Tag: Historical Romance (page 1 of 5)

BOOK REVIEW – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

BOOK REVIEW – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony DoerrAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Purchase on: Amazon
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane.

When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure's agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance.

Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

Doerr's gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work.

5 stars for now because I will never forget this story. What they mean, will they stick, is another story. I may be able to review this novel in 20 minutes or days or years. For now I feel betrayed and speechless and sick and humbled and haunted and confused and hopeful and depressed and mad and bewitched and exhausted.

Perhaps I’m supposed to. Perhaps I’m not.

“I need to gather my thoughts” never sounded so fitting, really. Trust me, you don’t want to be in my head right now, because I’m so fucking incoherent – I tried explaining aloud what I felt and why I felt it, and then I realized that I cannot : in this very moment, Anthony Doerr‘s characters are just far too complex for me to express why I want to curl up and cry – from sadness, from joy, really, who the fuck cares.

In the end, I’m crying. Why I am is irrelevant.

Oh, fuck this – who am I kidding really. I AM CRUSHED.

So many words fighting in my head and here I am, chasing behind, restless. Enraptured by the beautiful – formidable – imagery, I was torn open by the ceaseless tension all the same.

Never have I wished so hard for the little lights to overtake the darkness. Perhaps they did. Right now, I’m in a dark place, but look, there, isn’t it a little spark of hope struggling? Let’s see what tomorrow will bring, shall we?

Or next year.

D + 1 : One day after, I still can’t escape this book – I barely slept, I’m stupidly tearing up at the most awkward moments, and pages and pages of my rambling (that I shall or shall not share someday) keep adding up in my computer. Damn you, Anthony Doerr. You may have broken me.

* A little addition because I need to get it off my chest *

Rarely did a novel make me think and argue so much round and round in circles. When I mentioned Werner around me, people told me that I shouldn’t bother with him. He’s a German during WWII, he’s a Nazi, you know. WHY DO YOU FUCKING BOTHER. HOW CAN YOU CARE. He condoned. How can his fate be interesting. How can his childhood seem insightful to you. Are you excusing him? He’s a monster through and through – as if monsters were born and not created.

By no means do I excuse his actions. By no means does Anthony Doerr excuse his actions, either. That is not what it’s about at all. And yet, and yet. My pupils – my smart, compassionate pupils of 10 – they would be so easily influenced. I can’t not SEE it. It’s no secret that we French are very strict on political and religious neutrality as teachers, and this is something I really care about. But it doesn’t mean that children aren’t influenced. They hear so many stupid and mindless things every day, on TV, or everywhere really.

In that aspect, being a teacher is very much like demining sometimes. No, there aren’t different categories of French. No, there’s no such thing as a true French. No, there are not different species of humans on Earth. Only one. And every time, every time, I can’t help but think – but what if? What if someone else answered – differently, with a heart full of hate? WHAT IF, THEN?

I guess that what I wanted to say, albeit clumsily, is this : you who dismiss the influence of the brainwashing of children in History, how can you, when you lived all your life in a free environment, turn a blind eye on so many injustices because it suits you? How can you not see that our Present is the future History and that all our decisions, as a country, matter?

I’m angry at town councils around here who refuse to welcome refugees. I’m angry and depressed by the number of people in my country who think that the far right party is a good idea. It’s so easy to draw generalities – sometimes I think, especially lately when my fellow French’s votes scare the shit out of me – and if they managed to elect this racist, stupid shit? Where would go my voice? Where would go my pupils’ voices? In which country would they grow as adults? It sickens me to even consider it.

So, Werner. My heart shattered for him – this disaster waiting to happen, the raw hopelessness of his childhood, and the fall, the fall, the fall – Anthony Doerr created such a believable and heartbreaking character. I cannot thank him enough for it.

When my pupils ask me what the purpose of History is, I answer them that we need History to understand our Present – I would love to assure them that we use History to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again, but really, it would be a lie, right? Even they can see it. Yet we need History so much, and we need books like All the Light We Cannot See. Of that I’m sure.

