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Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom

(Heroes in Training #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  979 ratings  ·  113 reviews
After pulling a magical thunderbolt from a stone, ten-year-old Zeus goes on the adventure of a lifetime in this thrilling start to a brand-new series!

The terrible Titans—merciless giants who enjoy snacking on humans—have dominated the earth and put the world into chaos. But their rule is about to be put to the test as a group of young Olympians discover their powers and pr
Paperback, 112 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Aladdin (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  979 ratings  ·  113 reviews

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This is energetic and entertaining. This is Greek mythology before the Olympians ascend to Olympus. Chronos is still king of the world and threatening the humans in the world. The Olympians are still in his stomach accept Zeus.

The interesting thing about this is it focuses on the part of the story that rarely gets talked about. Usually it's all about after Zeus has been crowned King of the Gods. So Zeus is 10. That is the good part. The not so good part is there really isn't much of the archet
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens, mythology
This is an different take on Greek mythology. It introduces a Zeus that doesn't know he's an Olympian. Through sheer accident and luck, he embarks on a quest. As he proceeds on his quest, he discovers some of the powers that he has. It's an OK story, but Zeus doesn't really move the plot, so he isn't really an interesting character.
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
4.5 stars

From the authors of the Goddess Girls series, comes a brand new series with whole new cast of characters, Heroes in Training. Though some of the characters have the same name of those who are in their Goddess Girls series, these characters are anything but the same. I really enjoyed the creative spin Joan and Suzanne have given this Zeus. It makes reading about his epic adventure appealing to a much younger audience and it's a great introduction to Greek mythology for young readers. Com
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-books
My son and I read and reviewed this book for Here's what we think:


What I liked and disliked about it:

I really liked the story because it was a good adventure. The Harpies were cool but also scary. At first I thought they would take Zeus somewhere bad, but they actually saved him. That was nice.

It was funny how Zeus had a pet thunderbolt that was stuck to his hand. I wish I had a pet thunderbolt. I would pet it like a kitty cat [insert Mom rolling h
Mar 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Flash! Boom! The storm raged all around him as he cowered behind a boulder. This cave was his home - the only one he'd ever known. And as far back as he can remember, thunderstorms had been a daily event here in Crete.
-Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom

Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi who can see the future, has witnessed a very important prophecy. While the world is now ruled by King Cronus and the other Titan giants, heroes known as Olympians will soon arise. They will fight against the evil T
Nicola Mansfield
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
A book for the younger age group, this is an exciting story that introduces kids to the world of Greek mythology. Set at the time when King Cronus, the Titan, has devoured the Olympians we start off with Zeus being an abandoned orphan now 10 years old. The book is pretty much all plot and action concentrating on Zeus and how he acquires his Thunderbolt. He meets up with half-giants, harpies and eventually the Titans themselves. Near the end of the book, fellow 10 year old Hera and Poseidon are i ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
In Heroes in Training, Oracle Pythia has prophesied that a "band of rightful rulers called Olympians will arise. Though their size and youth are no match for the Titans, they will be giant in heart, mind and spirit." One of the strengths and appeal of this book was the humor. Especially, when Zeus gets kidnapped by three half-giants and is wearing one of their helmets like a walking jail cell. Being shorter in length then Goddess Girls, I think this would make a great read for a reluctant reade ...more
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this for M.C.B.A and I definitely think that it is targeted towards younger kids. The plot had very little depth and I found myself questioning the story. I would've read this when I was 8 so I don't recommend it to anyone else in 6th grade.
May 09, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I live for YA...but this was too young for me. No depth of character, no drama...just a short little Percy-Jackson-Wannabe story. Meh.
Jenna Cantino
Zoe's Human
May 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
A simple retelling of the Chronos vs. the Olympians portion of Greek mythology. I wasn't terribly wowed by this as a grownup, but it seems like it has potential for reluctant readers who like adventure. Also I wasn't overly fond of a blue-eyed, blond Hera. She's Greek. It's certainly possible for Greek women to have blue eyes, but they're generally a dark-haired people.

