Author: Jen Calonita
What if Meg had to become a god?
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?
Go the Distance is another addition to the Twisted Tales series. This one gives a new take on Hercules where the story takes place after the Disney movie and Hercules is now a God. Instead of Zeus allowing Hercules to remain on Earth with Meg, he refuses as he wants him to remain on Mount Olympus. Instead of being focused on Hercules’ side of things, this tale shows the aftermath from Meg’s point-of-view.
Megara Egan (love that they gave her the last name of the actress, Susan Egan, that voiced her in the movie) is conflicted as she stands on Mount Olympus where she is happy for Hercules becoming a God, but sad that she will most likely lose him. Hera takes sympathy on Meg, as she does not agree with Zeus, and decides to send Meg on a quest so she can become a God and join Hercules as an immortal. Meg decides to take part and must do the journey alone as Hercules is unable to join her (he does make appearances here and there, though).
In addition to Meg’s journey to immortality, the story highlights Meg’s childhood and the infamous deal with Hades where she sells her soul in exchange to save her boyfriend’s life. Her boyfriend then goes off to marry another leaving Meg heartbroken. Meg’s quest integrated both plots from her past as they are a key part to her completing it. Her character misses some of her sass that we are familiar with in her movie version, but it tries to emulate it. She continues to be a strong-willed and I appreciated the depth that the novel gave her due to her backstory, but there were times where the story tried too hard to show that this is the same character; multiple times iconic lines were copied and pasted and it felt unnecessary.
I loved that Meg learns a lot about herself while confronting her past all while on a journey to travel and “rescue” someone from the Underworld. It felt in-character as Meg would be the determined-type who jumps in head-first and figures everything out along the way. Hercules lends Meg Pegasus to help her travel around and it was cute to see the two of them start to bond after their previous rocky relationship. The times Hercules does reappear in the story, he is very supportive of Meg and is there to give her advice or hear her vent. He was a great support system for her in this story.
Overall, this story is written for a younger (young adult) audience, so it never becomes a truly dark story that is usually associated with the word “twisted.” It is difficult while reading to not compare this material to their known versions, so it is important to go into this with an open-mind and realize not everything will line up perfectly with the characters. This story has an additional subplot featuring Hades and Persephone, which was unexpected. I know their story from Greek Mythology, but I did not expect to read about it in this novel. It seemed random, yet also made sense for the story as it was needed at times for the plot to move from point a to point b. Meg’s journey to and from the underworld was a fun adventure where the pace goes fairly quickly and the reader does not get bored while reading. This was a fun addition to the Twisted Tales family or stories and I cannot wait to read more!
**I want to give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Disney Hyperion, for a review copy of this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**