Book: The Penelopiad
Author: Margaret Atwood
Recommend: Definitely worth a read, especially if you had to suffer through The Iliad and The Odyssey in high school.
Okay, I am a fan of Greek mythology. I find it oddly fascinating that people could believe in this set of self-absorbed petty gods who thought it was fun to mess with the people they ruled over and who had limitations. I found their attitude towards women appalling in the way you find a train-wreck appalling – so horrible but yet you simply can’t look away.
Due to these factors I couldn’t help but add this book to my bag when I discovered it at the library. I have only read one of Atwood’s other books but I found her writing wonderful to read and that’s saying something considering I started with The Handmaid’s Tale. This book tells the story of Penelope, the wife of Odysseus who went missing for twenty years. She fended off suitors by the truckload and managed to stay true to him over twenty years. Never mind the fact that he was cheating on her every time he had the opportunity.
I found the character quite fascinating in this telling of the story, although slightly inconsistent in the center due to her passivity towards her household while her mother-in-law was alive. I loved the interjections from the author of almost sheer random wanderings on the topic. It broke up the story in an interesting way and get me to think about it from a myriad of perspectives.
Definitely worth a read if you are a fan of Greek mythology.
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Book: Level 2
Author: Lenore Appelhan
Recommend: This one was strange… even for me.
Picked this one up because I’ve had it in my hands five or six times and haven’t read it yet. Decided that instead of it being on the bottom of the stack that it should be on the top so that I would finally get to it. Which I did. Kind of wishing it had stayed on the bottom and hadn’t gotten read.
Okay, this is about a girl who dies horribly in a car crash and goes on to basically limbo. Already losing my interest here. Unbeknownst to said girl, she is stuck right in the middle of the war between two factions of angels. My thought was – really? I’ve seen this about a hundred times. One set wants these departed souls to move on, the other doesn’t. Yep. Seen this before too. Then the author starts into tying everything into Greek mythology loosely. Wait? What? I thought we were doing some strange version of the Christian afterlife. Guess not. Then said girl joins the rebels reluctantly. Seen this before and whatever interest the author gained by combining the two ideas of heaven is now gone. The rest of the book follows a predictable pattern. There is a love story – of course – but it is every bit as uninteresting as the book.
The only thing I found unique about this was that the main character had some definite issues to work through and when you found out what those issues were she started to make a whole lot more sense but by the point you figure out what is going on with her, you’ve been so bored for so long that it is hard to really get into it.
Overall, this was just a strange little book and won’t be surprised to see it go nowhere.
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Author: Meg Cabot
Recommend: Surprisingly yes.
I was prepared to not enjoy this one at all. The last few books by this author that I’ve picked up have just not been very good at all. I got into this one and at first I thought it was another dud. However, she surprised me and pulled an enjoyable plot out of her head this time.
Pierce is a teenage girl who almost died. When she woke she had a strange necklace that no one could remember and then strange things began to happen. Hoping to start new, her mother moves back them back to the island where she grew up with a school for problem kids like Pierce because Pierce had never been normal since the day she almost died and it all centered around John. John has taken a special interest in Pierce and which is the last thing she wants since John rules the underworld.
This is basically a re-imagining of the Persephone myth, one of my favorites from Greek mythology. It definitely is fast paced and I loved the frequent quotes from Dante‘s inferno.
However, there were a few places, especially towards the beginning where I simply had no idea what was going on because the author was moving too fast. It wasn’t any literary device, she seemed to simply forget that the reader wouldn’t understand her world as well as she did. I hate when authors do this and am very thankful that it rarely happens.
That being said, I did request the second book in the series and am looking forward to reading it because most of the book was an engaging and pleasant experience. I don’t think I’ll be adding them to my library anytime soon, but they were a decent one time read.
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Book: The goddess Test
Author: Aimee Carter
Recommend: A surprisingly good read!
I picked this one up because I really enjoy reading Greek mythology however I almost slammed it back down when I saw that the publisher was Harlequin. I know they have been trying to change their image but they are linked to bad cheesy romance novels in my mind. However, I decided to give it a chance. After all I really enjoy Greek mythology. I was pleasantly surprised.
A young girl moves to her mother’s hometown as her mother lives out her final days. Her first days at school don’t go well but when she is invited to go, she tries to make a new start only for tragedy to strike. When she is given a choice to save the life of another will she give up half a year of her life for the rest of time in order to bring her back? When you make a deal with the devil or Hades as the case may be, be prepared for the consequences.
I really enjoyed this retelling of Persephone. It is not the first I’ve read lately but it is so different from the other that it felt like reading something completely new. This book was very engaging and entertaining. I will be picking up the next book in the series.
I would say that the biggest weak point in this book is the tragic ending. Not because it was sad but because it was just a bad ending in comparison to the rest of the book. the whole thing was a bit too neatly wrapped up. Don’t get me wrong, I like a happy ending as much as the next girl however, this was just a bit too much.
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