Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Jermaine Nnamdi Carew (author), Winston Forde (editor). The Golden Gloves of Heracles & Hercules's Gauntlet: Two Stories, Sondiata Global Media Ltd. 2017, 212 pp.
Children (Juvenile, 10-14)
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Author of the Entry:
Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, email@example.com
Jermaine Nnamdi Carew
, b. 1998
Jermaine Nnamdi Carew was born in the UK, and soon after moved to Sierra Leone where he remained until 2014. Due to the outbreak of Ebola, he moved to the USA and finished Dublin Coffman High School (graduating cum laude) in New Jersey in 2016. He is currently an honor student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Jermaine’s love of stories developed while he was telling stories to his young brother, Amani. He published his first book in 2014. The Golden Gloves of Heracles & Hercules's Gauntlet is his second book (see here, accessed: November 26, 2019). Jermain wishes to become a role model for other young writers.
Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
The story takes place in an alternate world, called Olympia, after the destruction of Earth by Ares. Ares wanted to kill Heracles and since Heracles remained on earth with his family, refusing immortality, he perished along with Earth’s population. Then Zeus and the Olympian gods created a new planet, named Olympia. Hercule is a slightly overweight kid, the laughing-stock of the school, who suddenly comes across the magical golden gloves of the legendary Heracles. When he wears the gloves, he becomes buffed and muscular and can perform fantastic deeds using his super-human strength. Later his mother confesses that the spirit of Heracles came to her in a dream while she was pregnant and told her that he would return as her child.
However, Ares, Heracles’s half-brother, wants to take his revenge on this reincarnation of his hated half-brother and on the entire planet. Later Hercule must cope with the fame he gained due to his gauntlets and also thwarts Hades’ plot to destroy Olympus on Hercule’s birthday.
This is a fast-paced story. The events unfold swiftly as if we are watching a super-hero movie.
The focus of this story is an adolescent boy, Hercule, who discovers his inner hero and his own worth due to his finding of the gauntlets and the discovery that he is the reincarnation of the legendary Heracles. The mythological gods or creatures (for example centaurs) are the extras, whereas the main focus is on Hercule’s journey to become a hero. This is both a physical journey, to ask for Athena’s advice (in the second story in the collection), but more importantly an inner journey towards adulthood.
In many time-traveling stories aimed at children and adolescents, the hero is cast off to an unfamiliar setting or must help a mythological deity and save the world (for example, Stella Tarakson’s Hopeless Heroes series). Yet in this story, the young protagonist discovers he is actually part of the mythology and he is related to the greatest hero of the ancient world. This setting may recall the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, for example, in which an ordinary, insecure teenager discovers he is the son of Poseidon and he has more strength than he initially thought.
Since this story was created by a young author for young audience (at first his own brother), it makes sense that the author focuses on the settings and themes which concerns his age group, such as bullying at school, physical appearance, friendship and first love. Furthermore, discovering great powers and becoming a hero from a zero is also a recurring motif in the story, as in many coming of age narratives). Hercule’s physical appearance changes greatly, so that even his parents hardly recognize him at first. Yet the physical transformation is just an outward sign. It is Hercule’s self-confidence which marks how much he has truly grown. Our Hercule suffers from bullying at school. His new powers give him the confidence to face his rival.
Escape to a fantasy world is also a recurring motif in similar fictions, since in the fantasy world the bullied child can become a hero and his fantastic adventures slowly build his confidence. In the present story, the fantasy mixes with the real world. Everyone can see the changes Hecule is going through and that helps him face his fears. However, Hercule learns a tough lesson, that with great powers responsibility comes too. He fights with Billy the bully and knocks him down hard. This makes him feel ashamed for his actions (similar to how Pandora in Richard Clark’s Pandora’s Lunch Box: Don’t Open! (2017) felt sorry for using her special and secret powers against the bully Lexy). It is a sign of growing up and being mature when you realize that simple revenge is not the answer; just because Hercule can beat up Billy, does not mean he should. This is what makes him different than Ares and Hades who are completely obsessed with revenge and fighting. Hercule can become the true hero not when he fights but rather when he protects those he cares for.
The author creates his own mythology, in connection with the Greek mythology while inventing a new origin story. By doing so he mixes mythology with the so-called regular world, since the creation of Olympia by the gods is a known fact in this narrative.
The training of the young Hercule for his heroic role, recalls the 1997 Disney movie Hercules, in which the young hero had a personal mentor, the satyr Phil. In this story, the mentor is Helios, a centurion of Olympus (a mix of Roman legionary in a Greek inspired tale) who is the guardian of the golden gloves. Helios trains Hercule but most of all, helps him believe in the gloves and in himself.
Another interesting similarity to the movie, is in the exploration of the commercialization of a hero. In the second part of the story, Hercule is a renowned hero in Olympia. As the author notes, Hercule “quickly became a worldwide phenomenon on both Olympia and Olympus. He greatly struggles with his new life of fame and critics and starts to debate whether the golden gauntlets that he wears were a blessing, or a curse.” P. 52.
In the end, it is an interesting view of heroism, showing that being a hero is a difficult and daunting job, even if many readers would have loved to replace their own lives with that of the fictional Hercule. Everyone wants to feel special and important. One is a hero when he fights for the people he loves regardless of being thanked for his deeds. In the end, all the regular people of Olympia are also heroes, when they fend off Hades and Ares forces and manage to stop them. Even the ordinary people can become heroes when they fight for their own freedom and salvation.