Alicia Feilds has done the goddess Athena justice in this wonderful tale. For while Alicia Feilds is no sport when it comes to frills and fluff in her novels, she certainly held my attention with her latest installment in her Goddess Series.
Athena in Greek Mythology was the daughter of Zeus, but known mostly as the goddess of Wisdom. She is one of the most influential goddesses in Greek Mythology and probably one of the most written about besides Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Artemis, Goddess of the Moon. Her mother was Metis, a daughter of the Titans. In the Greek Myth, it was said that if she gave birth to a son it would kill Zeus, so learning that, Zeus swallows Metis whole. Stricken by a headache so strong he began beating his head against the rocks. Hephaestus comes to his father's aide and splits his head open with his mallet. Then is born Athena, the grey-eyed maiden goddess, bearing a bronze helmet and spear. Athens was named after her. But the olive tree and the owl were sacred to her.
If you have never read Alicia's novels, be prepared. Alicia writes with a very realistic eye and her characters are real people with real problems.
Athena grows up in a time when a young girl's place was strongly belived to be at home. Her mother, Metis, the queen, raises her as she would a boy and lets Athena rome wild and carefree. When Athena grows older she becomes very beautiful and she soon learns to resent the fact that she is a girl when plans are made for her to marry her uncle Poseidon (who in Greek Myth is the God of the Sea). Poseidon is a whoremonger and a very evil man, especially when a young girl by the name of Medusa is raped at his hands and turns into the dreaded Gorgon.
Athena, however much she denies it, she is very much in love with Amoni, her childhood friend. They both know that realistically neither can marry the other, but they become lovers instead. Their love story is very gentle but complicated, especially when Amoni realizes that Athena's power is growing and that she will someday rule as queen.
After Athena's childhood friend, Pallas, accidentally dies, events fall into place that changes Athena's life forever. She goes on a journey, with her friend Nike in tow, across the seas disguised both as boys. But the kind captain Ahiram sees Athena for who she truly is and brings her and Nike to come live with him in his palace. In time, Athena becomes more mature and powerful as she understands her place in the world and how she will someday influence it. She learns that she is a part of a story and so returning home, Athena finds her father the king ill. Returning home, her father becomes better, as if Athena's very presence magically chases Death away.
Poseidon is angered at her return, but still makes his claim that he will marry her. He makes the assumption that he is already king even though Athena's father is still alive. So in a contest of wills, Athena and Poseidon have one year to give the kingdom a gift. The one with the best gift, wins the crown. This is an old story of how Athens came to be named, but just to let you know the tale is Athena presence the people with an olive tree while Poseidon presence the people with the horse, but in the book it's the same but Poseidon presents the people with a spring. Athena wins of course.
But there are other mythical parts of this story that I enjoyed, like how Athena found the baby owl when she was young and raised it as her own. Alicia added something to this book that the other two were missing: ancient magic. But just enough to where it was believable and it keeps the reader entertained.
Honestly, this series holds lots of promise and a lot of potential. While Aphrodite's story lacked what Athena's and Persephone's story did, Athena's story will hold you enthralled. Her character is very strong, complex and beautiful. I loved this story and for those of you not reading this series, you are missing out. It's written nothing like P.C Cast, but that's the refreshing part. Alicia Feilds has a style all on her own and while I was hesitant about her in the beginning, she has however won my undying loyalty as a reader with this story.
Thank you, Madame Feilds, for a job well done and keep it coming. For the readers out there, you're missing out. But what it lacks in glitter and flash, this tale is wonderfully written with an artist's eye for clarity and simplicity.