Kai’s family is fractured. So is he. With his parents’ separation all his high achievements mean nothing. He sinks into a world of despair. Drugs and every other kind of abuse possible is called on to try and block out what once was. It is on a bad day that he steals the car. The worst part is that his autistic brother Rod is with him when it crashes.
The story is about what happens to Kai’s soul after the crash and what he needs to do to redeem himself, to allow it to rest in peace. His quest through the underworld to find Rod is filled with guilt, determination, pain and discovery. He meets another lost soul, whom he names Bilby-G. An anorexic, she too, is on the same journey through guilt, and together they slowly come to terms with what it is they’re facing.
Alexander uses her knowledge of Greek myths and characters with great skill to incorporate allusions to accent her main characters’ challenges and struggles.
This outstanding verse novel could be seen as Goldie Alexander’s best piece of work yet. Even the positioning of the text upon the page is done with careful consideration. This device contributes tremendously to the overall effect on the reader’s impression of what is being shown. The fine-line, black and white illustrations by Aaron Pocock perfectly complement the text.
Themes that flow through the work are those of self-discovery, family, trust, love, and forgiveness: of others and their human weaknesses, but mostly of oneself.
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis
Title: In Hades
Author: Goldie Alexander
Illustrator: Aaron Pocock
Publisher: Celapene Press
Publication Date: November 2014 $14.95 RRP
TYPE: Fantasy adventure