Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: Nobody's Princess - Esther Friesner

Synopsis: She is beautiful, she is a princess, and Aphrodite is her favorite goddess, but something in Helen of Sparta just itches for more out of life. Unlike her prissy sister, Clytemnestra, she takes no pleasure in weaving and embroidery. And despite what her mother says, she's not even close to being interested in getting married. Instead, she wants to do combat training with her older brothers, go on heroic adventures, and be free to do what she wants and find out who she is. Not one to count on the gods - or her looks - to take care of her, Helen sets out to get what she wants with determination and an attitude. And while it's the attitude that makes Helen a few enemies (such as the self-proclaimed "son of Poseidon," Theseus), it's also what intrigues, charms, and amuses those who become her friends, from the huntress Atalanta to the young priestess who is the Oracle of Delphi.

Review: At first, I was concerned that Helen was going to be the typical man-hating, I-can-do-anything, noodle-arms, flirtatious girl that so often populates modern literature. And I was not certain that I would be able to finish Nobody's Princess. But like Sphinx's Princess and its sequel Sphinx's Queen, Esther Friesner presents a strong female character who displays not the best common sense, but a will of iron and the correct attitude toward a life that tries to dictate how she ought to be. While I found her lack of planning things out, but going "with the flow," irksome, it was pretty much her only annoying trait.

The story itself lacks a main plotline, but rather follows Helen and her two brothers from place-to-place after they have delivered Helen's twin sister safely to her new home, and a main storyline is only revealed at the end. It's good that Esther Friesner wrote a sequel - Nobody's Prize. And since it picks up where Nobody's Princess leaves off, I trust that it will have a main plot. The lack of one in this one, though, isn't as annoying as you might think it. Plenty of interesting things still happen.

Another thing to note - if you are expecting this to be a sort of retelling of The Iliad, it isn't. It takes place way before the whole mess with Prince Paris and the city of Troy. It's a back-story, and it certainly makes me think of Helen differently when I now read The Iliad. I look forward to reading Nobody's Prize.

Overall Rating: 

Others in This Series:
1)Nobody's Princess
2)Nobody's Prize

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