Moonbeam High Res

I absolutely loved this book Labors of an Epic Punk and wish I had read a book like this when I was a teen…would have made learning about Greek myth a lot more fun! While I’m sure this book will draw comparisons to the giants of “Harry” and “Percy” – and understandably so, to me, those feel geared toward younger readers (starting in Jr. High) but this one skews a bit older – more for the high school crowd, and it also feels more focused on a smaller singular plot as opposed to a canon of work. And it’s pretty long for a MG/YA book as well, but totally worth every page! Writing a book such as this for a teen audience is a tough task – it’s difficult to really sound genuine and have the narration ring authentic, versus having it sound like ‘an adult trying to sound like a kid’. However, in “Labors of an Epic Punk,” the authors Mark and Sheri Dursin succeeded in doing just that – convincing us of the authenticity of our young heroes and even giving different feels to each as the different perspectives allowed. From the beginning I enjoyed the fun and engaging ‘voice’ of the authors (can’t believe there are two here as it feels as smooth and cohesive as one single voice) and can definitely see teens and even adults enjoying this creative and thrilling adventure rooted in the classic Greek myth of the Post-Trojan war era – when Odysseus is off on his “Odyssey” and his son and wife are home dealing with some serious drama of their own. A good, clean, action-filled and imaginative novel that casts a fun light on some legendary characters. Recommend. (5 stars) Gillian Hancock – Indie Book Reviewers

What a delightful read! I admit I’m always a tad wary when reading books intended for a younger audience as there are few that really crossover well for all ages to enjoy. But when it works, it works very well such as with Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Hunger Games, and even Dark Materials to an extent. Books about the transformations of youth done in a creative and inventive way that speaks to many truths of life that readers of all ages can fully appreciate. I do stop shy of placing this novel, Labors of an Epic Punk, among those ranks of those listed above…but honestly, not by too much. The writing was tight and vivid, the plot focused and the pacing fantastic. I truly didn’t want to put it down and felt like I was really in Mac’s shoes and experiencing the story as if I were a part of it instead of just merely watching as an observer. The setting and world-building was so true to the spirit of the Greek myths, and the characters are inspired – I know Mac is the lead, but for me Homer is the one who stole the show. My only complaint is that it appears to be a standalone book (not a part of a series) and so I am disappointed there won’t be any more. But the authors are very talented and work so well together as a writing team, and I’d happily read whatever they come up with next. (5 stars). John Goldman – Indie Book Reviewers

I read Labors of an Epic Punk in less than a week which is very fast for me because I have zero free time for reading lately, and this is a pretty long book! But it was that good, and I found myself just reading a lot longer than I planned to each time. Never a good place to just ‘stop.’ Right away we are pulled into the action that sets the tone for this charming, funny, and adventurous tale and meet Mac who is the son of the legendary Odysseus, who still hasn’t returned home from the Trojan War. Mac and his awesome cohorts Andie, Calliope, and of course Homer (yes, the famous poet) overcome some pretty daunting ‘trials’ and challenges of their own – including (but not limited to) facing a Minotaur. So fun! I really enjoyed the authors’ narrative ‘voices’ and it has a sassy quality to it that teens will appreciate. Definitely not dry or stuffy or boring. I could definitely see this being made into a movie…I felt like I was watching one as I read and became invested in Mac’s and the others’ fates. I really liked the ending and there was a good sense of resolution. But would like to see more! Recommend for upper MG/YA fans of fantasy, action and adventure. (5 stars). Sherrie Warner – Indie Book Reviewers

Wonderful! I loved this book, Labors of an Epic Punk. I’m a big fan of this genre and have read many books in it, and this one ranks up there with some of the best I’ve read. While some parts felt a little familiar, even predictable (a problem you face when doing ‘retellings’ or being inspired by already known stories), husband and wife writing team Mark and Sheri Dursin deliver a fresh story with a unique take on well-known Greek mythology and do it in a way that includes the lives of teens and their own issues. And even though this is an era that has been covered extensively by writers throughout history, it’s pretty impressive to read a tale done in a way where you don’t feel like you’ve read it a million times before. It’s ALL been done, it seems! So, I did appreciate the imaginative world-building and character development the Dursins implemented in this novel, and the continuous action that kept us from being bored even for a minute. The story is intelligent, rooted in classic mythology, and just plain fun. This one of those rare books that is aimed at a younger audience, but me, a woman in her thirties, really enjoyed it as well. Recommend for those who enjoy a fun, clean fantasy adventure with good writing and unexpected humor and learn more about the Classic Greek myths and some prominent figures in a unique, entertaining way. (4-5 stars).  Nichole Hastings – Indie Book Reviewers