Middle Grade Fantasy
Grades: 3-5
Ages: 8-10
Lexile Measure: 570L
DRA Level: 40
Themes: challenges & overcoming obstacles, courage/bra
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The titans were a little bit silly !
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is the best book ever also if you like this one you have to read the other ones
Poseidon and the Sea of Fury (Heroes in Training, #2) by Joan Holub
Hades and the Helm of Darkness (Heroes in Training, #3) by Joan Holub
Hyperion and the Great Balls of Fire (Heroes in Training, #4) by Joan Holub
Typhon and the Winds of Destruction (Heroes in Training, #5) by Joan Holub
Apollo and the Battle of the Birds (Heroes in Training, #6) by Joan Holub
Ares and the Spear of Fear (Heroes in Training, #7) by Joan Holub
Cronus and the Threads of Dread (Heroes in Training, #8) by Joan Holub
Crius and the Night of Fright (Heroes in Training, #9) by Joan Holub
Hephaestus and the Island of Terror (Heroes in Training, #10) by Joan Holub
Uranus and the Bubbles of Trouble (Heroes in Training #11) by Joan Holub
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: already-own-read
This is the first book in the brand new Heroes in Training series by the authors of the Goddess Girls books! This time, the books focus on the boy gods. The two series aren't related, so we aren't reading about the same Zeus and Poseidon as we see in the Goddess Girls books. I think this book gets the series off to a great start. Lots of fun and adventure with great characters!

It turns out Zeus wasn't always the all-powerful leader of the gods that we know about. He was a somewhat awkward tween
May 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I work at an elementary school, and we just acquired Heroes in Training book 1 - 8 for our library, and since I specialized in Classical Greece and Rome in college, I wanted to give the first book in this series a read to see how it compared to the Percy Jackson series (though that one is obviously for an older group of kids). I think books like these are a great way to get young readers into mythology. This series of books covers the origin of the Greek Gods in a kid friendly way that is both e ...more
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zeus and the THunderbolt of Doom starts in the belly of Kronus the Titan king. The Olympians are trapped inside and need help from an unsuspecting hero to save them. Meanwhile that unsuspecting hero is orphaned on an island and living in a cave. The story follows the adventures of 10 year old Zeus as he makes his very first adventure, sure that he was always meant for something a little bigger than living in that cave.

The pacing is good, if a little choppy at the very beginning when I am not qui
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For Ten-Year-Old Zeus, life on the Greek island of Crete is megaboring except for stormy days when sizzling lightning bolts hunt him. It has a voice whispers to him said "You are the one." He doesn't know what does it mean. He need to escape those pesky electric shocks. One day, Zeus had kidnapped by three half-giants of the evil King Cronus. After they ship ride, it had constant threats. It had a battle between birds with hair and an entire army of half giants. He grabs the first thing he sees ...more
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's refreshing to find a fun fantasy book for the early chapter book crowd. So many fantasies these days are so long and detailed that younger children have a hard time reading them (not that they don't try). This is a fun depiction of Zeus and his siblings before they became the gods and goddesses of Olympus. While I have little liking or respect for the adult gods and goddesses of Olympus, I found myself liking Zeus as a gutsy, determined kid. I also laughed at the presentation of Bolt (Zeus' ...more
From my six year old, who lobbied to give it four stars:

Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams is an exciting book. There was a boy and his name was Zeus, he got adopted. There's some giants and he almost gotten eaten, but he didn't. He found something that looked like a knife, but it wasn't. It was a thunderbolt! Which, I would call it a lightning bolt, but it says that its a thunderbolt. There was a lot of mist that he was in that was somewhere and a lady was in th
Davin Yoo
Jun 10, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
the book was horrible. I have read real greek mythology and the only thing near perfect was that zeus was hidden by his mother rhea. yet the book messes that up by adding a bee. I have read the other books and that is also incorrect. Apollo and Ares are the children of Zeus, not his siblings. The original Olympians also did not go on a quest type thing other than the quest into tartaraus (I may have spelled it wrong) to free the elder cyclops and the hektoncheires (again, spelled it wrong :( ). ...more
Kerri E
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: little-j-s-books
My son (age 6) reads way above grade level but seldom has the patience to read a chapter book on his own. My husband started this book with him, planning to read it together at night before bed. My son took it to school the next day and finished it on his own. He then came home that night, picked up the 2nd book, and read ALL 110 pages on his own in a matter of 2 hours or less. He couldn't put it down. He even read it during a PTA meeting while lying on the gym floor at school with the meeting g ...more
Emily Andrus
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
So while it doesn't follow Zeus' origin story exactly (well, who really knows the story perfectly, anyway?), the book provides an excellent juvenile perspective on history of the king of gods with just enough true elements to make it useful. In this version, Zeus is a little bit clueless and a little bit brave, providing just the right amount of humor and exciting adventure. There's an illustration for each chapter that is really well done; they each tie-in well with the story and look rather Gr ...more
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-6-fantasy
For young fans of Greek mythology, this book is the ticket to a suspenseful adventure, with plenty of details that hark back to the real Zeus myth. Told from the point of view of young Zeus, who is unaware of his magical powers, this is a fun introduction to his discovery of his thunderbolt sword, Oracle of Delphi, and important Greek gods he needs to save from King Cronus' evil captivity. Sprinkled with dynamic black and white illustrations, this is a clever easy to read humorous myth young rea ...more
Elissa Schaeffer
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the team behind the Goddess Girls series, here comes a new series aimed directly at boys. It's nice to see them creating a similar world for the boys.

