Tag Archives: Gods and Goddesses

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.

Continue reading

Advertisements

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.