Olympian Challenger

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

About the Book: A hero’s tournament. A defiant contender. Does one girl have the courage to take on Mount Olympus?
Hope’s world doesn’t have room for heroes. She barely has time for schoolwork, swim team, and taking care of her ailing mother. But when she’s invited to a mysterious tournament, the all-powerful hosts won’t take no for an answer.
Transported to Mount Olympus, Hope comes face to face with her new trainers – the pantheon of Greek gods. While other contenders train hard to gain a fighting edge, Hope searches for a way out. Instead, she finds a gorgeous shadow god who may just convince her to stay…
As each round unfolds, the ultimate prize draws closer – the granting of her heart’s deepest desire. If she survives the final challenge, her mother’s cure would be within reach… but only if Hope can ignore the tournament’s dark purpose.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

# of Pages: 350

Genre(s): Fantasy, Young Adult

Age Range: 14+ (Some violence, not much detail though)

Favorite Quote(s)
“Mortal values such as love, respect and generosity are a hero’s most precious weapon.”

“Forget about the fall and focus on the ride. When you believe in yourself, you can do anything.”

“If I ever needed to pick a place to hide, I would seek refuge inside a book.”

“We as humans are the sum of our love, our fears, and our memories.”


Okay, I know that’s a lot of favorite quotes, but I honestly couldn’t pick just one. This book was so good, guys! I had pretty high hopes for this one since it’s Greek mythology in the modern world (and if you didn’t already know, I’m a huge Percy Jackson fan) and this book definitely did not disappoint! I would honestly love for this book to become a movie or tv show. It’s written in a way that I actually felt like I was watching it instead of just reading it and I love when that happens!

I really liked how they addressed dementia in this book. My grandmother has Alzheimer’s and I’ve never found a book that addressed anything like this before. As someone who knows what it’s like to have to watch someone they’re close to go through something like this, I believe the effect that it has on the people themselves as well as their loved ones was very well portrayed.

It was a lot of fun kind of comparing how a book that I love describes and portrays the Greek myths with how this one does, and even though there were differences, I enjoyed this portrayal just as much as any others that I’ve read! One of the things that I really liked about this book was that the author made sure to use the name Heracles instead of Hercules. Even though he’s almost always known as Hercules, that’s actually his Roman name and Heracles was first, which I think is a really interesting little fact. (Yes, I’m a major mythology nerd. 😂) I also feel like if I were ever in the challengers’ position, I would at least have an advantage in the knowledge part of it and wouldn’t have to do much research… Fighting on the other hand… I can shoot a bow? I can hit a target at least? 😂 (Also, speaking of bows, can I have Hope’s, please? It sounds gorgeous! 😍)

I absolutely love when characters have a love for books! Ariadne was great in this book because of that, and I loved Hope’s reaction to the library when she sees it for the first time! Honestly, that would be my exact thought process if that had been me. 😂

Honestly, there wasn’t much about this book that I didn’t like… Though, if Heath counts, I feel like he was the Cato (as in Hunger Games) of the competition… An absolute jerk until the very end of his story. He was still a great character with an important role in the story, though!

One thing that I will say I had a hard time getting into was the romance… I really like both of the characters, but I had a hard time with the idea of them being together. Yes, they’re sweet, but I don’t think I would have minded whether they ended up together or not. I would have felt sorry for Hope, but I wouldn’t have been heartbroken myself if their story had gone differently. This book actually could have gone without romance between this couple entirely and I think it would have been just as amazing! I loved the friendships that were made in this book so much! Hope’s relationship with each of the heroes as well as with Amy and Gabriel were great and I love the support (and teasing) that went on between them all! Also, I absolutely love the Pythia. 😂 She’s a sassy little old lady and I love it so much. 😂

