Book Reviews

Book Review: Go The Distance by Jen Calonita

After Hercules proves he’s a true hero and regains his godship, all seems right in the world. That is, until Zeus tells Meg that she can’t be with Hercules because she’s, well, mortal. Luckily, Hera has a solution, offering Meg a chance to prove herself worthy of a spot on Mt. Olympus–as a god. All Meg has to do is complete a mysterious quest.

The mission? Oh, just to rescue her ex’s current wife from the Underworld. The ex-boyfriend she saved by selling her soul to Hades. The ex-boyfriend who immediately moved on to someone else while she was stuck in the Underworld. Can Meg put her past behind her and use her quick-wit to defeat monsters and gods alike, including the nefarious Hades? Will she finally figure out her place and contribution to the world? Or will her fear of commitment have her running away from an eternity of godhood with Herc?

Written by the author of Mirror, Mirror and Conceal, Don’t Feel, Jen Calonita’s latest twist is sure to delight and surprise.

Title: Go The Distance: A Twisted Tale
Author: Jen Calonita
Genre: Young Adult Retelling/Fantasy
Format: Digital ARC
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Date Published: April 6th, 2021
Rating: 3//5 Owls

This is my first time reading one of The Twisted Tales books, and I was so excited! I love retellings, I love fairy tales, and I love mythology, so this book was absolutely perfect for me!

One thing I realized pretty early on is that this book is marketed as YA, but it is definitely more lower YA/middle grade storytelling. I would say the ideal age range for this book is lower teens, which is totally fine, but just a little more juvenile of a book than I was expecting.

The story starts towards the end of the Disney movie version of Hercules, now I love that movie, its one of my favorite Disney movies, but it is so far removed from any semblances of mythology. The most obvious example? The happy, loving family man Zeus. (Not to mention that Hera is not his mother and if I remember correctly, Hercules actually murders Megara at one point. Go Mythology!)

One thing I loved about this book, it stayed in tune with the cutesy Disney-ness, but added a lit bit more of the original stories and character traits into it. Starting with, when the animated Hercules says that he wants to stay with Megara, and becomes a mortal (which not gonna lie, was my only issue with the film, what a shit ending), this time around Zeus says NO. This God stands up and says WE DID NOT DO ALL THIS WORK FOR YOU TO BE A HUMAN, BOY SIT YOUR GOD BUTT DOWN AND BE DONE WITH THIS MORTAL GIRL. (I’m paraphrasing here, but you get the idea). Which honestly, is how the movie should have ended in the first place, but I digress…

Than we have Hera step in with a quest for Megara – if she completes it, she will make her into a God as well, and then she can be with Hercules forever! Which I personally think is a poor decision, she only just got her soul back, has only known Hercules a few days, but you know, true love and all that nonsense.

Speaking of the true love of Megara and Hercules, it was really annoying that she constantly referred to him as “Wonderboy”. I get it – it was the nickname she gave him in the movie but it was CONSTANT and unnecessary. This book really loved its nicknames in general. Megara referred to Pegasus as “Peg”, Phil calls her “Red”. Does no one use full names around here?

Megara’s quest seems simple at first – she has to find Athena’s flute. From there the quest turns and Megara is forced to confront her past, her ex, Hades, and learns many painful truths along the way.

Without spoiling any of the details – I really loved Meg’s quest and how it dove into her past and the moments after she sold her soul. My biggest problem with Meg in this one was how STUBBORN SHE WAS. She took “strong independent female” to an unnatural degree and was determined to do everything alone, even if it put her and others in dangerous situations. It was annoying, and I kept waiting for her to learn from her most recent mistake, but it took her so much longer than I wanted her too.

Since this is a cutesy tale – Megara does eventually learn from her mistakes, heals her past wounds, brings together happiness and joy, and all those wonderful Disney feels.

There is also a subplot involving a different love story, when Megara and Hercules first arrive at the beginning of the story, there are whispers of how harvest season is starting soon, and Persephone is nowhere to be found. I’m not going to spoil it for anyone who doesn’t know, but if you do know the story of Persephone you can probably guess where she is. I loved the inclusion of this story and expanding the Disney world of Gods a little bit.

Overall, this was an adorable story. A little younger feel then I was originally anticipating, but it was cute for what it was. It’s a story about dealing with grief and pain, of learning from your mistakes, but most of all its a story about love and forgiveness.

*Thank You NetGalley for the advanced reader copy.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Go The Distance by Jen Calonita”

  1. I started reading the twisted tales books too and I totally agree about them being marketed wrongly toward ya. I think they are a bit younger too but still good fun. I am reading them in order so I won’t get to this one for a while but Hercules was one of my fave Disney films so I’m looking forward to it!


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