I’m just not familiar enough with mythology to be able to read and really understand these books. I’ve read The Illiad by Homer and Ransom by David Malouf, The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood and other re-fictionalized fictions. I think I liked this one the least of the bunch.
For one thing until I got to the first love scene I really thought I’d wandered into a “very young” adult or “older child” book – 12 year-olds. This is because the vocabulary and writing style are so simple, barely any 2 syllable words (except for the names, of course). Another reason is that it starts out about 2 young boys, Achilles and Patrocles, and imagines their growth to manhood and war.
I wanted to put it down many times, but I did so enjoy Malouf’s Ransom and held that out as hope. Also, there was something compelling about the situation between Achilles, Patrocles, Theta, Bresias, Agamemnon, Odeyssus, and the gang.
Basically, the boys meet because Patrocles is exiled from his home country and sent to Achilles’ father to raise. As they grow up they also fall in love with each other. Achilles has to become a war hero but there are costs –
I got the enhanced version for the iPad (etc) which included a lovely glossary, audio samples and a couple interviews with the author and Gregory Maguire.