Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Middle Grade
Release Date: January 27st, 2015
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
Check out on GOODREADS
On the day of his birth, Prince Alexos is revealed to be the long-awaited champion of Athene. He grows up lonely, conscious of all that is expected of him. But Alexos discovers that being a champion isn’t about fame and glory–it’s about sacrifice and courage.
Alexos follows the course of his destiny through war and loss and a deadly confrontation with his enemy to its end: shipwreck on a magical, fog-shrouded island. There he meets the unforgettable Aria and faces the greatest challenge of his life.
Now that some of my rage has cooled off, I can say with certainty that this is by far one of the most disappointing books I’ve read this year. When I first saw it on Edelweiss, I was so excited! Greek Myth combined with Fantasy sounded like a dream and I was excited to dive in. I was let down on so many accounts, it’s not even funny. Although I imagine that if anyone had been watching me while I was reading the book, they might disagree.
For starters, this book has almost no elements of fantasy. It reads like historical fiction that’s set in a time when people still believed in the greek gods. That was slightly disappointing but I loved greek myth enough to let that one pass.
The POV this book was written in made it a lot harder for me to stick with the book. It’s written in 3rd person present tense which is just awkward. I kept on thinking it would change at some point but it didn’t and it just kept on throwing me off. At first, I felt like I wasn’t being open enough to the idea of another POV and that it would become easier to read once I got used to it but I never did. I continued to look for things about this book that would make it stick out or would be even a shadow of what had been promised by the blurb.
The main character Alexos was actually pretty decent. I liked how he seemed to continue to push through in spite of all the misfortunes that befell him and while he was brave, smart, kind and giving, he also knew when he had to be a leader. Of course, sometimes I wish he would be a little bit more child-like considering he was just 13. Except when he wasn’t. About half way through the book, there was a 7 year fast forward.
That really got me. What more was that the story wasn’t even being told from his POV anymore after that 7 year skip even though he was supposed to be the main character. A 20/21 year old main character for a middle grade book is a little awkward. What more was that this book some very predictable turns and there was a VERY AWKWARD romance thrown in that pissed me off so much. It’s not that the two characters weren’t compatible, it’s just that they don’t actually know each other. They meet and then BAM. Okay. I need to calm down a little because the romance still bothers me, as you can see quite clearly.
This book was lacking in the world building department as well. We are provided with the bare minimum which is basically some details on the gods that have any influence on the outcome of the story. We are thrown into a world with no other details which is why I said it read more like a historical book than fantasy. As someone who LOVES world building, I was heartbroken! Here we have such great potential yet it’s wasted. It’s barely brushed. I can only imagine the rich world that could have otherwise been created had the potential been utilized.
However, the worst thing about this book was the way in which the conflict was resolved. That broke my heart into pieces. It’s the kind of resolution you expect from picture books, not a novel. Not a novel where there is so much build up and the character goes through so much as a result of his ‘destiny’. We have a build up for nothing because when it comes down to the actual resolution, nothing happens. It’s like when you light a firecracker that you expect to explode but all you get is a tiny crackle.
Throughout the first 60%, I kept making excuses for the book because I expected to get better, I wanted it to get better. I wanted it to blow my mind. I wanted it to be everything it had promised. The last 40% opened my eyes and by the last couple of pages I was craughing and really just wanted the book to end. So much disappointment is not good for the soul.
One might attribute the simplicity of the book to the fact that it’s middle grade. I am obviously not the intended audience but if I had read this book in middle school, I would have been heartbroken because it would have made me realize that not all books are great (I never really read a bad book as a kid… yes I am boasting. A little bit. COME ON. My bubble has already been burst.). Plus, as a kid (and almost adult))who loved adventures , it would have bothered me that something that promised to be a fabulous adventure wasn’t one.
My childish aspirations aside, it’s clear that I wasn’t the intended audience but I don’t know who this book is aimed towards. I suggest that if you’re thinking about reading this one yourself, you may want to skip it unless childish is exactly what you’re looking for after being fed up of everything else.
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