels fitting. She also manages to grow and change based on the moments faced in the book, rather than being static.

The rest of the characters aren't as strong, everyone is pretty two dimensional, but in the same way that a lot of characters in Hunger Games also never really evolved. That's not necessarily a bad thing. The author uses generalized action moments to teach you about a character rather than long exposition, so you get the same feeling of only knowing those characters as much as Hope herself does. One things that stands out, however, is the consistency of the gods themselves. Without spoiling too much:

[Gif: Hunger Games: Greed]

Final Verdict: I love this one. It was quick paced, well structured, and had interesting points and surprises you weren't fully expecting. I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series, which is coming out Fall 2018. Hoping to see this one get picked up more mainstream.
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I only made it through about 7 and a half chapters of this before I gave up. The writing style itself wasn't good, and nothing (at least by that point) was subtle or nuanced. One guy doesn't care about the hot nearly-nude ladies? Bet he's gay . . . and he is! And although I didn't read to the end, I'm willing to bet the scene in the first chapter where Hope is on the swim team and sets a new school record means that she's a descendant of Poseidon. In addition, there is a major issue with "show don't tell"; instead of just showing things, everything is spelled out for the reader.

Perhaps the most annoying thing--for me--though, is the representation of the gods. Some things I can grudgingly accept because they're mostly just taking from less popular versions (such as Apollo being the Greek sun god, or Aphrodite being Zeus' daughter), but the depiction of Hades as the evil, universally-hated "Death God" was too much. For one, he is the god of the dead, but not the god of DEATH. He rules the underworld, but Thanatos and the Keres were responsible for death. In addition, Hades had rule over everything underground, including the precious metals and gems--meaning that he was also the god of wealth. He was usually depicted as dark and somber, but he wasn't "the evil god of death" portrayed in this book.

In short, if you gave this book to like, a younger teen who's kind of interested in mythology, they might like it, but I don't recommend it for most people, especially anyone really into Greek mythology.
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I really, really liked this book.  Hope is a wonderful character. She is courageous, strong, loving, caring and much more. She never wanted to be part of the challenge on Mount Olympus. She was just trying to save someone. I love that she cares so much for her mother that she tries to and actually does defy the gods to try to go home.

The attraction between her and one of the gods was fun for me. I hated what all the challengers went through, but the author did it in such a great way. You will cheer them on as you read and cry for them. The alliances were intriguing. There were some characters I just didn't like and I can't wait to see what the author does next.

It was a 5/5 for me. I cannot wait until the next book is out!

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.
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Si ma première impression a été un manque de profondeur dans ce roman, je l’ai vite oublié tellement l’intrigue est prenante et l’univers bien construit. Les personnages deviennent de plus en plus attachants au fil des pages.

L’histoire ne traîne pas pour commencer, et c’est toujours une chose que j’apprécie. Peut-être aurais-je aimé que le début s’attarde un peu justement sur le monde réel, la base de l’histoire. J’ai d’abord été un peu perdue avec la multitude de personnage (les challengers, pas les dieux) mais, en suivant le point de vue de Hope, c’est quelque chose de tout à fait cohérent. Cela s’améliore au fur et à mesure que l’on se familiarise avec le roman.

J’adore les livres comprenant des épreuves, et l’enjeu de celles-ci était intéressant. Surtout, j’ai aimé l’ampleur prise par l’intrigue et qui s’étend à la saga : les tensions que l’on découvre, les révélations faites, les relations entre les dieux et les héros, etc. De nouvelles intrigues se dévoilent et il y a de quoi approfondir par la suite.

La part de mythologie est très bien amenée, destinée à tous. Pour les néophytes, les mythes sont réexpliqués, les divinités présentées ; avec des connaissances préalables, on s’aperçoit que les attributs de chacun sont bien respectés. J’ai beaucoup aimé cette fidélité, alors même que l’univers en général du Mont Olympe apporte une originalité : l’auteur a complètement inventé son monde et sa construction pyramidale, la disposition des résidences des dieux, les lieux de manière générale. Les descriptions sont suffisantes pour pouvoir se représenter les paysages, sans jamais être trop lourdes.

Cela tient au fait que le roman est destiné à un public assez jeune, je pense, ce pour quoi je n’ai pas autant adoré ce livre que je le pensais : certains éléments sont trop expéditifs pour moi (notamment les épreuves et les passages de l’une à l’autre). Le style d’écriture est également assez simple (narration au présent et à la première personne) ce qui, même en anglais, rend le livre très abordable pour des débutants.

La superficialité est aussi perceptible dans les personnages et les relations entre eux. Au final, je n’ai pas eu l’impression d’avoir retenu grand chose d’eux. Hope, personnage narrateur, est assez complète : on suit ses émotions, on les comprend et ses réactions sont crédibles : ses premiers moments de révolte avant l’acceptation sont cohérents, ce que l’on ne retrouve pas toujours dans des histoires similaires. Hope tend à s’affadir un peu par la suite, mais elle devient attachante par ses relations avec Kieron, Gabriel, Amy et Bellérophon –même si le favoritisme dont elle fait assez souvent preuve m’a plutôt agacée. Kieron est le personnage qui m’a le plus intriguée avec la Pythie : jusqu’à la fin, il est plein de surprises, ce qui est sûrement dû au fait qu’il est la seule (enfin, je crois) divinité n’appartenant pas réellement à la mythologie grecque. Quant à la Pythie, elle est mystérieuse par nature, mais elle semble avoir encore beaucoup à révéler. Les autres personnages ont manqué de profondeur pour réellement me séduire.

En somme, j’ai beaucoup aimé cette lecture, qui devient de plus en plus addictive au fil des pages. Je suis ravie d’avoir pu découvrir cet univers grâce à NetGalley et Astrid Arditi que je remercie encore. La suite, bien que semblant totalement différente, promet une belle quête !
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Hope, she is not just a person but she is the epitome of her name. She and dozens of seventeen year olds are invited to Mount Olympus. Whoever wins will receive one wish. Hope's only wish is to heal/save her mother. After Hope arrives to Olympus she and the other challengers are thrust into impediments over and over again. Will she overcome these obstacles and challenges that the God's keep throwing at them? Through the obstacles she finds new friends and a love she was not expecting. Can she choose love and her mother? Can she save her friends as well? 
I really enjoyed this book and I think the author did a great job portraying Greek Mythology. 
**I was given this book as an ARC from #Netgalley for my honest review** #WTBReviews
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