Labors of an Epic Punk by Mark and Sheri Dursin was such an unexpected surprise! At first I wasn’t really sure what to expect, being an older woman reading a children’s book. However, like “Percy Jackson” and “Harry Potter”, these boys’ (and girls’) appeal knows no age limit. I thoroughly enjoyed the witty banter, the friendships, and the challenges that kept springing up and keeping me glued to the pages. There is never a boring moment, although at times it did seem to maybe stretch out a bit longer than necessary. While I was still really interested, I could see maybe younger ones with shorter attention spans being challenged to stay focused. But then it would pick right back up again and away we went! A highly entertaining and very well written adventure that incorporates Greek Mythology in a relatable, fun and modern way. Appropriate for ages 14 and up. (4 stars). Laura Clarke – Indie Book Reviewers

Sometimes you start a book thinking you know what to expect but then up being totally thrown for a loop. That’s how this book, Labors of an Epic Punk, was for me. I’ll be honest—I expected it to be an “ok read’ or another “Percy Jackson” wannabe, and I didn’t have the highest expectations. I was completely surprised how totally enraptured I was right from the beginning! And also how it does have its own distinctive feel that yes, we see other influences, but it still feels like its own unique universe and story-world, with its own personality – despite the ‘familiarity’ of several characters and their situations. There is enough ‘newness’ and action here to make it stand on its own, and Mac (short for Telemachus) is a great hero for us to root for. He isn’t perfect or invincible, but flawed and relatable, and his supporting cast of friends are terrific. The writing just sucks you in, but the unique and interesting characters (love Homer) and the action-packed circumstances that befall the crew just keep you hooked right until the end! Be warned, this is not some quick short children’s book – it has teeth and is definitely on the longer side. But that’s what makes it really engaging, in my opinion. At times I felt it could be pared down some, but it didn’t reduce my enjoyment any. (4-5 stars).  Stacy Decker – Indie Book Reviewers

This engaging page-turner is crafted with heart, humor and insight. Clearly, the authors know a great deal about the inner workings of young people, and they also know how to blend that knowledge into the flow of an adventure tale without slowing its pace. The characters are individuals, not merely the stock types often presented in young adult literature, individuals capable of significant change and growth during the course of their story. As a result, it’s easy for the reader to root for them and share in their moments of triumph. While the novel rewards those familiar with Greek mythology, such familiarity is not necessary to a reader’s enjoyment. The Dursins employ several clever narrative strategies to provide the uninitiated with the background they need in order to follow the action. And even though the setting is Ancient Greece, six years after the end of the Trojan War, the authors have created an environment which allows teenage readers today to see their own emotions, thoughts and concerns mirrored in the novel’s central characters. As a high school English teacher for several decades, I’ve scoured more than my share of young adult novels with an eye toward possible use in the classroom. Very, very few have come close to matching this book for its teen reader appeal and potential connections to a given curriculum. And on a selfish note, very, very few have provided me with such a pleasurable and rewarding reading experience. (5 stars) Steve Foley – Author of A Place at the Table

Move over Percy Jackson and co. There’s a new Greek kid in town. Mac’s the name (short for Telemachus), and while he may not be the child of a god, he’s the son of a hero, which is just as tough. When I switched my college freshman seminar from something vaguely societal-sounding and “easy” to Homer’s Epics, my counsellor looked at me like I was nuts. “Why?” she asked. My response: “Because I love Greek myth.” In short, I also loved this book. Mac’s transformation is fantastic. His entire character makes sense, and his relationship with his mom is the most beautiful parent-child relationship I’ve read in a long time. As the book’s description says, this is a school story that just happened to take place 3000 years ago. It’s ancient but modern, serious but funny. It’s everything I remember about every “I’m not good enough” teenage feeling I ever had, times a thousand. Mac’s under the ultimate pressure. It’s bad enough living up to normal standards. He has to live up to a great war hero’s image. It’s huge, and yet, while it was times a thousand, it was all just so normal. I could relate to Mac’s situation as clearly as if it were happening today. I love Mac’s friends, too. Homer (yes, that Homer) is the friend who wants Mac to succeed but also to live vicariously through Mac’s heroism. Outgoing Theo and caring drama student Calliope are twins but so distinct as characters. Their sibling relationship comes off so well, too. And Andie. Oh, Andie. She has a special place in my heart. She has just as many emotional struggles as Mac, and I loved how their situations kind of mirrored each other. I loved watching their relationship blossom and grow into something truly spectacular. The narration flows great. The dialogue is fresh and snappy. There’s plenty of action that’s set off by slower scenes of Mac and his crew learning to be a group of friends. I saw myself in some of these characters and was able to identify with them easily. To sum up, I could probably think of something to criticize, but I’d have to really sit here and think—maybe read the book again and search for missing commas or something. This is the high school story about Odysseus’s son I never knew I wanted. The end ties everything up, which makes me a bit sad. I want a sequel so badly. (5 stars) Mary DeSantis – Kit ‘N Kabookle