Literature: Cronus Chronicles

See that girl, the one with the bright red hair, overstuffed backpack, and aura of grumpiness? That's Charlotte Mielswetzski. And something extra-ordinary is about to happen to her.Oh, it's not the very cute kitten that appears out of nowhere and demands to go home with her. It's not the sudden arrival of her cousin Zee, who believes he's the cause of a mysterious sickness that has struck his friends back in England. It's not her creepy English teacher Mr. Metos, who takes his mythology lessons just a little too seriously. And it's not the white-faced, yellow-eyed men in tuxedoes, who follow Charlotte everywhere.

What's so extraordinary is not any one of these things....It's all of them. And when Charlotte's friends start to get sick one by one, Charlotte and Zee set out to find a cure. Their quest leads them to a not-so-mythical Underworld, where they face rhyme-loving Harpies, gods with personnel problems, and ghosts with a thirst for blood.

Charlotte and Zee learn that in a world overrun by Nightmares, Pain, and Death, the really dangerous character is a guy named Phil. And then they discover that the fate of every person — living and dead — is in their young hands.

Anne Ursu's trilogy of young adult fantasy novels—The Shadow Thieves, The Siren Song and The Immortal Fire—focus on the Greek gods and monsters in the modern world. While the premise is similar to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, this series looks upon Greek Mythology in a rather different light.

Tropes present in The Cronus Chronicles include:

  • Classical Mythology: What the series is based on.
  • Cool Old Lady: Zee's grandmother
  • Creepy Uncle: Though not related, Philonecron comes off this way towards Zee.
  • Evil Gloating: Philonecron engages in this quite a bit.
  • Fiery Redhead: Charlotte
  • Framing Device: Each book has four parts, each with a clever title (ex. in The Siren Song, the parts are called Fish, Fishy, Fishier and Fishiest).
  • Henchmen Race: The eponymous shadows Philonecron stole are the souls of Zee and Charlotte's friends and fellow students, which Philonecron was using to make an army to overthrow Hades.
  • In Medias Res: The Shadow Thieves is separated into four parts, the first opening from Charlotte's POV as she meets her cousin Zee and her fellow students start taking ill, one by one. The next chapter is from Zee's POV and starts half a year earlier, explaining The Plague and why Zee was sent to live with Charlotte in the first place.
  • Jerkass Gods: Almost all the gods (with the exception of Persephone). The Big Bad is a demigod who wants to enslave humanity, and most of the other gods either don't care or are actively trying to revenge themselves on the heroes for standing up to them. In the end the Charlotte blackmails the gods into leaving humanity alone.
  • Meaningful Name: Philonecron. His name literally means "lover of death," from the Greek philo-, meaning loving, and nekros, meaning death or corpse.
  • My Hero Zero: Zachary "Zee" Miller is referred to as Zero by Philonecron for being the 'starter', of sorts - his blood is used to animate the shadows that make up the villain's army.
  • Mystical Plague: Zee is sent to America to get away from one of these, not realizing he is in fact, the carrier.
  • Plucky Girl: Charlotte
  • Separated by a Common Language: Not too much between Zee (who's British) and Charlotte (who's American) but there is a little bit of idiom confusion when they first meet, especially in regards to the football/soccer issue.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: See Meaningful Name
  • The Unfavorite: Not that being Philonecron's favorite is a good thing, but he's very mean to Charlotte, acting surprisingly petty towards her compared to his obsessive affection for Zee.