Who Let the Gods Out by Maz Evans

I picked up this little treat when it was the Waterstones Book of the Month for Children. I was got by those wonderful words ‘half price.’ The book had caught my eye every visit, as it is has the most fabulous orange-edged pages with a lighting bolt in white, and there is something very cool about the sophisticated cartoon style of the characters on the cover. Once you open the book, the little Pegasus that runs along the bottom of the page to form a little flip book illustration is good fun.

The story is a great little adventure with a colourful collection of characters inspired by the gods and beliefs of Ancient Greece. They may not be as you expect, though: Zeus the ladies man with a penchant for crazy shirts, and Aphrodite and her dating agency are just two of the larger-than-life figures that help Elliot keep his family home from the grasp of the local ‘lady of the manor’ figure.

The themes of the book are certainly adventure and friendship, and it makes you realise that sometimes both of these can exist in the most unlikely of places – and you have to put your faith in the most unusualĀ people. You can certainly warm to the characters and hope for good to rule in the end.

The conclusion of the story has been left open for the adventure to continue, and it would be interesting to see what happens next.

 

Julius Caesar (or #TeamCaesar)

Thanks to the social media world, the excitement levels for seeing Julius Caesar were a little off the scale. Even as you walk towards the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, you begin to feel the excitement and anticipation rise up in you.

The setting of this production is Ancient Rome and, as always, the set is simple but perfect. There is certainly the vibe of two teams going to war, as even the colours chosen as cloaks for the characters are blue and white. The lighting is also similar to that you would find at a sports stadium.

However, I am ahead of myself. You are drawn into the bright, bustling city of Rome from the moment the actors appear on the stage. Of course, there is a moment where the Ides of March is mentioned but that does not end the celebrations for those involved…

The production gives a lot of weight to the manipulation of Brutus by Cassius. Although, Caesar lets power and success go to his head, you feel that Brutus is far too easily influenced into extreme actions. Mark Antony avenges Caesar with great skill and therefore I left the production on #TeamCaesar (he did have an impressive team of groupies).

As always at the RSC, the production is beautifully acted by the strong ensemble. It reminded me of the ensemble of 2009. Caesar showed domination, Cassius showed manipulation, Brutus showed too much trust and Mark Antony showed loyalty. The set was a piece of artwork (in both halves) and the musical production brought the whole piece together.

If all the Rome Season 2017 is as slick and inspired as this play, it will be a hard season to beat.

Do you fancy trying to catch Caesar and picking your team?

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

Book 4 of a #ayearinbooks2017

The best thing about picking up a book by Cecelia Ahern is that it is like stepping into a fairy tale for adults. There is always a collection of colourful characters and a few subplots that intertwine seamlessly into the main story.

Laura ‘Lyrebird’ is a lovely character to follow on her journey of self-discovery. The story takes her from her the quiet Irish countryside to the lively city lifestyle of Dublin, and her talent for mimicry throws her into the difficult celebrity spotlight. It is quite a roller coaster, but along the way she influences the lives of the many that she meets and they too end up on a road of self-discovery…

It is a heartwarming tale and a perfect piece of escapism on these winter evenings of early 2017.

Now, what to read next?