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I can’t wait for the next one to come out! If you enjoy mythology or just fantasy in general, I highly recommend checking this one out!
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I had high hopes for this book and I still give it a solid 3 stars, but as far as it going into greek mythology and that kind of fantasy world aspect, it was not what I was expecting. It was more of an adventure quest novel than developing this fantasy world with the Greek mythology. There was a romance added to the mix which happened quickly and severely that it threw me off a bit. I do love a good romance, but again there was little substance to it. Depending on where the next in series takes this quest there is outlines of good lgbtq representation, but needs to be explored a bit more and handled carefully. Overall it was an enjoyable read just not exactly what I was expecting from the synopsis.
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I can't wait to see this series develop. There are many comparisons to Hunger Games, and I would agree, to an extent. It certainly wasn't as dark or ruthlessly cutthroat, but full of intrigue. Mythological deities were fleshed out and enthralling. I did feel that the romance element was appropriately teased out and developed gradually, until the end of the book where it suddenly fell into hard and fast territory. However, the friendships, alliances and assembly of ancestral powers made this interesting and binge-worthy. This is fitting for fans of fantasy and Greek mythology.
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Such a fun book! This did remind me of The Hunger Games though.  I really loved reading Greek mythology as a child and this story takes place on Mount Olympus.  Teens in New York City receive mysterious invitations.  Some become able to read the writing on the invitation while others cannot see it at all.  Those who can read it are forbidden to disclose what the invitation says.  Hope Diaz is one of the few who are transported to Mount Olympus and involved in a challenge of quests for a hero put on by the Greek Gods themselves - the myths are real!  A fun adventure as you follow the teens' quests for a winner.

Thanks to Astrid Arditia through Netgalley for an advance copy.  I really enjoyed it and look forward to the next book in this trilogy.
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I am giving this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars. I went into the book not really knowing much about it to be honest. I didn't realize it had anything to do with the Greek Gods. So that was a pleasant surprise. I really loved all the different characters in this book. The relationship in this book wasn't bad. It wasn't instalove which was good. It was expected that the main character would fall in love with a God though to be honest. Just like the winner of the challenge was kinda expected as well. All in all this was a good read but nothing super special about it. I am going to give the 2nd book in the series a try and see if that one is better though.
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Do you love to dive into Greek mythology? Do you love all the scheming and betrayals and godly fights? Then be prepared to meet your next favourite book!

“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.”

Okay, what does this letter want to tell me? Where should I be at midnight? Our main character Hope does not know what to think about this strange invitation which shows up with no sender address. After all, she doesn’t have time for things like that. She has to keep her grades up and need to also take care of her mother who suffers from mental illness. There is no time for anything else.

But when Hope is trying to save a guy from drowning, she finds herself on Mount Olympus among the Gods and other kids her age and they all received the same invitation to compete in a challenge to be the next hero of the Olympian Gods.

Why have been they selected? Because they are all descendants from Greek Gods. In Hope’s case, she is descended from Asclepius, the God of Medicine.

Hope is not interested in being anyone’s hero. All she wants is to get back to earth and be with her mother. Unfortunately the only way out is to drink from the river Lethe, which means to forget everything and who you are.

"Memories are what make people who they are."

Hope decides to stay and to win, because the winner will be granted one wish by the Gods. But to be able to have a chance to win, she needs as Godly sponsor, which does not look to be an easy task for her.

"Your humanity – that is your greatest beauty."

If it would not be for Kieron, Son of Hades, who sees more in her as she does herself. Of course, he only chooses her to make a bet against his father. But quickly it turns out that he really thinks that Hope can be the hero he is waiting for, for so long.

"The world needs you more than I do."

After some time, the God of Shadows, who can use the shadows to whisper and travel through them, wins over Hope’s trust and maybe even her heart. But is it selfish of her to fall in love instead of thinking of healing her mother?

