Realising that grim, wrist-deep violence in books for children and teenagers seems OK to me if it comes with an epic or mythological pedigree doesn't make me proud of myself – it's a perspective as reductive and unhelpful as the Mail's kneejerk reaction to books with "knife" in the title. One day I'll wake up all salt-and-peppery, steel-rimmed as to pince-nez, and start two-year-old Tarquin on the Iliad in the original Greek before locking myself in my study with hard liquor and Robert Muchamore. But I still feel that classically epic violence in books for children – loosed knees, starting eyeballs, gouting blood and the like – can be justified and balanced by epic scope.The lesson here is that if you have historical backing, you can depict terrible, terrible things. Yep. That's what I took away from that.
Epically violent, epically okay?
Violence in children's books is most likely bad. But is it ok if it has epic, historical, mythical background? Some say yes!