This is the third story in Emily Hauser's "Golden Apples" trilogy, this time foregrounding two apparently very different women: Hippolyta, warrior queen of the Amazons, and the gentle Admete, a Greek princess but more importantly a healer. Thus a ruthless killer is set in contrast with a dedicated healer. But as their stories merge, we see them both suffer at the hands of men. Hippolyta is grossly mistreated as the captive/wife of Theseus and Admete is firmly put in her place by her travelling companion, the single-minded would-be immortal, Hercules, whose only interest is in completing his final labour and winning the favour of the gods. Now, while I appreciate that Hauser's goal is to rework myth and epic so as to promote a feminist agenda, I do wonder why every male must therefore be a tyrannical, self-regarding, despicable, misogynist bastard. If she can portray a normal, wide range of female personalities (and she can), then why can't her men be more than one-dimensional egotists? A little more subtly of approach would be nice. This is my only reservation about the book. Otherwise, it is well written, engaging, lively and, unlike the other two in the series, a story that takes a cheeky look at itself. Because near the end, via Admete, Hauser pays homage to the bards and wandering storytellers from the ancient world who kept these myths alive by word of mouth. And she encourages one of them to start thinking about writing the words down, so that these epic tales might last for ever.
I’ve been a huge fan of the Golden Apple trilogy for a while, so you can imagine my delight when I was invited onto the For The Immortal blog tour.
Emily really has a fantastic way of making the Greek legends come to life in this fantastic book. The reader really feels like they have been transported to ancient Greece, watching events unfold. I could almost smell the herbs that Admete used for her healing and smell the sweat, fear and blood from the fierce Amazon battles.
The story is told from the point of view of two very strong and determined woman from very different worlds. Hippolyta is a fierce Amazon warrior queen who shows great skills on the battlefield but has a big heart when it comes to her tribe, particularly the children. Admete is a princess but works hard at being a healer which she really enjoys. She too has a big heart when it comes to her family and it is her desire to help her I’ll brother that makes her go on Hercules quest. I actually liked both characters which made it hard to decide whose side I was on as I wanted them both to succeed!
This is a fast paced and gripping story that intrigued me straight away. I was instantly hooked and kept turning the pages to find out what would happen next. The author clearly knows her stuff when it comes to Greek history and I loved all the historical details about what life was like then and the food they used to eat. I had of course heard of Hercules before (mainly sadly from the Disney film) but didn’t know much about his story so found this book to be a fascinating read.
This is Emily’s third book and a brilliant conclusion to the Golden Apple trilogy. It can easily be read as a standalone alone however as each book is about a different Greek Legends so there isn’t much overlap.
Huge thanks to Hannah Bright and Transworld publishers for my copy of this book and for inviting me onto the blog tour. If you like gripping historical fiction I think you’ll like this book!
Hippolyta is the Queen of the Amazons, a race of fierce female warriors who live in Scythia, proud to be an Amazon, Hippolyta has a secret she keeps from her people. Admete is a princess of Greece but her mother was an Amazon, skilled in healing Admete wants to travel to the lands of her mother's race to seek a cure for her sick brother. Alcides is the son of Zeus but in order to gain immortality he must complete 12 labours and his final one is to capture the warbler of Hippolyta. Weaving together the twelve labours of Hercules, the backstory of Achilles and the Trojan War, this book gives a different perspective on the Great myths. Hauser is an accomplished writer, her knowledge of the myths and Ancient Greece as a whole are outstanding and the artistic licence she takes is fully explained in the accompanying notes. What is also strong in her writing is the characterisation and emotions she brings to the tales. The humiliation of Hippolyta at the hands of Theseus is heart-wrenching.
To be honest I'm new to Emily Hauser and when I saw the premise I was more than intrigued as I remembered a part of it being used as back story in the recent Wonder Woman film. However upon receiving it and learning that it was the third part in a trilogy I was a little upset as I hadn't read the other two and worried that I wouldn't get everything out of it that I should do.
What occurred within was, for me, a book that can be read as a standalone without leaving you feeling that you're missing anything from the previous two. The characters are rounded and whilst the males are all detestable (which to be honest I suspect that they probably were in that time period) the female protagonists came across very well. I liked the dialogue, loved the way that their interactions spoke volumes as to their goals and drive alongside admiring the way that the story was very organic despite falling back into mythology.
All round, it was a book that I really enjoyed spending time with and I will be picking up the earlier two novels to get the full flavour and have already added Emily to my TBR list for future endeavours. Magic