The first book in the Olympian Challenger series by Astrid Arditi takes you directly to Mount Olympus and brings Greek mythology closer to a younger audience. The book is very well written and gives you everything you can wish for. You not only get to love the characters, but you also get a little history lesson on how the Gods work. The sudden romantic interest could be a little frustrating because it seems to happen from one page to another. However, it is still a very nice read to dive into and be taken away from your day-to-day routine. And the best thing is, Hope and her adventures will return!
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I'm a huge fan of mythology, especially Greek myths. This was a different take on it and a very interesting one at that. I'm curious to see where the rest of the series takes Hope.
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4.5 stars. Percy Jackson meets The Hunger Games. Strong female protagonist/reluctant hero. Lots of action. Sets up for a sequel out later this fall. I was pleasantly surprised by how this hooked and kept my attention. When I set it down, I was always eager to get back to it as soon as possible. Highly recommend.
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A book written by Ms. Arditi brought something fresh to Greek mythology and trials topic, something that gave me a read that I was captivated by!
Hope is a type of girl that should be put more often in the YA books (or maybe not - so we would cherish that kind of characters like Hope a little less). The plot was intriguing, heck... it kept me captive till the end! BOOK 2 WILL have such big expectations from me, and I hope so much it will be meet.
If you like mythology, great heroine, intriguing ideas, and TRIALS!
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This was so amazing, brilliant, fantastic. If you like Greek gods and a heroine fighting for what she believes in this is a book you HAVE to read. It was impossible to put down and if I hadn’t have to sleep I would have read it in one sitting. I liked Hope, even if she can be a little too good sometimes. She loves her mom and would do anything to save her and when she learns that the Gods will grant her one wish, when winning the tournament, she knows she has to give it her best - for her mom. The Gods.... Well, not really likeable. It was more like I hated them a little more with every chapter I read. And the grand prize in being hated, takes Hades. Unsurprisingly, he is the one I wanted to kill myself. Or maybe trap him in the hell he creates for the bad guys to repent for their sins. The only ray of hope between the gods and divinities is Kieron, son of Hades and Persephone. I can see, why Hope would be attracted to him, it’s hard not to swoon. So, there is a lot of heartache, death and emotions going on and I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun in revealing more. But I urge everyone, READ THIS BOOK! Now I have to wait for the next one and it’s going to be really hard.
I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thanks to NetGalley and Astrid Arditi!
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As a fan of Greek mythology, I was drawn to Olympian Challenger (along with it's pretty cover art) by Astrid Arditi.  The book launches almost straight in with Hope, and every other seventeen-year old in New York, being invited to a mysterious challenge.  The challenge turns out to be a Hunger Games-style competition to see who will become the next Hero to fight on behalf of the gods.  One could enjoy this book for the retelling of many classic Greek myths, but there were also many flaws.

What I Liked:
Greek Mythology:

I enjoyed how the author wove various Greek myths into the story.  Each challenge is centered around a particular Greek myth. This gives the characters an opportunity to learn about each Greek story, and find a way to win the challenge.

What I Didn't Like:
"Missing Parent" Syndrome:

If you have read some of my other reviews, one of my most hated tropes is the "missing parent".  This book takes that trope to the extreme by making ALL the teen characters without at least one parent!  The book's explanation is that having the blood of Greek Gods makes people go insane.  I thought this was exploiting a painful situation for a teen to make it seem like some kind of badge of honor.  It's not.


Hope is instantly drawn to a "bad boy" minor god, the son of (who else) Hades.  He "used to be bad", but he's changed and is now a great guy.  But he is haunted by his past.  This was such a cliche!

Lack of Originality:

Much of the book reminded me of The Hunger Games.  There was the competition where, after   learning about weapons, the challengers had to showcase their talents in order to attract "sponsors".  The competition, itself, seemed to be happening mostly for the entertainment of the gods, and residents of Panem, oops, I mean Olympus.  And most of the competitors die in gruesome ways.

And, until the very end of the book, Hope and the other teens don't seem very concerned or upset that other kids are getting killed as entertainment.  I found that very disturbing.