BOOK REVIEW – Lion Heart (Scarlet #3) by A.C. Gaughen

BOOK REVIEW – Lion Heart (Scarlet #3) by A.C. GaughenLion Heart (Scarlet #3)
by A.C. Gaughen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Only the greatest loves can survive great danger. . .

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape, she learns that King Richard's life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine needs Scarlet's help to free him. For a lifelong thief, this newfound allegiance to the crown-her family-is a strange feeling.

Scarlet knows that helping Eleanor will put her and those she loves back in Prince John's sights. Desperate not to risk anyone's life but her own, Scarlet formulates a plan to help save the king on her own. But fate-and her heart-won't allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long. Even if Scarlet and Rob can together stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England, will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

Review:

I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the friends I had found in these pages.  Whether it was the side characters, who I surprisingly teared up for more than once, or Rob and Scar, they all stood out and became unforgettable.  Each of them helped make this trilogy my favorite retelling of Robin Hood ever!  But I do have a warning, that ending left me wanting so much more!  But regardless of the ending, if you’re looking for a series that is filled with action, adventure, love, honor, and friendship then this is your book!

He drew a breath and closed his eyes, his throat working. “There are a million ways this can end badly, Scar.”
I nodded.  “There always were.”

We started out the story with Scar in prison, guarded by a new character David.  Let it be known, that I absolutely adored David!  He accompanied Scar on her journey, after her escape from Prince John’s imprisonment, and his interaction with another character had he laughing so hard!  The banter between David and this other character, who shall not be named, made me feel as though they were falling for each other.  But their conflicts, banter, and secret moments were left unanswered.  And I so wish that it would have been explained and touched upon.

Ruin. Ruin were all around me, and I couldn’t stop it none. I brought it to me like I were calling it down from the sky.

But as their journey progressed, something was blatantly missing.  Rob.  My heart ached for Rob and Scar to meet up and be back together again!  I just wanted them to have another kiss, another stolen moment, another time where they could be happy.  And ohhhhhh what I got was SO much more than I ever could have wanted.  I was beyond ecstatic with how Scar and Rob’s love transformed and those scenes were definitely my favorite moments in this book.  Both of them were brave, fearless when needed, and brought so much good into the world that they deserved each other.  They were the best pairing I have ever seen in a Robin Hood story!

And then he kissed me, and stars flooded through me, glittering and dancing and heating me with their fire as he pulled me to shore. He pulled me up onto the rock, and he kissed me until it were dark.

But even though this is my favorite Robin Hood retelling, and I loved Rob and Scar together, that ending left so much to be desired for.  It felt as though it was rushed, and I was left wanting more resolutions.  Repercussions I wanted handed out didn’t exist, and I was left feeling a little nervous over Rob and Scar’s future.  And then there was a death that was lost in the shuffle, which made me so very sad.  So I closed this book feeling utterly conflicted.  Because Lion Heart was a solid 5 until those last few chapters.

The pains in our love were never far below the surface, like the blood in the bruises they left.

Saying all of that, this series was still phenomenal.  It had a kick ass heroine, a sexy as sin hero, and action that dropped my stomach!  These books were so much fun!  Yet if you’re like me and prefer your endings a little bit more tied up, then just proceed cautiously.  Because knowing what I know now, I’d still read this series all over again!

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)
scarlet a.c. gaughen
Scarlet
#1
Reviews:
Jen
Chelsea

Anna
Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen
Lady Thief #2
Reviews:

Jen

Chelsea
lion heart a.c. gaughen
Lion Heart #3
Reviews:

Jen

Chelsea

BOOK REVIEW – Lady Thief (Scarlet #2) by A.C. Gaughen

BOOK REVIEW – Lady Thief (Scarlet #2) by A.C. GaughenLady Thief (Scarlet #2)
by A.C. Gaughen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Scarlet's true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet's love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet's past even she isn't yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman-a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin's cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet's tale will have readers talking once again.

