Title of the work
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Kate O’Hearn, Pegasus and the New Olympians. Warwickshire: Hodder Children’s Books (a division of Hachette Children’s Books), 2012, 448 pp.
Action and adventure fiction
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel A. Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, email@example.com
Photo Courtesy of the author.
, b. 1950
O’Hearn is a children’s author. Born in Canada, she has lived in many places throughout the USA, with a special fondness for New York City, which she views as her home. The itinerant lifestyle with her family as a child, and the consequent experiences she accumulated, greatly influenced her imagination. These journeys and the stories she heard from her parents, contributed to her love of writing. O’Hearn writes that her books are the result of her love of fantasy and writing.
Official website (accessed: February 25, 2019)
Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
The story begins with an Olympian football match, suggested by the mortal Joel. During the game, when Joel is kissed by the mischievous Sphinx, Emily realizes she is jealous yet is reluctant to acknowledge her growing affection for Joel. Meanwhile Emily continues her struggle with her power. She discovers that besides the power of the flame, she might possess more mysterious powers which could make objects disappear. That is why she is afraid she might hurt her friends. Meanwhile her father acts as an advisor to Jupiter regarding the relations with Earth, and he believes that the Olympians should not go to visit Earth anymore, as Earth progressed too much.
In a New York Times issue he brings back form this visit to Earth, Emily finds that an almost identical horse to Pegasus (without wings) had won the Triple Crow, all three major horse-races. Emily and Joel suspect the secret government agency, CRU, somehow managed to clone Pegasus. Emily and her friends decide to take the risk of descending down to Earth to find the truth. They are afraid CRU might clone New Olympians as well from the DNA they extracted from Paelen and Diana when they were their prisoners.
Finally, Emily, Joel, Paelen and Alexis the Sphinx are sent to Earth to investigate before Jupiter suspects anything. They meet with Earl and the former CRU agent T (=Tom) who decide to help them. They discover that there are real look-alikes of the Olympians (Diana, Paelen) who are running loose on Earth, committing all kinds of crimes. When they find Tornado Warning, Pegasus’ clone, the two are driven to kill each other until Pegasus triumphs.
The group learns that the CRU’s main facility is at area 51 and they head that way to face the CRU and save the Earth before Jupiter finds out about the clones. Emily declares she will choose Earth over Olympus and Pegasus sides with her. Since the CRU is using clone Nirads as soldiers, Emily, Alexis and Pegasus return to the Nirad world to ask for their help while Paelen, Chrysaor, and Joel wait for them in Las Vegas where they meet Paelen’s clone. Ultimately Emily battles the CRU at area 51 when simultaneously Paelen alerts Jupiter to what was happening on Earth. Jupiter and his fellow Olympians then storm Vegas in their furious fight against the humans, during which Vegas is destroyed by the army in an attempt to stop the Olympians. Meanwhile Emily, Joel and the Nirads who were trapped at the CRU facility destroy it and save the clones. Jupiter agrees not to destroy Earth.
Even after learning to control the power of the flame inside her, Emily is still afraid of her powers. This is why she does not participate in the football match: we are told that “Emily wanted very much to play, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t because she couldn’t trust herself” (Kindle locations 130–131). Adding to her uncertainty, is Emily’s battle with teenage crush and jealousy. She is jealous of the Sphinx who is beautiful and trying to befriend Joel. Emily feels even more insecure when the Sphinx joins them to Earth. This is a coming-of-age story and jealousy and first love are all part of growing up. Emily will need to learn how to control her own emotions like she did with her fire power, yet it is more difficult to control love and jealousy. Interestingly, the Sphinx (which is described as similar to the Oedipus vase) is referred to as a gorgeous and quite seductive being, the mature woman, in contrast with the naïve Emily (although Emily is acting her age, which is only 13).
Furthermore, this installment reminds the reader of the previous one, in which handsome Cupid joined the team, and while Emily was thrilled Paelen was angry and jealousy. Now it is Emily’s turn to feel similar emotions. Her emotions are the trigger which set on her new powers; thus it is a very graphic visualization of Emily’s inner-struggle and growing up.
Emily’s father believes Earth is too dangerous for the Olympians, because even though they were treated as Gods in the past, nowadays Centaurs or Cyclops would not be warmly welcomed in the technological world. While it could simply be a manner of humans’ fear of strange creatures, there could also be a message here about memory and respect. Once the old myths were revered and known. Today, we have forgotten the myths and are frightened from the mysterious being that populated them. In the new modern and advanced world the mystery of the past was forgotten and became a cause for fear.
Emily and her friends are facing a dilemma; they need to find out what CRU is doing; but also to protect Earth. Pluto, who heard about the alleged cloning, is furious: “The development of such creatures from our blood must not be tolerated. If this is true and they have created New Olympians, we will have no recourse but to destroy Earth.” (loc. 362–364). This of course leads to an interesting clash between modern technology and the ancient mythical world (and nature). Previous reviews have already mentioned how the author emphasizes the importance of respecting nature and animals. Cloning is men’s most abrupt manipulation of the natural order. Now, the mythical world of Olympus (which is proven to be real in this series) is ready to charge Earth for these violations. It is almost a battle between myth and reality, when the modern world forgot about the old myths. Diana reaffirms this might happen: “Jupiter is capable of anything if it means protecting Olympus and the order of nature.” (loc. 368–369).
Emily is now facing a new, perhaps more difficult challenge: “Until now, everything Emily had done was to protect and defend Olympus … But now… she realized that she, the Flame of Olympus, may be forced to protect Earth from the Olympians.” (loc. 397–398).
Another reference to this inversion between myth and the real world occurs when Emily and her friends visit Earl and Agent T (who were involved in the action in the previous book). While agent T wonders if the myths are true and Olympus is real, the Sphinx asserts that it was the Olympians who studied men and not the other way around: “‘You were studying us?’ Agent T asked incredulously. ‘Of course,’ Alexis replied. ‘You were a savage people, always going to war. We found you fascinating. But you were contaminating us with your violent ways, so Jupiter stopped all visits to your world.’” (loc. 760–763).
While Emily resents Alexis at first, the Sphinx acts as a mother-figure when she learns Emily is struggling to control her new powers, “‘Emily, people are going to come and go into your life that you may not like and who may annoy or upset you. You must learn to tolerate them. It appears that extreme emotions trigger your powers.’” (loc. 1120–1121). This is of course a sound advice to every teenage reader, not just those blessed with super-powers. Emily’s powers are linked, after all, to her growing up, perhaps even puberty. In the end, Emily discovers she is not human anymore and she needs to get accustomed to this strange new situation and overcome it, like she did with all the other challenges she faced.
The review refers to the Kindle edition