Most of the characters were two-dimensional, each having just one distinguishing feature.  There was the angry foster kid, the handsome, but evil, jock, and the one gay character.  All were mostly stereotypes.
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I haven't come across a book that spotlighted the Greek gods since Percy Jackson came out, and considering that I'm a huge fan of mythologies, I found this tread really entertaining. I also love competition books with a hint of romance and a lot of danger. Hope is amusing, funny even in dire times, and I liked her friends and the thing she had with one of the other characters. The hopeless romantic in me wanted something a little deeper (or at least given more time to really sink into it) but this book isn't necessary a romance read, so I won't judge it too critically. Overall, it was a lot of fun. The bigger picture is pretty dark, which I loved, and though I didn't get her initial reluctance to be a part of this world, I still thought it was a good time. It's a recommended read if you love the Greek gods, competitions and heroes who learn that not everything is black and white.
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I was provided this book for free by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Olympian Challenger by Astrid Arditi is a Teen/YA novel and the first book in the series.
Wow! I loved this! Hope Diaz is a hardworking teenager who is juggling schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and caring for her sick mother.  One morning she receives a strange invitation in the mail with words appearing on it that only she can see and a challenge that should she accept and win would allow her one wish. Hope doesn’t quite know if she should believe this mysterious invite but is intrigued as this one wish could be the answer to curing her mother. Unintentionally, Hope passes the first challenge presented on the invite and gets whisked away to Mount Olympus where she discovers that Greek Gods and all the myths she’s heard of are in fact real and she is now a contestant, along with a bunch of other kids her age, in a competition put on by the Gods. Hope and the other teens must face terrible trials and challenges to reveal the one winner. Full of action, twists, toooons of mythology(Love it!), and a bit of romance, I enjoyed watching Hopes growth throughout the book and her budding friendships with fellow contestants. 
I would definitely recommend this book to my fellow lovers of YA and mythology and I can’t wait for the second book to come out!!
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DNF at chapter 5. 

Honestly? This book just didn't click with me. It felt as though it was trying to be something it wasn't. Someone else could love this book and be obsessed, it has the potential. I just didn't vibe with it and I'm not going to force myself to read something I don't like.

**I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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This book was a rather easy read. I finished it in less than 4 hours. The cover is what attracted me most, especially the title. I tend to get interested in stories that have a Greek/Roman mythology theme to it. The most interesting parts of the book were, of course, the Gods and heroes themselves and their stories as to how they all ended up where they are when the reader begins the journey of Hope Diaz. If one is familiar with Greek mythology, there should be plenty of familiarity with the actions and inactions of these Gods, demi-gods, and heroes, such as Heracles or Ariadne. 

Set in modern times, the divide between the Gods and humans have caused strife due to a barrier separating their worlds. Hope Diaz is just one of many random New Yorkers, all the age of 17, to be selected to compete for a single wish and to help get rid of the divide as the newest Olympian hero. The competitions the champions are chosen to do all relate to the Gods and heroes in some way. Hope Diaz, the main girl of the novel and unwilling contender, has a selfless love for all those she befriends and helps out throughout the story. This selflessness gets her into more trouble than it would normal people. She sacrifices much of herself for the sake of others, especially her closest friends, which is explained in detail in the novel, and it often causes more trouble for her than would be necessary should she have been more selfish. At times, however, it won her the attention of both allies and enemies alike. I found it rather hard to believe anyone could be that selfless for a stranger, even those that one must fight in the end, but it is fiction! 

The novel was rather decent (the Gods and heroes were the most interesting part to be honest) up until a little more than halfway when the romance started with Hope Diaz. I feel that the novel as a whole could have done quite well with just a platonic relationship for Hope. The romance seemed quite rushed and made Hope no longer seem as a 17 year old, but a 13 year old who is worried that the boy she likes won't like her and that she must do everything to win his heart and think about him at all times. I would have really liked a more build of their friendship to relationship. It would have transitioned more smoothly and could have been solidified in the next book of the series. 

