Hades is retiring and he’s looking for a successor: A book review on Underworld by Mathieu Burniat

Hades, God of the Underworld, is seeking a successor. The prize? His fabled horn of plenty, source of boundless wealth. But to winnow down the applicant pool, Hades has devised a series of challenges as deadly to hopefuls as they are enlightening to readers, taking us all on a tour of the soil: its uses and abuses, riches and resources. Beneath our feet lies a world teeming with life, whose fate is intimately tied with our own.

In this fantasy adventure, Mathieu Burniat deftly blends pop science and mythology to educate and enthrall on a topic vital to our troubled times.

Review

Have you ever wondered how the application process would be like if you applied for the post of God of the Underworld? Underworld is a combination of Squid Game, National Geographic, and Cat in the Hat. It combines the gritty and gruesome themes of a survival game with humor. It is also highly educational as readers are given an educational session where you can learn about the soil and how human actions can affect the environment. The book ends with a call to action on what we can do to save the environment.

I particularly liked that the writer gave us a unique perspective of the Underworld. Whenever you mention the realm of Hades, the first thing that pops into my mind are the dead, Charon, and Cerberus. I imagine a dreary, bleak world in gray where souls are either tortured to atone for their sins while they were still alive or rewarded for their goodness by being led to the Elysian fields. However, the comic provides it a fresh perspective of the underworld that is plausible by making the applicants go through the many layers of soil during the game.

The writer tries to make science interesting by marrying facts with fiction into the story. Yet despite its unique approach, I wasn’t a fan. Because the overall theme of the comic is survival, I found myself skipping the panels that held the educational portions because I was more interested in learning how the characters would fare in the game. Additionally, perhaps all that information was just too much for me to grasp because there were times when I felt that I was experiencing information overload. There were also sections in the comic when I found the humor inappropriate. For example, there were panels where the host of the game was trying to be funny while many of the players were being eliminated in the most gruesome ways imaginable and I was confused whether I should be amused or not. Another factor that I disliked was that I found the font hard to read and I had to zoom it for it to be legible.

Overall, Underworld is a comic that gives readers a unique take on the realm that is ruled by Hades. However, though the book is unique, it is not something that I would read again. I may not have enjoyed it as much but I feel that it is best suited for individuals who want to combine leisure with learning and for those who are interested in mythology.


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and I confirm that this is an honest review that I am writing voluntarily.

Synopsis from Goodreads.com

*Sorry for missing a review last week, I was sick 😷 and work also got in the way…month-end can be hectic 😅*

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