Review:

I have a confession. *deep breath* Lady Thief has become my favorite retelling of Robin Hood.  Ever.  I’m so sorry movies I’ve watched countless times, but this book was absolutely perfect.  But the funny thing is, I started out oh so cautious.  I was beyond nervous that the love triangle would make a reappearance, but thankfully it’s long gone.  In its place are far more sinister things to try to keep Rob and Scar apart, like torturous nightmares and a deranged husband.  Those only added to the list of reasons why I fell so hard for this book.  And here are the rest –


A brave, almost fearless heroine!

“Hurt me if you want, but I’ve felt pain. I know what pain is. And it’s less than love, than loyalty, than hope. You can make me cry, or scream, or whatever else. All that will mean is that I feel the pain, that I’m still alive. And as long as I’m living I can promise I’m not afraid of you, Gisbourne. I’m afraid of sitting quiet while the people that are meant to protect others do their best to hurt them. I’m afraid of people like you and Prince John going by unchecked. That’s what I’m afraid of. I’m stronger than your damn pain, and I do not give up.”

As I said in the first book’s review, it’s a breath of fresh air that Rob, aka Robin Hood, is with a woman that’s his equal!  Scarlet was resourceful, clever, and put herself out there not only to give the townspeople a better life but also to try and give her and Rob a happily ever after.  Her heart and mind always led her on the path to protect others.  Even knowing that she could be the one who had to suffer the consequences.


A book boyfriend that is a true hero.

“These schemes may benefit the people, Scarlet, but I fight for you.” His hands squeezed my waist a little bit, and it made my blood run fast. “I will always fight for you.”

No matter the horrors that Rob had to face, he always fell back into that hero position.  Whether he was the shadow that appeared to help Scar in a situation to protect a child or by trying to win a title against men in power, he was a true hero.  But the way he tried to protect and love Scar shined the brightest to me.  It quickened my heartbeat and made me want to curl into a happy little ball.  I desperately wanted more of those moments.


Side characters who warm your heart with their friendship and loyalty.  John, Mulch and a few new characters that were introduced added the support and commodore that Rob and Scar deserved.  It helped knowing that they had others, besides one another, to help them along the way.  And at times they offered lightheartedness and smiles that were much needed.


Villains who earned their name and then some.

I twisted the gold band on my finger, hating it anew. My time had run out, and my husband were returning to Nottinghamshire.

I thought I only had to be concerned about Gisbourne, but I was dead wrong.  We met an even more sinister man than him.  And between the two of them, I was constantly fearful for Scar and everyone else’s safety!  They didn’t hold back when their wrath was palpable.  Just look to the next point to learn more……


Peril that will gut you like Scarlet’s knife.

“Don’t die, Scar. He doesn’t come back from this if you die.” – Much to Scar

I wasn’t prepared.  Not at all.  Even after learning about the board that was used on Rob, I still didn’t believe things could escalate to the level that they did.  After the scenes had passed, I stared at my kindle in horror.  Yes, nauseating horror rolled around inside of me.  I’m still in shock that some things happened!  But I’m also in awe that Lady Thief was that intense. 


Mystery that appears as tiny little drops of clues that I wanted to crush together to discover the truth.

There were quite a few mysteries in Lady Thief, and I loved every moment of trying to figure them out.  Whether it was the motives of the new characters we met or even the old ones we knew so well, there was always something to analyze.  And I have to say I knew it in regards to Scar!!  And that is all, muahaha.

His arms began to loosen, but I fast whispered, “Kiss me, Rob.”

For Scar and Rob, it seems as though no amount of good can ever come into their lives without the bad.  And after that ending, I’m desperate to see what will happen next.  But till then, just know that Lady Thief was cry worthy, sigh inducing, thrilling, horrifying and epic.  Now I’m off to the final book, and I’m beyond nervous!

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)
scarlet a.c. gaughen
Scarlet
#1
Reviews:
Jen
Chelsea

Anna
Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen
Lady Thief #2
Reviews:

Jen

Chelsea
lion heart a.c. gaughen
Lion Heart #3
Reviews:

Jen

Chelsea

BOOK REVIEW – Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C Gaughen

BOOK REVIEW – Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C GaughenScarlet (Scarlet #1)
by A.C. Gaughen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Posing as one of Robin Hood's thieves to avoid the evil Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only Big John and Robin Hood know the truth-that the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. It's getting harder to hide as Gisbourne's camp seeks to find Scarlet and drive Robin Hood out of Nottinghamshire.

But Scarlet's instinct for self-preservation is at war with a strong sense of responsibility to the people who took her in when she was on the run, and she finds it's not so easy to turn her back on her band and townspeople. As Gisbourne draws closer to Scarlet and puts innocent lives at risk, she must decide how much the people of Nottinghamshire mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles and temper have the rare power to unsettle Scarlet. Full of exciting action, secrets, and romance, this imaginative retelling of the classic tale will have readers following every move of Robin Hood and band of thieves.

Review:

Scarlet was an adventurous story that was filled to the brim with excitement and hardships at many turns.  I was a little nervous stepping into a book that contained characters that I hold near and dear to my heart, but I loved how Scarlet felt familiar yet was uniquely different at the same time!  While I did have some issues with a love triangle, I can’t wait to see what happens with the rest of this trilogy.  Especially after that fabulous life and death ending!

I swallowed. “We watch each others’ backs.”
He nodded. “Precisely.”

One of my favorite changes to this story is the addition of a female in Robin Hood’s group.  She goes by Will Scarlet, or Scar as their little band call her.  The majority of the townspeople believe that she is a boy, but a select few know her secret.  And it was so much fun seeing the female being painted as the thief within their group!  As someone who loves females with a backbone and can stand on their own, I was ecstatic with Robin Hood’s possible love interest.  In the previous stories, Robin Hood was always paired with a woman who needs to be rescued or taken care of, which always bothered me.  Robin Hood deserves a fighter, a woman who can be his equal and stand by his side!  And while Scarlet is that woman, there’s one small problem.  She really isn’t his.

“…..if you stay, I’ll keep you safe as best I can.” – Rob to Scar

And here lies my struggle with this book and Scarlet.  She tested my patience time and time again by showing interest in both John (aka John Little) and Rob (aka Robin Hood).  I felt as though she toyed with them throughout the story.  BUT toy isn’t the correct word because she is only 18 and doesn’t have any experience with love or relationships.  Yet I was left feeling as though I wanted to shake her while yelling at her to make up her mind.  But I still liked Scarlet because her heart was in the right place so many times.  Not only by protecting the townspeople, but her little group too.  She put her life on the line for so many of them again and again, which made for some amazing perilous situations.

He caught my wrist before I were full out the door. “Scar,” he said, rough, like rocks were running over his tongue. “I have done so many unforgivable things in my life. Don’t let failing to save you be another.”

And while I’m talking about struggles, some may have a few issues with the writing.  But please know that I absolutely adored the way this story was written!  I easily adapted into how the words came across, and it seemed like a unique mix of past, present, and dialect that would easily be found from that time period.

He pressed my cheek with the cloth again, and then his hand touched my cheek, hot after the cold water. “I hate seeing you hurt.”
The air whooshed from my chest but I rolled my eyes ’stead of letting on. “No one gets all bent up over John being bruised.”
He stepped back, looking into my eyes. I felt like my eyes were unprotected without my hat.
“Scar, you walked in here covered in blood. You don’t see how that would upset us?”
“No.”
He caught my chin in his fingers. “Like it or not, Scar, we’re your friends. We care about you. I care about you.”

You know what else I loved?  Rob!  He was quiet yet powerful, and he had a heart of gold.  He tried so hard to take care of others who weren’t able to care for themselves.  And he wore their pain and suffering heavily on his shoulders, while keeping it all to himself.  It even felt as though he purposely contradicted himself so others wouldn’t know how he felt.  He did this multiple times with Scarlet, and I was dying to know the truth and his inner thoughts!  I can’t wait to learn more about Rob as the trilogy unfolds!

