“You see?' said Prometheus. 'It is your fate to be Heracles the hero, burdened with labours, yet it is also your choice. You choose to submit to it. Such is the paradox of living. We willingly accept that we have no will.”
Heroes by Stephen Fry is a gift, his Great Mythology series in general is a gift. I have loved the Greeks since I was kid, but in school it was barely touched upon. There is a lot of history and stories to wade through and I will happily let Fry do all the work for me, he's chosen cleverly to split the stories to make it easier for the reader. Book one focused on the birth and general histories of the Gods leaving room for further books to focus on other parts, and I'm glad he did. A lot of these hero stories are familiar to me, but I might not have known the whole thing, or known where the went after completing the task they're most famous for.
I also listened to this as an audiobook and I loved it, it might not be to everyone's taste though. Fry has written this with his distinct British quirky sense of humour, which translates whilst reading, but really comes into its own when he's narrating. Does he give his characters accents they would never of had, yes. Does it matter?? To me, no. It adds to the humour, adds to the silliness. I'd rather that then he butcher a Greek accent.
I can't wait for the next instalment Troy, which I've actually pre-ordered. Something I never do, but you know...when in lockdown. I was hoping it would be a book focused on the monsters and the baddies, but since watching the BBC adaptation and learning there was a lot more behind the story I'm really looking forward to it.
I really like Nemesis but I can't continue with the huge plot holes. I have way too many questions about the basic world building and technology. If science and learning are outlawed, then how were Diabolics created? It makes them seem like a new creation, but isn't new science outlawed? And where do you draw the line on blasphemy? Is learning to sew a crime? What is considered BAD learning?
Again, Nemesis is cool. But I take too many issues with the plot.
This was a quick read, and well paced.
The whole premise of the book is pretty absurd. Let me break it down. First, this girl runs away to join the circus in 2016. Most circuses by that point had gone belly-up, but this girl seems to just stumble over more than one in a tiny UK coastal town. Very unlikely.
And that leads us to Willow, our main character. She is flawed, but not in a relatable way. She has a rich daddy who owns her off on others and can't be bothered to take care of her because "she looks too much like her", his ex and mother of Willow. So Willow spends the whole book as a runaway, while recounting other escape attempts. Some seemed understandable while most seemed straight up spoiled brat moves. And that's where being flawed too much comes into play. How can I feel sympathy for a character when she is clearly in the wrong? The book opens with her ruining her step-mother's wedding dress. And by the end of the book, we still don't have an excuse for why she did it and why she hates her stepmom. Because she's young? Pregnant? We are never given a good reason, so most of Willow's behavior comes off as ridiculous and petty.
And I would like to note that for a girl so "prepared" for this runaway episode, she didn't know squat about street life. She had a list of rules to follow but not one said anything about going anywhere with strangers. She kept putting herself in incredibly dangerous situations because she was too stupid to think "hey, maybe I shouldn't tease the creepy smelly ticket seller" or "don't go into a stranger's house".
In the end, we get closure with a neat bow on top, but seriously? Nobody learned a lesson. Daddy still admitted to not really loving Willow, but he cries big fat tears of joy when she returns home to him. And let's not forget there are 17 years of distant "throw money at it until it goes away" parenting and never really even remembering she exists. You never learn why Willow hates her stepmom. You never learn why any of this had to happen. She ran away so many times she had a detective on her case all day every day, and nobody once thought to send this poor girl to therapy?! Why does a 6/8/11 year old keep running away from boarding school/home? Nobody ever seems to suggest this child might need help.
All in all, don't bother. The whole thing is stupid. And if I'm going to be technical, as the book went along, the editing mistakes got worse and worse. So, I felt no sympathy for the main character, nobody learned anything, and everyone lives happily ever after. Gag me.