Zeus is clueless about his identity and his adventures are just getting started. There's plenty of material drawn from Greek mythology, which is of course good, but it's done using contemporary language, especially in dialog, which should help interest young readers. I'm looking forward to more.

Good midway reader for those new to traditional c
Dec 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up at a library sale figuring my children might enjoy it. I decided to read it first. It is an interesting take on the Greek legends of the Titans and Olympians: humorous and mostly lighthearted one.

It is a quick read obviously and seems aimed at younger readers not quite ready for the longer and more complex books like Percy Jackson, etc. and might be a good place to start with young boys interested in mythology and adventure.

(and yes I am going to read some adult books at some poin
Luanne Hatcher
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun book that gives us a glimpse of the boyhood of the Greek god, Zeus. I realized that I had never I envisioned Zeus as a child. Ten year old Zeus never knew his parents. He lived in a cave with a goat and a nymph, who protected him. Lightning seemed to be attracted to him and struck him often. It was a lightning bolt that saved his life and helped him with the rescue of the Olympians that had been held captive by King Cronus, the king of the Titan giants for over ten years. I believ ...more
Ten year old Zeus, living in a cave with a nymph and a goat, is discovered by the Half-Giants (allies of Cronus and known as "old cronies) and is taken on a ship toward Cronos. The journey is interrupted by Harpies, who carry Zeus off. Also during the journey, Zeus pulls a lightning bolt from the cone-stone and can't get rid of it. And a chip of the stone keeps sending him message like "danger" and "Find Poseiden." But what Zeus really wants to do is find his parents.

A good choice for young read
Sandeen Scotto
Greek Gods and Goddesses, oh my! Every now and then, I love to read young adult books. This is the very first book in a 12 (and possibly counting) series about how the Greek Gods and Goddesses came to be. We start with Zeus, a boy from Crete, who is constantly chased by thunderstorms. He is bestowed upon with a trusty lightening bolt (named Bolt) and starts his adventure of trying to find out who is parents are and ultimately to figure out his destiny. An enjoyable read and looking forward to re ...more
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grabbed this book off the shelf at B & N late summer in the never ending battle to excite my 8yr old son with reading. This book hit one out of the park and made mom a hero. Both he and his younger sister have devoured all 12 and are jonesing for the next to be published. Reading has become exciting and branched into other realms of adventure and mythology.

The books are definitely aimed at the modern 7-9 year old, but that is perfect. The kids loved the puns, laughed frequently and asked lots of
Aug 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
The three stars have probably more to do with my own expectations thatn the quality of the book. I expected the Heroes in Training series to be a spin-off from the Goddess Girl series. instead the authors decided to stick to the original myth instead of setting the book at MOA. Still an enjoybale read and I will definitely read the other books. And once i set my expectations aside I think I will like this series better.
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HELLO DINOSAURS; MIGHTY DADS (a NY Times bestseller); LITTLE RED WRITING; the GODDESS GIRLS series (with Suzanne Williams); THIS LITTLE PRESIDENT, A Presidential Primer; THIS LITTLE TRAILBLAZER, A Girl Power Primer, ZERO THE HERO. Lucky to be doing what I love!

Other books in the series

Heroes in Training (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Poseidon and the Sea of Fury (Heroes in Training, #2)
  • Hades and the Helm of Darkness (Heroes in Training, #3)
  • Hyperion and the Great Balls of Fire (Heroes in Training, #4)
  • Typhon and the Winds of Destruction (Heroes in Training, #5)
  • Apollo and the Battle of the Birds (Heroes in Training, #6)
  • Ares and the Spear of Fear (Heroes in Training, #7)
  • Cronus and the Threads of Dread (Heroes in Training, #8)
  • Crius and the Night of Fright (Heroes in Training, #9)
  • Hephaestus and the Island of Terror (Heroes in Training, #10)
  • Uranus and the Bubbles of Trouble (Heroes in Training #11)

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