He grabbed my arms, bringing me close to his face, and his eyes looked like the ocean, deep and dark and full of things I knew nothing ’bout. “We don’t lie to each other, Scar. Especially not about things that mean I might lose you.”
My breath froze in my chest. Did he just say that?
He let me go. “Because losing one member would put the whole band at risk. Do you understand?”

John and Much rounded out their little group, and the story proceeds with them trying to protect the townspeople from the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.  Their group of four steal and loot all in the name of the greater good, yet twists unfold that take a typical Robin Hood story-line into another area.  Because Scarlet is being hunted by an evil Lord, Gisbourne.  And with him close on their tails, everything is about to spiral out of control.  This is definitely a world you should step into.  And I can’t wait to see what is going to happen after that fabulous, perilous ending!!

P.S. Random fact – I absolutely adore the Disney and Robin Hood:Prince of Thieves movies, so with those story-lines floating around in my head, I dove right into Scarlet.  This story was just as unique as those two movies are from each other.  I’m so very happy about that!

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)
scarlet a.c. gaughen
Scarlet
#1
Reviews:
Jen
Chelsea

Anna
Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen
Lady Thief #2
Reviews:

Jen

Chelsea
lion heart a.c. gaughen
Lion Heart #3
Reviews:

Jen

Chelsea

BOOK REVIEW – The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

BOOK REVIEW – The Song of Achilles by Madeline MillerThe Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The legend begins...

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles' mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.
But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear

► After having hesitated for a long time, I decided to give 4 stars to The Song of Achilles, no matter how flawed I thought it was. The reason for this is that I know that this book will linger, and that I treasure this kind of feelings above everything. This being said, it does not mean that I’m able to overlook what annoyed me, and I will try to give it the fairest review possible – if such thing really exists, which I doubt.

Look, I’m not going to argue over details and trying to decipher if Madeline Miller stays true to the original(s) because for me there is no such thing as a perfect retelling, but I’ll say this : she manages to mix the greatest events of the Iliad with crediting other opinions, as Eschyle’s, and fills in the blanks, creating this way a believable and captivating story with them. What more would we ask for? If reading this book can convince people to have a look at classics, I’d say that The Song of Achilles is without any doubt a success, and I immensely enjoyed every one of the references.

Madeline Miller‘s writing, if not exempt of purple prose sometimes (I’ll come back to that), stays compelling and flows smoothly, capturing these Great characters in a simple light that I found really enjoyable. One might say that most of the story is rather dull, and I sure cannot disagree with them. Yet even if I wanted more, I do understand the path Miller chose : this is not the story of great battles and honors. This is the story of the men behind them. Stripped of the sparkling lights of fame, they remain flawed men whose lives also know their fair share of boredom and everyday events. Oh, and they made me laugh, too. I swear!

Along the way The Song of Achilles brings an interesting thinking about what it means to be famous and the dangers of losing who we are to fulfill our pride’s needs. In that, she nails her subject in my opinion, as well as the evolution of Patroclus’ love for Achilles. See, if you take an unflinching look at all these Greek Heroes and Gods, they’ve really nothing to be proud of, to be honest. Parricides. Fratricides. Rapists. Liars. Self-absorbed. Mad. So very stupid, really. I loved that she didn’t try to make us love them but offered some pieces of understanding – yes, I’m talking about Achilles.

“Who was he if not miraculous and radiant? Who was he if not destined for fame?”

Unfortunately the pacing was uneven and the second half didn’t work for me as much as the beginning. Bored, I grew restless, my inner devil urging me to skim (I didn’t), especially between 60 and 75%. The ending makes it worth it, though. I’m not one for changing my rating because of the way a book ends but I can’t deny that the way Madeline Miller splendidly wrapped her plot impressed me so much that I know it influenced my rating a little.

