I absolutely loved this book!
The book is about Hermione's life, who is the daughter of Helen of Sparta/Troy and King Menelaus. The story takes place in the time of the Trojan war and after it. All the myths of the Trojan war are in this book but they are told in Hermione's pov. We see all the characters from her perspective and how she feels about her mother, who is the cause of all the death of both Greeks and Trojans. The myths of Agamemnon's return from the war and his murder, the myths of his son Orestes, the myths of Pyrrhus and many more are also told in the story again through Hermione's eyes. It all ties to Hermione because these myths are tied to her life.
I loved almost all the characters. Hermione was a wonderful character. Her life was not very easy and there was almost no love for her from her mother Helen. Clearly its not easy being the daughter of the most beautiful women in the world. Hermione has many challenges in her life which she meets with courage, determination and faith. There are plenty of times she could of given up but she didn't. She kept going. She is also very loving with her friends and with the one she loves. She does everything in her power and travels all over Greece to find him. She has many adventures with her friends over the course of the story. She is the kind of character who you want and hope that she gets everything she wants in the end. She is not a mean person or horrible person. She is kind, sweet, gentle and giving. Readers get to see her grow up from when she was introduced in the beginning of the book as a 11 year old girl to her life during her 20's.
I love Orestes. He is such a good guy and hot too. He is an archer in the trojan army and cousin to Hermione, who he grew up with. He is an honorable man who avengers his father's murder and is severely punished for it. I felt bad for him. He was haunted by the furies who drove him mad and messed with his mind. I agree with what he did and at least in my opinion he shouldn't have been punished. In the story we get many different opinions of what should happen to him through the citizens of Mycenae. His ending is happy though and I was glad I had finally read a book with a happy ending.
I really didn't like Pyrrhus. He was a class A jack ass. He is the son of Achilles with greatest Greek warrior. Pyrrhus was not as noble as his father nor was he kind or caring. He was a brute in every sense of the word. He was nasty to Hermione, brutally raped Hector's wife Andromache many times and threw her infant son over the Trojan wall. He was a savage man who led Achilles' men, the Myrmidons, after Achilles had died. I so wanted him to die in the most painful way.
I loved Hermione's friends in the book. Zethus was a Trojan who came to Sparta with Paris when kidnapped Helen. Zethus was left behind in Sparta and found by 11 year old Hermione. From then on he became her friend who helped her in anyway he could. It was amazing how these two kept finding each other over the years. I also liked Astynome, who was Agamemnon's concubine in Troy, who was Hermione's age. Later on she has another friend Ardeste, who was her maid in Phthia and helped her escape. Ardeste was a faithful servent, kind, caring and very brave to help Hermione.
Helen of Sparta was a complete airhead idiot. I hated her and I always have from when I first read the Trojan myths. All this trouble over a girl? In the book Helen was like a dumb blond. All she cared about was herself and her looks. She constantly put Hermione down in the beginning saying she's as flat as a door (umm hello? The girl is only 11). I was floored at how Helen didn't care for her daughter or anyone else for that matter. She was a horrible mother to leave her daughter without a second thought. Helen loved to tell stories about herself and her life when she was younger. She was a completely selfish person. She wasn't smart at all. She caused the war and bloodshed by running away with Paris and she didn't take ANY responsibility for it! She blamed everything on Aphrodite saying that Aphrodite cast a spell on her which made her do what she did. Oh please. What idiot would fall for that? Apparently Menelaus did because he took Helen back, forgave her for EVERYTHING and took her back to Sparta where they both lived until they died (at least in this story). If ANYONE deserved to die horrible in this story is was Helen. I was rooting for her to have a horrible death but alas it was not to be in this story. I like the other myth where she was hung.
I love mythology especially Greek mythology so I jumped at the chance to buy and read this book. It has all of my favorite myths in it but they are told in Meyer's way, adding Hermione to them. Meyer puts her own spin on the tales and often opts to use the versions of the myths that are not well known. This was an exciting twist to the myths and while I was reading the book, I was googling the various myths that I encountered in the story to see what was made up and what wasn't (that's how I know Meyer used different version of the myths). Also I wanted to say that I don't have a problem at all if Meyer had added and changed any myths. I love to read how authors change well known stories to something new. And Meyer did this wonderfully.
I also loved how the gods were involved in this story. We saw the main gods intervene in during the battle but not interact with the characters. Again the gods who interacted with the characters were not the famous and popular gods. Iris, goddess of the rainbow, came to speak with Menelaus. Hermes helped Hermione on her journeys. I liked how the gods interacted but did not take up most of the story or outright order the characters to do things. They guided the characters and let them make their own choices.
All I have to say about the romance is that its tragic and happy. Some much happens to the two lovers and they have to go through so much to be together. But its great how strong their love is to last through all their trials.
I just loved this book!
This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews