Category Archives: Greek/Roman Myths

Troy

Adele Geras

{Summary found on Wikipedia.com} :  The plot focuses on several women of Troy, ranging from powerful rich maidens to the servant girls who live in the town. The women all suffer in emotional ways with the decade long war at the center of their pain. Orphan sisters Xanthe and Marpessa live in Priam’s palace as maids and surrogate daughters to Andromache and Helen, respectively.  Andromache is Hector’s wife and mother to Astynax, whom Xanthe cares for like her own child. Marpessa sees the gods but keeps to herself because she knows that people will label her “disturbed” like Hector’s sister Cassandra.

The story picks up steam when Eros hits Xanthe with a silver-blue arrow, while she is working in the Blood room (where the fallen soldiers are taken to be nursed back to health). Xanthe falls in love with Alastor, who then impregnates Marpessa, a triangle brought about because Aphrodite longs for any entertainment other than the war. Polyxena, a friend of the two sisters, is hopelessly in love with Iason, who loves Xanthe.

Geras fills in the holes between each of the subplots with gossip from the servants of Priam’s palace. They serve as the Greek chorus and converse among themselves with how lazy Helen is or how estranged from her family Andromache is. Eventually the story winds down with the inevitable wooden horse and the sacking of Troy.

Geras shines as a storyteller and multi-subplot manager. She carefully scripts each plot to tell the inner feelings of the Trojan woman. The reader knows how the story ends (the rape and pillage of Troy) but what keeps them reading is the interest in the characters’ dreams and ultimate futures.

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Singer to the Sea God

by Vivien Alcock

Excellent book.  I read it a while ago, but from my memory of it I loved the pacing and excitement and ideas.  As an ardent mythical-story lover, this is gold.

“It is said that if one stares at the head of Medusa, he or she will turn to stone, but Cleo, not believing the legend, does just that and is instantly turned into a statue! Now her brother Phaidon and uncle are on a grand adventure that takes them through ancient Greece as they attempt to turn Cleo back into a mortal. Will Phaidon’s song to the sea god have the power to bring Cleo back to life?” ~ InternetBookList

Oh dear, no picture to be found.  I may have to scan in my copy and upload it.

The Battle of the Labyrinth


The Battle of the Labyrinth
by Rick Riordan

Awesome! More rip-roaring fun from author Rick Riordan in this 4th book of the series. Here’s an author who really shines in the gradual culmination of a larger plot; his individual books shine on their own yet move smoothly toward the final goal. I love all the mythological facts and quirks he includes in the story, plus the trip through America’s greatest places.

lol, found this snippet of conversation on Book Dweeb’s blog:
___________________________
kawzmikgirl Says:
Apr 8, 2008 at 11:04 pm

Is this series REALLY worth my time? LOL No, but really. Is it good?

Team Edward!
———

Book Dweeb Says:
Apr 8, 2008 at 11:41 pm

You HAVE to check out this series if:

a. you like mythology at all
b. you like funny things
c. you are breathing

So, yeah, it is REALLY worth your time.

Oh, and…Team Jacob!
_____________________________

That was back in May when the book came out. I think it’s so funny how the Twilight series unites readers everywhere…
I love Book Dweeb’s blog, his/her critiques are informative yet succinct, telling me what I want to know. For instance, the next book I check out will be “Dragon Slippers” by Jessica Day George, a recent post. :)

Summary of Battle of the Labyrinth: “Even Camp Half-Blood isn’t safe, as Kronos’s army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop them, Percy and his friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth — a sprawling underground world with surprises and danger at every turn. Along the way Percy will confront powerful enemies, find out the truth about the lost god Pan, and face the Titan lord Kronos’s most terrible secret. The final war begins . . . with the Battle of the Labyrinth.”

The Arkadians

Lloyd Alexander

from Amazon.com “An expertly developed cast of characters rounds out this witty epic that’s filled with romance and adventure.  Lucian, the archetypal hero, knows more than he should about the king’s nefarious soothsayers and must escape the palace or be killed. He takes with him Fronto, a poet whose folly has turned him into a donkey.  Guided by Joy-in-the-Dance, a pythoness oracle who serves the Lady of Wild Things, they seek the Lady on an Oz-like journey for answers to their problems, joined on the way by Ops, a chief who was cast out of his village.

The travelers do not get what they had hoped for from the Lady, but Lucian does learn why her followers and his Bear Clan are enemies. The seekers are then sent on another journey that completes the heroic cycle. On one level, this is a rousing adventure complete with cliffhangers and do-or-die situations. On another, readers familiar with Greek mythology will find clever hints at the myths’ purpose and genesis.  The Arkadians have experiences and listen to tales that resemble the stories of Narcissus, the Wooden Horse of Troy, Odysseus, and Theseus and the Minotaur, among others. The women are the wise ones in this novel and play their own heroic roles.

On a deeper level, this tale is about love and peace, symbolized by the marriage of Lucian and Joy-in-the-Dance and the subsequent uniting of the Bear Clan and the Followers of the Lady. Thus, Arkadia becomes the mythical Arcadia, which poets lauded as a utopia. The plot has many twists and turns, but is not hard to follow, and Alexander’s style is eminently readable.”

Cheri Estes, Dorchester Road Regional Library, Charleston, SC.  Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The Lightning Thief


Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1
The Lightning Thief
by: Rick Riordan

Can’t wait to read the sequel, The Sea of Monsters. Very good book, read it in a snap. Couldn’t believe how long it took me to figure out that Percy was short for Perseus…

I have so many posts saved as drafts right now… I am definately procrastinating. I have the feeling quite a lot of them will be put up with just a picture.

Quiver


Stephanie Spinner

The story of the mythological Atalanta, specifically how she gained a husband and their love.  Very quick book, but decent.

The myth of Atalanta & review from Publisher’s Weekly: {Abandoned in the woods as a baby because of her gender, then saved by the goddess Artemis the Huntress, Atalanta grows up to become a talented archer and the “swiftest of mortals”; grateful, she swears her loyalty to the goddess and vows to stay chaste. As the book opens, she is the only female hunting for the Calydonian boar, and the first to draw its blood (though, again due to gender, this feat earns her more trouble than honor). Spinner’s pacing is somewhat awkward (the story takes too long to unfold, and the conclusion seems rushed), and the large cast is hard to keep straight, but Atalanta has depth as a strong, female protagonist who not only defeats men but who also trusts herself. Shortly after the hunt, Atalanta learns that she is the daughter of King Iasus; he is dying, lacking an heir, and demands that she marry and produce one. To adhere to her vows of chastity, she offers the king a compromise: she agrees to marry a suitor who beats her in a race; otherwise, he must be killed. Of course she wasn’t counting on Aphrodite’s meddling, or being shot in the heart by Eros’s love arrow. The narrative may be difficult to enter, but there is enough death, surprise, prophecy and direct intervention from the gods-including interludes of their whimsical dialogue-to keep readers engaged.

{Spinner also resolves one of the more troubling aspects of the original myth — that Hippomenes seems to win the race by cheating: in this version, Atalanta clearly knows what he is doing.} –I did like that assertion.  {from commonsensemedia.org}

I really must read Spinner’s other myth book, Quicksilver, about Hermes.