“This feeling was different. I found myself grinning until my cheeks hurt, my scalp prickling till I thought it might lift off my head. My tongue ran away from me, giddy with freedom. This and this and this, I said to him. I did not have to fear that I spoke too much. I did not have to worry that I was too slender or too slow. This and this and this!”

I know that many readers didn’t like that aspect, but one of my favorite part was the romance, especially because it was flawed. Beware, the first half is mostly focused on Patroclus and Achilles’ growing relationship, so if you can’t stand romance it could be hard to handle (just thought I’d warn you :P)

In my opinion the way Patroclus went from a blind – and, really, obsessed – love for Achilles to the lucid acceptation of his flaws was wonderfully handled. It didn’t start promisingly, though. I mean, in the beginning Patroclus worships Achilles way too much, nurtures some weird fixation on his feet (I swear! He can’t stop mentioning them!) and can’t keep his mouth shut about how fucking beautiful Achilles is. So as a reviewer the only thing I can say is – it is there. If you’re put off by somewhat unrealistic and purple descriptions of love from a young teenager it will upset you. But as a reviewer I must also say that for someone who can’t stand purple prose 9 times out of 10, I still loved it, because I understood Patroclus need to be accepted and how he transferred it to his princely companion. Not to mention that his love evolves along with him, and more we progress through the story, more it appears that his puppy love morphs into something way more mature and realistic.

“I know, now, how I would answer Chiron. I would say : there is no answer. Whichever you choose, you are wrong.”

But let’s talk about Patroclus, okay? I adored him and the way his character grew through the story. From a shy and rejected child to a fierce and compassionate man, he is complex and cannot be limited to his relationship with Achilles. Loyal, he’s still able to see the mistakes his lover does and always tries his best to find the best way to handle things. He’s not perfect, but really, nobody is, and that’s for the best. In a world where warriors are put on pedestals, how to survive when you prefer healing than killing?

“My stomach feels burned to cinders; my palms ache where my nails have cut into them. I do not know this man, I think. He is no one I have ever seen before”

My feelings towards Achilles are way more complicated, but I don’t think we’re meant to love him. See, I always pictured Achilles as this bragging proud hulk – and there are hints of this part of him still, yes. He doesn’t know how to be himself in a different way, and if his young self is pretty likeable, he grows more and more indifferent to everything but Patroclus and himself. His conscience seems to go MIA several times and I sure can’t forgive some of the decisions he took (especially toward women), but again, I’m not supposed to.

“He is a weapon, a killer. Do not forget it. You can use a spear as a walking stick, but that will not change its nature.”

Yet his love for Patroclus was so big, I couldn’t help but feel, if not sorry, but sad for him and for the path his life took. However, I never fully connected with him and I regret that his character wasn’t as true-to-life than Patroclus, especially as an adult (I really liked his teen self full of mischief, though).

If I’m being honest, at first I had a hard time understanding why Patroclus loved him so much – except because he was handsome and skilled, it goes without saying. But as I stated earlier, I genuinely think that Achilles fulfilled Patroclus fierce need to be accepted, to be taken care of – and I can’t argue with that.

As for the other characters, I applaud Madeline Miller for making them feel so real, even if I would have wanted better roles for the women, who either stay overshadowed and grandly mistreated and abused (I know that this world was harsh and unforgiving towards women, but still, I was furious) or are pictured as greedy bitches. They are the big absent of this story, and that’s a shame – but this is the case in the original(s), therefore I’m not sure I can hold a grudge against Miller for this. I did appreciate how Patroclus tried to make things better in the end, even if it wasn’t enough.

A special award for Chiron – God, this sarcastic Centaur is perhaps my favorite character in the whole book. Well, except Patroclus.

“He paused. “You have been taught to ride, I suppose?”
We nodded, quickly.
“That is unfortunate. Forget what you learned. I do not like to be quizzed by legs or tugged at.”

► To sum-up, if you have an interest in Greek Mythology and don’t shy away from romance, I think you should give this book a chance. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

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