A retelling of the Trojan War from a minor character’s perspective.
Though Hermione—the plain but resourceful daughter of Menelaus and the beautiful Helen (of Troy)—claims to tell her own tale, she instead delivers a montage of Greek mythology, a steady drone of historical details and repetitive observations of Helen’s vanity. After Paris and Helen escape to Troy, Hermione follows her father and cousins into a long war filled with interfering gods, sexual abuse and gory violence. For the next 10 years, former friends become enemies or slaves, and Hermione tries to console captive brides without becoming one. When the war ends, Troy is destroyed, Helen is reclaimed, and Hermione is a woman and a wife, pledged to the cruel Pyrrhus rather than her childhood love, Orestes. Hermione’s subsequent journey to find love and political security provides more room for development but similarly suffers from an abundance of impersonal details. Great retellings take readers behind the scenes of major events and humanize iconic figures. Meyer, however, offers a minimal plotline and underdeveloped characters overshadowed by dozens of other myths, yet such is the power of the story of Troy that readers may still root for Hermione to survive the war as well as her personal battles.
More history than fiction, an unmemorable tale from the “unspectacular daughter” of the famous Helen of Troy. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)