Arc provided by Random House Publishing Group- Ballantine through Netgalley
This is a story that left me with mixed feelings: on one hand it develops a complex and rich story from ancient mythology; on the other hand, I found the characters and the initial pace of the adventure not very interesting.
Told in alternating points of views, this tale is divided between two very different chronological time phases:
• One takes place during the Bronze age. In it we follow the paths of two sisters, Myrina and Lilly, who after returning from a hunting expedition find most of their tribe decimated.
• The other one follows the life of Diana Morgan a philologist who is currently teaching at Oxford.
My first problem with the initial narrative is that, after a while of reading it, it became quite dull to follow.
The characters' development and consequent characterization is not this book's strong point. Instead they feel like the props against which the plot, _ the actual star _, develops itself.
Diana, who is supposed to be twenty eight years old, comes out as this naïve and easily infatuated girl. The _very teenage way_ she talks about her long time love interest seems quite at odds with the personality that she should have had for someone who against better judgement _when it comes to her career_ has decided to uncover the Amazons' history. Someone determined and focused.
On the other hand, _ also _ at the beginning, the historical pov didn't sound very credible due to the way the dialogue was written between the characters. The characters sounded too modern regarding their time frame.
I'm afraid that, although crucial to the story's development, the way Diana agrees to the professional proposition made to her was just another sign of her tstl personality...
Her job is at risk, and she just takes of like that? Photos can be photoshopped... just saying.
Diana's voyage marks another phase in the book. Yes, it becomes more action packed, in a Clive Cussler way... the thing is that, _once again _, since I didn't develop any attachment to the characters, were one of them to die, I couldn't care less.
The contemporary romance was very weak. There wasn't a growing sense of tension between the characters, nothing that indicated love or lust between them.
There was also the part where Diana's knight in shining armour joins her and her adventure colleagues, and starts behaving as if he owns her, when their relationship had never been more than that of colleagues.
And what does she do?
She finds it strange but doesn't say a word! How? This is the main problem with her!
It's like emotionally she doesn't react to the story, physically, yes. She reacts to dangers, she runs, she hides, the whole gamut... emotionally... she just keeps quiet.
She doesn't question people's attitudes. She doesn't find odd or very coincidental certain things and events...
she's a paper doll. Soulless.
Regarding the historical romance, it is better done than the contemporary, especially because Paris' personality beats all the other ones...
Regarding the unexpected turn of events that the author created... I have to say that I loved it! :)
Let's say that I found this much more believable than the "common acknowledged story" of Paris and Helena.
Basically the whole concept in which the author was able to interweave mythological characters and events in a completely different and original way, was just fabulous.
I would be reading a page, and then a character would pop up and I was like: Oh, here you are....
Lilly who is Myrina's sister, takes the role of "Cassandra"...
Paris himself, here takes the place of Hector...
Myrina, the Amazon Queen, plays Helena to her Paris..
Achilles here is just a Pirate...
Hercules only makes a brief appearance... and so on and on.
So if you're keen on "your" mythology following a certain determined path, you'll probably have a problem with this.
To me, this was the book's greatest asset!
As the author says:
"Some scholars will certainly disagree with my choices in describing the past— skepticism is, after all, a prerequisite of proper scholarship— but that doesn’t necessarily mean things could not have happened the way I depict them. It is my hope, of course, that inquisitive readers will use my book as a springboard for a dive into the many unsolved mysteries of the past and flock to the fields of history, philology, and archaeology, eager to help expand our knowledge of the ancient world."