This review contains no spoilers.
This was published as a part of my Alphabetical Book Goal.
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. Not one to count on the gods—or her looks—to take care of her, Helen sets out to get what she wants with steely determination and a sassy attitude. That same attitude makes Helen a few enemies—such as the self-proclaimed “son of Zeus” Theseus—but it also intrigues, charms, and amuses those who become her friends, from the famed huntress Atalanta to the young priestess who is the Oracle of Delphi.
I love anything Greek or Roman. I guess I would fit in well with Renaissance Humanists. It was a well written book and a pretty decent story and if it introduces Helen and the Trojan War to a new generation of readers then I’m all for it. If I had read this as a younger person, or maybe as the middle schooler that this is intended for, I might have enjoyed it more.
My biggest issue with the book was the unbelievability of it. Yes I’d love to imagine Helen as a tom boy, however, given beauty standards of the time and just the amount of work that girls had to go through to maintain themselves, I have a hard time believing that she could have done all of these things. This isn’t even dealing with if her parents would have allowed her to do this or not. So far as I am aware there is no historical basis for Helen’s characterization.
My gripes about the main character aside, there was clearly a lot of research put into this book. Everything that I read was well researched and had a definite basis in face. There were no facts that were wrong and the day-to-day life of the characters was a good snapshot as to how they might really have lived.
I’d reccomend this for younger readers who are just beginning to be interested in history. They might not be as bothered by Helen as I was, and might be young enough for it to be believable. If you want really solid historical fiction, I’d read something else.
Maybe if the author had decided to tell a story about a random, nameless, Spartan princess I might have liked it more. However, because it was stated to be about Helen of Sparta – the face that sailed a thousand ships – I was expecting something different.