Olympian Challenger by Astrid Arditi

Olympian Challenger by Astrid Arditi
Olympian Challenger Book Cover Olympian Challenger
Olympian Challenger
Astrid Arditi
YA Fantasy
Astrid Arditi
July 3rd, 2018
Paperback; E-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.

Olympian Challenger is the first book in a bold YA urban fantasy trilogy. If you like Greek mythology, forbidden romance, and feats of courage, then you’ll love Astrid Arditi’s heroic coming-of-age tale.

Summary provided by Goodreads. 

Olympian Challenger:

Greek Mythology For The Win!

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I’m a huge Fantasy fan. I think that is obvious from content such as my review of The Hobbit or Fantasy-inspired crochet such as my free Caradhras Cowl pattern. But what many don’t know is that I also have a strong love for mythology. And Olympian Challenger uses one of my favorite types of mythology, Greek mythology, which meant I couldn’t not request it when I saw it on Netgalley.

And, you know what? It is really good! A solid 4. Greek mythology for the win!

The Worldbuilding of Olympian Challenger

Astrid Arditi sets up the world in a very clear way and paints a wonderful picture of everything. The gods, the setting, the monsters straight from Greek myth are all described in a way that I found brings them to life.

However, I do have one gripe. And it is not even one I think others will be bothered by, nor one that bothered me until it came time to write this review. My gripe is as follows: I can’t tell exactly what sort of YA Fantasy story it is setting-wise. Others may think it is Urban Fantasy and it is labeled that way, but it feels more like an extreme version of a Wainscot Fantasy story like Harry Potter to me.

Is it Wainscot Fantasy? Who knows. I think it will be revealed as more and more people read this book and grow to enjoy it.  Definitely, as more people weigh in on whether it is really Urban Fantasy or not.

The Plot of Olympian Challenger

I found the story to be well-paced. It starts to take off once the main character, Hope, makes it to Olympus. And I liked the time the reader get’s to spend in New York City. A lot.

But perhaps my favorite aspect of the plot was not the quests the Challengers go on. The training they receive. Or even the part where they’re first introduced to the Gods, though I absolutely love how atmospheric that part was. No, my favorite part was the unexpected romance.

I expected Hope, who I like as a character, to get together with another character than the one she ended up with. Heath, the character I expected her to be paired with, was a jerk and that is something which would’ve happened in another story. Instead, to my delight, I was treated to something somewhat like a slow burn romance featuring Hope and an entirely different character who I liked much better.  

The Characters of Olympian Challenger

What is there to really say about them? They’re awesome. I love them. Even the characters I hate like Heath are interesting to me.

Other than Hope and Hades’ son, my favorite character turned out to be Gabriel. Not only did he add some LGBT representation to things, but I liked the friendship that developed between Gabriel, another Challenger named Amy, and Hope. It was an interesting dynamic.

The Writing of Olympian Challenger

Loved, loved, LOVED IT! And I can’t really say more than that.

It was immersive despite a couple of bumpy spots. There were plenty of bits I thought very worthy of quoting. And I would not hesitate to read other stories by the same author because it had this indescribable quality, this voice, that appealed to me as a reader.

What I Didn’t Like

I mentioned a minor quibble earlier in the review, my inability to figure out exactly what type of Fantasy Olympian Challenger is. Well, I do have two more substantial complaints:

1) The story feels more like it stops than has a conclusive ending. This wouldn’t be an issue if I didn’t like it so much, but I did. And the abrupt end after the climax was a bit like if Tolkien had decided to end The Lord of The Rings simply with Frodo and Sam being saved by the Eagles. Fine but not really quite finished. It doesn’t detract from this as a whole but I do wish it didn’t do that

2) Olympian Challenger won’t be officially published, with all formats out, until July 3rd. However, the hard copy has been out on Amazon and Book Depository since February. It was probably a mistake, but it is a noticeable one and one that is pretty glaring as none of the e-book editions will be out until July.

But all in all, it is a great read. One I would gladly recommend people pick up once the e-book format finally releases. 

Looking for your next read? Olympian Challenge is a great addition to the canon of Young Adult novels.

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