Title: Daughter of Sparta
Series: Daughter of Sparta #1
Author: Claire M. Andrews
Genre: YA, Mythology, Retellings
Published: June 8th, 2021 (Jimmy Patterson Books)
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body and mind into that of a warrior, hoping to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But an unexpected encounter with the goddess Artemis—who holds Daphne’s brother’s fate in her hands—upends the life she’s worked so hard to build. Nine mysterious items have been stolen from Mount Olympus and if Daphne cannot find them, the gods’ waning powers will fade away, the mortal world will descend into chaos, and her brother’s life will be forfeit.
Guided by Artemis’s twin – the handsome and entirely-too-self-assured god Apollo – Daphne’s journey will take her from the labyrinth of the Minotaur to the riddle-spinning Sphinx of Thebes, team her up with mythological legends such as Theseus and Hippolyta of the Amazons, and pit her against the gods themselves.
A reinterpretation of the classic Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo, Daughter of Sparta by debut author Claire Andrews turns the traditionally male-dominated mythology we know into a heart-pounding and empowering female-led adventure.
Daphne has trained all her life to be a warrior, hoping to one day be accepted by the people of Sparta who look upon her as an outsider. When Daphne’s brother runs afoul of the goddess Artemis, the only way she can save him is to undertake a quest to retrieve nine powerful items that have been stolen from Mount Olympus. If she cannot find and return them in time, not only will she lose her brother, but the power of the gods will fade, throwing the mortal world into chaos. Accompanied by Artemis’ twin, the handsome Apollo as her guide, Daphne sets out on a journey that will take her across Greece and put her warrior skills to the test.
Greek mythology based books are ones I will never tire of reading because it’s so interesting to see each author’s interpretation of the myths and legends. Feminist retellings of stories from this traditionally male dominated era are becoming more popular as well, and they make for some truly fascinating reads. I was particularly intrigued by this one because the author chose to reimagine the story of Daphne and Apollo with Daphne as the protagonist and it works surprisingly well. Her various adventures are marvellously written and it was fun to see the author’s twist on the tale.
Daphne was a fantastic protagonist. All she has ever wanted was to be accepted as a true Spartan by her people and her zeal to prove her worth drives much of her actions throughout the book. A fierce and determined character, she was very easy to connect to and root for right from the beginning and her resilience when faced with terrible odds, to push through and succeed was admirable. I really enjoyed her character arc and after all she has faced and learned in this book, I’m curious to see what she will be like on her next adventures. Apollo, on the other hand, initially appeared to be little more than your standard arrogant god, but progressed into a surprisingly good character growth that shows a much more human side to the immortal and I actually ended up rather enjoying the enemies to lovers romance even though there wasn’t too much of a focus on it.
While it was interesting to see such a melding of myths, I must admit, it was a little odd that Daphne undertook all these quests that not only did not overlap in the original stories, but were also carried out by a bunch of different demigods who never make an appearance in this retelling. It felt like an extreme overhaul of Greek mythology at times, which is not a bad thing, but for someone like me who is very well acquainted with the original stories, it felt a little jarring. For this reason, I think this might actually be a better choice for someone with lesser background knowledge on the subject as they would be able to fully enjoy the story without needing to pause and figure out which myth is being retold.
Daughter of Sparta was a great read and one of the most unique Greek mythology retellings I’ve ever come across. Though it ends without a cliffhanger and the main conflict is more or less wrapped up, there are still more than enough questions left to be answered, especially since the major mystery of who Daphne really is was never revealed. After this fun and fast-paced read, I can’t wait to see what the sequel will be like. I would highly recommend this for all Greek mythology fans, and particularly if you enjoyed the Percy Jackson books.
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
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