It seems I’m reading a lot of books with strong, independent women lately. Helen of Sparta, by Amalia Carosella, definitely also fits into that scenario. I’ve always loved myths and legends. Mythology intrigues me. The story of the Trojan War I’ve always found interesting, but I did know little of Helen, not much more than the fact that she’s used as a pawn in the story of the Trojan War and a daughter of Zeus. When I noticed that Amalia’s Helen of Sparta would create a side of Helen most of us haven’t seen, my interest was peaked further.
I was immediately ensnared by Amalia’s writing style. Her fluid and alluring sentences drew me into the story, as well as her representation of Helen’s personality. I knew at once that Helen, even as a young teen, didn’t want to conform, which is something I admire in real life people as well as fictional characters. Her descriptions vivid and rich, dripping off the page, even in small moments. “His expression blanked into a king’s mask, the warm blue eyes becoming the flat gray of a hurricane on the sea,” is an example of her descriptive elements which really hooked me into her story.
Mesmerizing and interesting, Helen of Sparta had elements of torment, human terror, loss and grief, love, struggle, and determination. Due to experiences in my own life, I felt my heart strings plucked for Helen in her unwanted marriage to Menelaus. I considered her a fighter, always seeking out ways to control her own destiny. I appreciated the love story between Helen and Theseus, son of Poseidon. I especially enjoyed both her main characters and found them movie worthy: admirable, beautiful, and resilient.
This book, though one that made me turn the pages due to her writing, isn’t a page turner in terms of action. I don’t want to mislead anyone about that. There aren’t fight scenes or battles or war. The gods weren’t appearing left and right in fierce bolts of lightening. In fact, this all takes place prior to the Trojan War. It’s more of a character-driven novel, where we spend time getting to know some of these mythical people who haven’t had much background speculated on them before.
The ending left us feeling that Helen’s story was just beginning. She wants to be admired for herself, not her beauty. She shows her intelligence. She finally found out her place and who she wanted to be, which for some can leave them feeling as if the story isn’t over, and that’s true, her story is just beginning, so hopefully Amalia is writing a second book.
Sometimes people love myths but don’t want to slog through some of them. Many people enjoy the tale, but don’t choose to read Homer for evening pleasure. Yet, they don’t want a YA novel either. So this is the reason that Helen of Sparta might be a choice for them. This is definitely not a YA novel, with graphic sex and violence (not overdone, just true to the story). It’s a novel for those who want an enjoyable and original read surrounding mythology, with romance and emotional and apt characterization, or a book with a bit of drama and a redemptive outlook. It was traumatic and riveting all at the same time.
She intertwined nicely common mythology with her unique outlook and storytelling to create a woman’s adventure and journey. A woman who is authentically flawed, but all the better for it. A better and more understood Helen of Troy.
If you love mythology, romance, and epic reads I think you’ll absolutely love this novel. I can tell prospective readers that though it had length to it, reading the book felt like a whirlwind to me. I’m anxious to read Amalia second book in what I hope is a series!
Helen of Sparta, Synopsis~
Genre: Historical Fiction
Long before she ran away with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. These dreams foretold impending war—a war that only Helen has the power to avert. To do so, she must defy her family and betray her betrothed by fleeing the palace in the dead of night. In need of protection, she finds shelter and comfort in the arms of Theseus, son of Poseidon. With Theseus at her side, she believes she can escape her destiny. But at every turn, new dangers—violence, betrayal, extortion, threat of war—thwart Helen’s plans and bar her path. Still, she refuses to bend to the will of the gods.
A new take on an ancient myth, Helen of Sparta is the story of one woman determined to decide her own fate.
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Author Amalia Carosella, Biography~
An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods.
She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too).
For more information, visit her blog at www.amaliacarosella.com. She also writes fantasy and paranormal romance as Amalia Dillin.
To enter to win a $40 Amazon Gift Card, please complete the giveaway form below.
Helen of Sparta <——Click there to enter giveaway!
- Giveaway starts on April 1st at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 22nd.
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