Author: P.M. Hansen
Published: 22 September 2014
Rating: 4 stars
“’We live in the Age of Heroes and it is called that for a reason. In each generation the gods have chosen a mortal, blessed with special gifts, to be the Sword of Olympus — a mortal to fight on the side of what is right, even when the gods and goddesses themselves might not know what that is. ’ The demigod sighed tiredly.”
I picked this book up after hearing P.M. Hansen talk at a historical fiction panel in Melbourne. He talked about how the Ancient Greek people saw their myths as being a historical timeline and that all the famous stories were linked, which is what he focused on for this series. It’s the spaces between each myth that he was most fascinated in. So after hearing this, I had to pick the first book up and I wasn’t disappointed.
The respect he has for the culture and era in apparent on each and every page. It feels like your there. But it never feels like the descriptions of clothing, building or culture and customs take over the narrative and slow the pace. There’s no info-dumping, which is fantastic, we are told just enough to give us context and then get to watch the characters play out their days.
I loved learning about the politics of the Ancient city-states because although we learn about this time period, we still have this idea that it was one country because modern day Greece is a single country. But these places—Athens, Mycenae, Sparta, Thebes, Elone — were individual complete with their own customs and beliefs. I really loved getting a look at this, again this distinction is what helped to make the story feel like you were in the Ancient world so different but also very similar to our own.
I enjoyed how well the mythological elements slotted into the world and the narrative. There was no fuss made about them they were just a regular part of the world. We get a small glimpse at the pantheon of Gods but we’re told Zeus cut off the doorway to the mortal world in hopes of bringing his banished wife Hera in-line. We do get to see some of our favourite mythological creatures – the nymphs and centaurs. The story has that grand air myth while being firmly couched in history.
There was a few odd point of view shifts but it wasn’t something that took me out of the narrative.
I am very excited to pick up the second book and see when famous heroes we’ll meet next. If you’re looking for an immersive read that explores the Ancient Greek Age of Heroes than this one this for you.