Thursday, October 13, 2016

For The Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley
Read: October 3, 2016

Three thousand years ago a war took place that gave birth to legends - to Achilles, the greatest of the Greeks, and Hector, prince of Troy. It was a war that made - and destroyed - both men, a war that shook the very foundations of the world. But what if there was more to this epic conflict? What if there was another, hidden tale of the Trojan War that had yet to be told? Now is that time - time for the women of Troy to tell their story. Thrillingly imagined and startlingly original, For the Most Beautiful reveals the true story of true for the first time. The story of Krisayis, daughter of the Trojans' High Priest, and of Briseis, princess of Pedasus, who fight to determine the fate of a city and its people in this ancient time of mischievous gods and mythic heroes. In a novel full of passion and revenge, loyalty and betrayal, bravery and sacrifice, Emily Hauser breathes exhilarating new life into one of the greatest legends of all - in a story that has waited millennia to be told.

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Logios Hermes
I have mixed feelings about Emily Hauser’s For the Most Beautiful. Parts of it worked beautifully, but others fell flat in my eyes. I enjoyed the time I spent with it and can honestly say that I’d recommend it alongside A Song of War and Helen of Sparta, but there were weak points in the narrative and I wasn’t thoroughly sold on the final product.

Hauser approaches the classic story from the joint perspectives of Krisayis and Briseis. I thought the idea original, but I wasn’t drawn to either heroine and that reality went a long way in defining my experience with the narrative. I found their backstory stories interesting enough, but I never connected with either character and wasn’t particularly invested in discovering how their experiences played out.

That said, I was highly amused by the antics of the Gods. Most of the mythic fiction I’ve encountered has downplayed the celestial cast, written them out of the action entirely, or regulated them to vague supporting roles. Hauser bucks the trend and I caught myself laughing out loud over the drama that played out in the heavens above the battlefield.

Long story short, I found the book entertaining in its way and would recommend it to enthusiasts, but I'm not sure it'd be the first adaptation I’d throw out to other readers when asked for recommended myth based fiction.

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He cocks his head, his excitement rising, like the foaming crest of a wave before the shore. He can almost hear the sharpening of the weapons – the delightful scraping of bronze on stone that means the mortals are at it again. Definitely time for a war, he thinks. It’s getting far too pastoral around here. A little blood to stain the plain, a few heroes fighting and dying, a couple of cities burnt, the columns of soot and ash curling up to heaven, like the smoke of a sacrifice...
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2 comments:

Stephanie - Bookfever said...

Great review! I don't want to jinx it but I think I might enjoy this one since it's about Troy so I'm excited to read it, hopefully soon. :)

Erin Davies said...

Fingers crossed for you! :)

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