Overall, the novel had concise language and grammar. The imagery was spot on; I could just imagine myself in the Gods' palaces and the forest where many of the trials took place, battling monsters or looking for answers. The only thing that I feel that the author could improve on is doing more to establish and have more interaction in the relationships between characters, platonic or romantic, in order to get the reader to feel a kinship of sorts with the characters themselves. I could not feel close to Hope nor any of her other friends or enemies, and I found that to be the greatest pity of my reading experience.
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What is it about?

Every high school senior in New York receives an invitation, but only a few can actually read the riddle written on it. Hope is one of these special people, and ends up dragged to Mount Olympus to compete in a tournament to become the next great Greek hero. 

Was it good?

I enjoyed the study of mythology in school, and was always fascinated by the stories. I've forgotten a lot of the information since then, so I was hoping this book would include some of the mythology behind the gods. I was disappointed that this book glossed over that goldmine of story telling. 

Also, I thought the characters seemed flat and their relationships were not believable. All the friendships and love seemed instant, and the love one did not speak to a healthy future relationship. 

Still, the book WAS interesting, and it was a quick and easy read. If you like competition, finding strength in love, Greek gods and monsters, then this might be the book for you.
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I love greek mythology that is why I requested the book.
I thought the plot was interesting and entertaining but unfortunately I didn't like any of the characters.
They all seemed flat and had no real personality. I also didn't like that Hades is portrayed as evil because that is not the case in the original mythology.
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i really liked this book. It was a great mix of urban and fantasy, and a nice touch of mythology. I really enjoyed the romance aspects, as well as the world building and strong series opener. The characters were strong and likeable, a solid read.
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”Your humanity- that is your greatest beauty.” 

Hope Diaz is living a busy and somewhat difficult life. She’s on the swim team at school, her father left, and her mother has Alzheimer’s. And then one day, she and a bunch of other students (in the US? All over the world?) receive mysterious letters to prove their bravery in order to be granted a wish. She accidentally meets the requirements and finds herself in Olympus competing in a competition in order to grant a wish, a wish that could save her mother’s life. 

Olympian Challenger had a decent set up to become a pretty good book. There was a competition, Greek mythology, a fictional (or not?) location, and an opportunity to make a point about humanity. But where it failed in becoming a great, or even a good book was with the characters and the writing. 

All of the characters were flat and not very well-rounded. The main character especially got on my nerves constantly saying how selfish she was when she LITERALLY did nothing wrong. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a character with no real flaws. But something that REALLY got to me was that one of the characters identified as LGBTQ+ and his main purpose in the book seemed to be proving how kind the main character was. Majority of the dialogue that came out of his mouth were insecure thoughts in front of the main character so she could then say “Why would you think like that? You’re PERFECT.” 8.) But did she ever mention her insecurities? No. 

Also, the writing felt very juvenile. From the way the sentences were worded, to the way the characters talked and sometimes acted. Everything felt very young. 

The quests/challenges were very interesting to read and creative. I think if there had been more challenges and less of the main character talking/thinking this would have been better. Although, there weren’t any real twists, which also kept it kind of dull. 

Do I recommend? 
This would maybe be suited better to a young young adult. Maybe someone 12-15 would enjoy this a lot more and find it cute.
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I received a copy of this for a fair and honest review. I had a few worries when I started reading this. I was not sure how it would turn out and them getting the news that they got was not what I thought would happen, but them being sponsored by Olympian Gods or Goddesses. There are a lot of trials and challenges that they have to go through. They are given a limited time to train and try to impression the gods to help them along the way. The winner and hero will be granted a wish. They are wishing for something they believe will make their lives better. I want to see what is going to happen next. I wish the Greek Mythology for the story would have been a little more in-depth. It was a good read over all.
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