Friday, October 7, 2011
Review: Hades' Daughter by Sara Douglass
After the pregnant Ariadne is spurned by Theseus in favor of her younger sister she sets about enacting her revenge. She strikes a deal with the shade of her murdered half-brother the minotaur Asterion and with their combined power they destroy the games, magical protection wards, of the Greek cities plunging the Mediterranean world into a downward spiral. Asterion is free to reincarnate himself as a result, however Ariadne left the game intact in one minor Greek city intending her descendents to recreate the game, betray Asterion and sieze power. Now hundreds of years later Ariadne's descendent Genvissa puts this plan into action. She appears to Brutus, heir to the Troy game, as Artemis and promises him power and the rebuilding of a new and better Troy in Llangarlia (in Britain). As part of her plan Genvissa sends Brutus to Mesopotama, the only city with an intact game, to test him. However Genvissa did not foresee Brutus taking the princess Cornelia forcefully as his wife and while Genvissa believes Asterion is netralized he may be able to make use of Cornelia for his own purposes.
The historic aspects of this novel are very well researched. The story itself has definte echoes of the style of a Greek tradegdy and works all the better for it. I found the concept of all of the disaters that occured in the hellenic world in this period being part of Ariadne's revenge a particularly interesring twist.
Douglas presents the characters in an interesting light casting none of them as heroes or villians of the piece, all having a somewhat reasonable agenda. Brutus and Cornelia and their dysfunctional relationship take centre stage and while both of them do rather despicable things Douglass does an excellent job of keeping sympathy for them. Cornelia's character develops very well throughout the novel and the descision to have some chapters told from her first person perspctive was a shrewd one.
Overall Douglass produces an interesting tale that will appeal to both fans of fantasy and historic fiction. 8.5/10.